Saturday, September 10, 2016

Now Indexing:, Not That One

Note to self: next time, ask for a sample.

Ever get that feeling you really ought to stop being selfish and volunteer to help out somebody else's project? And then gotten into a really messy problem, when all you thought you were doing was volunteering for something simple?

Yep. This week, that's me.

It's been a bear of a week. Big problem, miserable deadline. Got it all done. And then? Noticed it was time for my regular volunteery promise.

Sure, I'll spring for something simple. I can do mindless; that's all I have left right now, anyhow.

I logged on to the Indexing page at Right away, I noticed there was this big push for doing marriage records, so I figured I could take a look. Pulled up the available projects, and right in the middle of the listingsall pegged at "3," the intermediate level of difficultythere was this Illinois Marriage Project, listed at only "2."

I'll take it. And up it went. Full blown at one hundred percent of its size, I noticed one thing: a lot of black. Then, somewhere in the hazy spot below, something that looked vaguely like handwriting. Old handwriting.

Ugh. Handwriting. You know how my eyes are. Especially at the end of a long week. I wasn't in the mood to continue. But I did. I'm a stickler for commitment.

I took a look around, and saw the warning that this might have been a batch that had been downloaded by another indexer and then abandoned before completion.

That should have been my second warning sign.

Why, oh why couldn't I get the program to do its normal entries? I could move through the pages, my eyes watering all the more with each illegible page in the sequence, but things didn't seem to be progressing normally. I couldn't make any entries.

It had been so long since I had had to chat with an advisor that I just gave up and did the unthinkable. I ditched the whole batch and started from the beginning on another one.

This time, I didn't let myself get swayed by easier rankings on the difficulty levels. I stuck with my middle of the road "intermediate" level, and pulled up what I thought was a different marriage collection for the same state.

Somehow, I ended up in Hawaii.

Admittedly, that is not a bad place to land after a difficult week. But it was not my intention to index records from Hawaii. I don't have any ancestors who once lived there, and I like to stick with familiar territory. Let's just say, with this week's indexing project, I got to help out a lot of Yamamotos and Higachis with their quest to find their roots in Hawaii. And with all that precisely executed handwriting, I don't suppose I would mind returning for another batch.

It wasn't until I had doubled checked that finished second batch and submitted it that I noticed something: a box allowing the indexer to "see a sample" before deciding to download a batch. This has got to be something to remember before the next time I commit to indexing a collection.

Above: "Landscape With a Stork," 1905 painting by Lithuanian-born Polish artist Kazimierz Alchimowicz; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.


  1. Yes I stayed up late last night trying to help somebody else find a name. Well it wasn't that easy. I know exactly what you are saying. Thanks for you post.

    1. It never seems to be "that easy," does it, Grant?! But it's still worth the effort.

  2. It seems whenever I ask to see a sample, there isn't one available. I am surprised the old record was a 2.

    1. That rating just had to be a goof, Wendy. I'm convinced of it. Every other part of that marriage collection was ranked a 3, and the Hawaii ones, for sure, were far easier than the one I ditched.

      Interesting about trying to see a sample. I'm still going to give it a try next time. I really need to steer clear of those murky ones. My eyes just can't handle them.

  3. I had the same experience last night. It was late so I decided to do a easy "2" and choose an Illinois Marriage. The handwriting and quality of the images was horrible. I got about half way through and decided to try again today. I would rate it as a "4" certainly not a "2". I am going to try to complete it and not send it back - I do not like to do that unless it is so bad I can't read any of it.

  4. I often ask to see a sample and sometimes they are not at all like the file to be indexed. Some of the really old entries are really hard to read:)


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