Saturday, February 15, 2020

Easing Into Another Batch

Could an indexing project be as relaxing as mindlessly assembling a jigsaw puzzle? Depends. In my case, anything would be relaxing in comparison to the five-hour-long commute last night from a city that was only ninety miles from home. Once safely home after such a harrowing experience—and promising myself to never, ever, ever attempt a trip home from the Bay Area on a Friday preceding a three-day weekend—I thought I'd unwind with a little volunteer work online at

Truth be told, the real reason I headed to the indexing tab last night was because of something I had spotted a few days earlier. I had been trying to find resources to help me do some lookups of California records at To my surprise, last week I discovered a project which had been initiated by a neighboring genealogical society—a project which anyone could help complete with only a few minutes of volunteer work at a computer. Sure, I'd be willing to help my neighbors, so I made a mental note to go back to that link (yes, I saved it) during the time I had scheduled for indexing work later in the week.

By the time I got to check it out again, it was gone. All I got was an error message, as if it were a broken link or something. But how could that be? So I went back to my original notes, and tried to look up the collection in FamilySearch's catalog. Sure enough, there it was, now searchable. Poof! Another indexing project quickly dispatched.

I'm glad to see how quickly some of these indexing projects are completed. There is so much work still to do to make digitized record sets searchable. Since I couldn't work on that California record set anymore, I went back to my old standby: naturalization records in the tri-state area surrounding that major port of entry, New York City. This time, I concentrated on some very old records—well, as early as 1856—from Essex County in New Jersey.

Those early records don't contain as much information as later naturalization applications require—but I'll bet anyone searching for their immigrant ancestor from the late 1850s would be elated to find anything on such mystery ancestors. At least this is a start for those seeking to make the momentous jump "across the pond."

Likewise, because this particular record set was so sparse, as far as fill-in-the-blanks went, it was a blast to complete the indexing batch, so I did more than one batch. It was a breeze. It was a good feeling to know I'm helping someone else. And it hardly ate up any of my spare time. That's the type of volunteer project that's do-able for almost anyone—and I'm glad so many people have been willing to jump in and help. The end result makes it easier for all of us to delve further into our own family history.


  1. Thank you so much for doing this for others!

    1. Thank you, Miss Merry. It's been a valuable learning experience. And the process is easy enough that I hope others will be encouraged to try their hand at helping out, too.


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