Church News and Events

A FamilySearch Indexing Challenge

Contributed by  Lynne Jacob of the Calgary Alberta West Stake

  • 6 July 2012

With the upcoming dedication of the temple in Calgary, the Calgary Alberta West Stake has been challenged by stake leaders to prepare for a temple in their midst. Their Stake President Stephen Miller has invited every member to: (1) get involved in family history work, (2) prepare a name for the temple, (3) learn to do FamilySearch Indexing, (4) complete a four-generation pedigree chart, (5) help a friend complete a four-generation pedigree chart, and (6) invite a friend to the Temple Open House.

One aspect of this challenge was learning how to do FamilySearch Indexing, an on-line method of extracting information from digitized historical record images. Each batch of record images transcribed becomes part of a searchable record collection for everyone worldwide to use. With over 1,200 historical record collections, FamilySearch is helping families all over the world to have easy access to historical records in order to research their family history.

In 2011, there were about 190 indexers in the Calgary West stake, with 90,000 records indexed. President Miller asked members of his stake to index 500,000 names by the end of September 2012, that being about 50,000 per ward and a minimum of 600 names per household.

At first, this five-fold increase looked like a daunting task, but the wards responded with enthusiasm. Indexing contests, indexing family home evenings, and indexing firesides were some of the ways wards helped members learn Indexing. To date, 593 indexers in the stake have indexed over 370,500 names. The stake members have caught the spirit of indexing and are on track to achieve their goal.

While achieving the goal is a great demonstration of obedience and dedication, there have been some unseen benefits of indexing. Indexing has very few boundaries; it can be done by members and non-members, the young, the old, the home-bound, the student, or the homemaker. Also Indexing is portable so batches may be saved to a laptop and worked on and submitted while travelling. Indexing allows the spirit of Elijah to take root in those doing the work and gives an opportunity for spiritual experiences as indexers prayerfully request the help of their Father in Heaven to assist in deciphering the records. As a stake, the Saints in Calgary West are united as they pursue the activity that is such a great service to members and non-members alike. It is hoped that many will continue to consecrate their time to this life-giving work long after the Temple opens.