Family History Indexing for iOS
Family History is something of a passion in our family. My grandparents were dedicated to finding family connections, and found several lines that connect through the Royal registries, who, if you believe their genealogical connections, trace their families back through the Bible. But it seems that sitting in the library and pouring through books can be a bit tedious. Genealogists can spend years looking up family names in census records, parish baptismal and christening records, etc., all hoping to find that family member and discover their history.But, luckily, many websites have sprung up that take archived data that is indexed within a database to make it easier for people to find their family tree. That's great, but the majority of the world's records are not indexed within a database. They are not searchable, and therefore make these websites less than useful once their limited data has been exhausted by the enterprising online researcher.Well, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in their efforts to make the records of the world more accessible through http://familysearch.org, has created an indexing process in which anyone can take part. In fact, you don't need to be a member of the Church to participate. The results of the indexing process provides free genealogical records for all to use, regardless of faith.The main indexing software is provided as a Java app for Windows, Mac, and Linux, and can be downloaded from http://indexing.familysearch.org. You will need to log in with an account, which you can create at the website or use an existing LDS login. Once you log in, you can then download batches of records to work on, in various languages if you so desire. In fact, if you have an expertise in languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian, or several other foreign languages other than English, then you would be very welcome to participate in the project!The software is easy to use, but it's geared to a desktop. That's all well and good for those who are using laptops while traveling, or sitting down and working on their projects at a desk or table. But what about those days you are sitting in line and waiting? Here you have a powerful smartphone that can do anything from compose a musical composition to destroying various constructs by pigs with your "Angry Birds", surely there is something you could do that would assist with the indexing project, right?Well, there is! In both the Android Marketplace and in the iOS App Store, you can download the Family Search Indexing app. It allows one to run through the indexing process by interpreting names from typed records. I say interpreting, because you are looking at names from various pages, where typewriters have often had poor kerning sets (putting the letters too close together), ribbons have been over-inked (making the letters blurred), or the ribbons haven't been inked enough (making the records almost unreadable). If you can't interpret a name, then you can skip it and move on or add question marks to letters that are otherwise unreadable. The good news is that should you make a mistake (and we often do, being human), the records will be reviewed by another volunteer. If there is a discrepancy, then a professional arbitrator will asked to review the record to determine who is right and who is wrong.The goal of the indexing process is to get as many records available for free to the public to use as quickly as possible. An army of volunteers can accomplish that faster than a handful of professional indexers, and can also be more accurate than many attempts by software text readers could even hope to achieve. The goal of the iOS and Android indexing app is to make it that much easier for someone on the move to take a little time while waiting for the bus, riding the train, standing in line, or sitting in a waiting room to accomplish something for the benefit of all those interested in their family history. Perhaps it's just me, but that sounds a lot more interesting than seeing how many birds it takes to knock down a building.If you haven't tried indexing, give it a try! It's easy to get started, and is amazingly addictive. You can earn points with each archive you complete successfully, and there are levels of difficulty. You can use it on any mobile device that uses iOS or Android (I'm not sure about WebOS or Windows Phone 7, check your markets for Familysearch Indexing to be sure). If you need exact instructions, here is what was posted back in 2008 when the program was in beta, which is still accurate today:
FamilySearch indexing is now compatible with Apple iOS (which includes iPod, iPad and iPhone) and on many Android devises, however due to the diversity of applications available, not all have been tested by FamilySearch. Individuals interested in indexing who cannot do so on Android can send feedback by going to FamilySearch, or from within the Android application.Although indexing is available, the program is still in beta testing. The work completed in the program is a mix of previously indexed and not yet indexed data. All of the information gained from the mobile applicatoin is going to be used on familysearch.org.Installation/Registration1. Install the application to the mobile device.2. Register for a FamilySearch Account or LDS Account–On the indexing website,or the sign in screen for the app, click Register or Register Here, and then fill out the required information.3. Individuals who already have a FamilySearch Account or LDS Account but have never indexed can download the app from:the iTunes market (iOS App Store)the Android market(place)direct download linkOnce the app has downloaded and installed, open the program and begin.Index Batches1. Learn - Learn about indexing by reviewing the Guide tab.2. Index - After the application opens, complete the next steps to index an image:Click the Indexing tab. An image downloads to the devise.Type requested information - Type the requested information into the field provided.Submit - When indexing is complete, the indexer clicks the Submit button.