Published August 27, 2017

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You know you’re due for another one of those feelings of “how long you’ve been doing this” when seeing two articles about “crowd-sourced” indexing appear in one edition of the Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter hits you with a wave of nostalgia.

That’s because I remember genealogy indexing before crowd sourcing.

Before computers, even.

I remember when indexing was usually a solitary activity of going through the work to be indexed page by page, creating 3-by-5 cards with names and pages, which then would be manually alphabetized, and then finally typed up into a list.

But that was then … and this is now.

One of Eastman’s blogs was about FamilySearch’s new online indexing tool no longer requiring any software to be downloaded.

FamilySearch.org, of course, is the nonprofit genealogy behemoth owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (popularly nicknamed the Mormons). Their division FamilySearch Indexing has completed more than a billion records since being initiated a few years ago (the church had previously used a form of crowd sourcing to complete large-scale projects such as the 1880 U.S. Census and the 1881 British Census).

FamilySearch Indexing, as is typical for crowd-sourced projects, has every record indexed twice – with a trained “arbitrator” who looks at entries when the first two indexers’ work does not match.

Many of volunteers who index for FamilySearch are Mormons but anyone with interest in genealogy can help. More information is available at the URL, https://www.familysearch.org/indexing.

The second article on crowd sourcing that Eastman highlighted is for the aptly named software program Crowd Sourced Indexing or CSI (isn’t great when an acronym fits rights in?)

CSI is the brainchild of Banai Lynn Feldstein and was a semifinalist in this year’s RootsTech innovator showdown.

The free software is targeted to small organizations and institutions who want to start crowd-sourced projects but are at a loss for the technology support to get things off the ground, especially in terms of simplifying work for the administrator of the project.

It also helps indexers by allowing them to work through a single web browser window rather than juggling multiple windows on a computer.

More information about the software is available on its website at the URL, https://csindexing.com

Most items from Eastman’s newsletter are found at www.eogn.com and are available free; he charges a nominal fee for a “Plus” edition, which usually includes a couple of extra articles and is send to subscribers’ e-mail inboxes.