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Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Secret Decoder Ring" Revealed!

A few months ago I, with two of my brothers and my mother (who is 90 years old), attended two training classes at the Genealogy Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. I gained some most important information from that training that has been helpful for me while Indexing and Arbitrating records.

Even though the instructors had two different styles of teaching, I was able to learn. The first instructor was eager to answer all of our questions and took the time to make sure that we were “coming along” with her as she moved through her material. The second instructor had a lot of material that she made sure she covered, whether or not we understood. She, however, gave us some invaluable references to sources on the internet that will, I’m sure, be helpful as needed.

The BEST and most HELPFUL instruction came during the informal discussions that I had with them concerning the examples of “unreadable names” that I had brought with me. They were names that I had stewed over and over, and still couldn’t make out just what was written. I was hoping that the “experts” could give me the “secret decoder ring” that would enlighten my eyes.

Well, it turned out that neither of them could read them either! Who would have thought that! I was surprised that neither of them could help me with my dilemma. Instead, they both ended up giving me the same advice. This advice turned out to be the best and most helpful, long-term advice that I could have received. They said that the best way to “decode” the unreadable was to use the document itself.

In other words, let the writer of the document give other examples that will provide the needed clues to read and understand the “hard spots” in the document. Doing that gives better guidance than others trying to decipher it from their point of view. (This, by the way, is just like reading and properly interpreting the Scriptures!... Let them define their own terms and provide the proper context for understanding and application.)

That one principle… to use the document itself to show me how to read difficult names… has been of greatest benefit as I continue to Index and Arbitrate documents. Having patience and a continual prayer for help as I’ve worked has, I’m sure, helped accurately identify my distant cousins (“cousins”… because we’re all related!). I am grateful for the instruction that I received from the SLC training sessions.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Language of Indexing

I found the Indexing message on “Learning the Language of Indexing” from Headquarters (see below) to be very informative and helpful. When I first started Indexing, the terms were a little confusing. This message helped clarify the terminology for me. I hope it’s as helpful for you. Here it is:

Learning the Language of Indexing

Becoming an expert at indexing can sometimes feel like learning a new language. Below is a list of short definitions of some words and phrases that you may come across as you index.
- Image. The photograph that appears on your screen when you open a batch.
- Page. The left or right side (or both sides) of an open book found on the image.
- Document. The piece(s) of paper shown on an image in a batch.
- Record. Information regarding a principal person (the main person for whom a record was created) and the associated event.
- Records can refer to:
- Each entry line on a census.
- Each event (birth, marriage, etc) listed on a document, card, page, or other form.
- Field. Sections of the data entry area where specific pieces of information are entered for a principal person. For example, names are usually entered into Given Name and Surname fields.

Knowing the above definitions can help you distinguish between similar-looking phrases, such as:
- Reorganizing Fields. Changing the order of the fields in the data entry area of the indexing screen, while indexing or arbitrating.
- Reorganizing Records. In an arbitration batch, changing the order of records while using the Record Matching tab.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

An online meeting place for INDEXERS, ARBITRATORS, and ADMINISTRATORS

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There is a lot to talk about, to say the least!  Let's begin.
   What are your secrets to correct/effective INDEXing?
   Do you have suggestions for IX software enhancements?
   Do you ever want to send a comment with a batch?
   As an ARBITRATOR, what would you tell INDEXERS?
   Where are online documents for a Stake Indexing pgm?
   Do you want to see some final results of your work?
   Do you want to get together at General Conference time?
These are just some of the areas we can discuss/answer.

Watch for a formal FORUM on

We are looking forward to your ideas and participation!
Charlie/Lynnette Shipp,  Stake Family History Directors.

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