Saturday, April 21, 2018
Now Indexing: Indiana Marriages
It's high time to do some volunteer work, giving back with appreciation for all the help of those countless—and nameless—others whose efforts have made possible the ease of online research. I headed to the indexing tab at FamilySearch.org with good intentions, but apparently today was a technology and tantrums day for our good friends with the enormous digital data collection. Try as I might, I just couldn't get any indexing projects to open for me. I'd scroll through the choices, select one—I try to stick with naturalization records in either New York or Chicago, my two research interests right now—and with that click came...nothing.
Well, take that back. I did get an error message. Something about that batch not being able to be opened; try again.
Rinse and repeat may work for shampoo, but it wasn't working for selecting a new batch to index at my favorite online place to volunteer. Out of desperation, I started looking for anything...anything...which was in English and featured a record set in my home country. It's been a long time since I last volunteered to do any indexing—too long—and I didn't want another day to pass without helping out.
Finally, success: I got a file to open for county records of marriages in Indiana. Well, my father-in-law's line did have some family in Indiana, so at least I have a vested interest in this project, after all. The surprise was: the records weren't really all that old. One set out of the two I did actually bore dates in the late 1980s. So much for privacy of living individuals. And here I thought only California had that blatant disregard for further publicizing their "public" records.
Once I got into the record set, the indexing system worked like a charm. I was done with my first set in no time, leaving me quite willing to spring for a second go-round. It's times like these which encourage me to delve into doing more volunteer work like this. Painless, the minimal effort is amplified by setting up searchable records that can then be easily accessed by countless others, as long as the FamilySearch website still makes these records available.
That sure beats the old way of individually having to contact each government entity with a snail-mail plea to look up a document. I don't think there would be many of us researchers boasting trees numbering in the thousands if we were still resigned to the crawl of such a research fate. And that makes it all the more worthwhile to expend this minuscule amount of effort to get those records prepared to be accessed online.