Saturday, June 8, 2019

Now Indexing: Something Close to Home

I may be back from my genealogical travels—after an edifying four days earlier this month at the Southern California Genealogical Society's Jamboree, our family set aside some time to pay our respects to The Mouse—but I still don't feel like I'm settled in, even now that I'm home. There have been suitcases to unpack. Laundry to do. A week's worth of work that we missed tackling to catch up on.

All that flurry of returning-home activity left virtually no time for genealogical fun. Yesterday, I finally caught up enough to carve out some time to just sit down and add a few names to my family tree. Generally, I consider that a rather relaxing pursuit, and I sure was ready to get back to normal.

Of course, one thing always leads to another, and before I knew it—thanks to a tip about a free weekend at on John D. Reid's Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections blog—I had stumbled upon yet another McClellan-McLeran connection in my maternal Florida kin, which unexpectedly gives me another connection to that Tison line in Georgia I'm still working on.

I'm off and running in other genealogical areas, as well. It's been quite a while since I last worked on any indexing projects at, so I went searching for possibilities. Doing such routine tasks can be quite relaxing to me, as incredible as that might sound, and I needed something like that after all my travels.

Searching through the list of currently-available indexing projects, I spotted one which seemed easy enough to quickly dispatch: a "quick batch" of burial cards from the Oak Hill Cemetery in San Jose. That happens to be quite a historic designation, being the oldest secular cemetery in California. It also happens to be located within driving distance—something I personally know, owing to a previous search for records on relative-by-marriage Leon S. Bean (who, according to the updated Find A Grave entry for him, has at last found his genealogical angel).

This particular indexing project not only resonated with me personally, but it turned out to become an opportunity to help a fellow genealogical society in an endeavor much like one which our own society had once tackled. According to the project description for this quick batch, the goal was to index headstone inscriptions from the Oak Hill Cemetery. The cards were created by the Santa Clara County Historical and Genealogical Society. Now digitized by FamilySearch, all that was needed to get this resource searchable online was to slam-dunk the data entry process. And that is basically what volunteer indexing is all about.

Most of this project's batches I completed only held four or five cards. I think I finished each batch in about five minutes. FamilySearch is not kidding when they call these "quick batches." Of course, with a cemetery as large as this one—over 15,000 interments—in the aggregate, that will be a lot of work to complete. But you know what they say (well, supposedly John Heywood first did) about big jobs: many hands make light work.

If you have a spare five or ten minutes this weekend, I'm sure the Santa Clara County Historical and Genealogical Society would appreciate your signing up as a volunteer indexer at FamilySearch and dispatching a few additional batches of their burial card collection. I can't guarantee you will find that as relaxing an activity as I do, but you can at least come away from the effort knowing you made an appreciated contribution to the larger genealogical community. 


  1. Replies
    1. Oh, thank you, Far Side. I know the Santa Clara society will appreciate the help!


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