Finally! It's back to indexing digitized documents again, and it feels so good to find something I can work on. Incredibly, I haven't been able to do any volunteer indexing since last July when, coincidentally, I worked on the same record set I'm tackling right now.
"Tackling" is probably too harsh a word to use for this session. Once again, it was the U.S. Naturalization Records I was indexing—and again, from New Jersey, close enough to perhaps help some shirttail relatives of my New York City immigrant kin. This time, though, the dates were more recent—in 1941—and the records I was viewing benefited from the use of such modern conveniences as the manual typewriter. Oh bliss! No more struggles with impossible handwriting!
While I skipped my monthly tour of duty in August, mostly due to a combination of stressors here at home in drought-stricken, fire-ridden California, the other reason I just couldn't sit and concentrate on any indexing tasks was that, for some reason, the choices for projects seemed too complicated, or different, or not in alignment with my own research goals. After all, my selfish reason for helping with the FamilySearch Indexing Projects is to help make more documents searchable in the areas where I'm already researching. See? I have not one altruistic bone in my body; I'm afraid I'm too cold and calculating for that.
Indexing does require a volunteer to invest time in absorbing a sizeable amount of instruction on how to handle any given record set. Thus, it is far more efficient for a volunteer to focus on the same type of record set, once those instructions have been absorbed. That way, rather than taking even more time to read yet another set of instructions, one can blast through batches after batches of documents without the down time investment.
For motivation, though, I find I am more keen to help out if I know I am also furthering my own cause. Since many of my direct line immigrant ancestors came through the port of New York City, I like indexing immigrant records in that vicinity. However, it does my heart good to see the wide variety of immigrants coming into our country from so many locations. All ages, all origins—it is fascinating to read the details on who these people were and where they came from. I often wonder what their stories must have been, whatever it was that caused the upheaval that prompted them to leave home and family to come to a new land with a strange language. There is something about the stories of immigrants that is so compelling to me.
For this time, I spent my brief tour of voluntary duty documenting the arrivals of young and old from places familiar—like England or Ireland—and not so familiar, like the farther reaches of war-torn eastern Europe. Hopefully, when I return to my task next month, there will be more of the same to tackle, which I'll gladly take the opportunity to continue processing. So many records yet to complete!