06 February 2012

FamilySearch Indexing App for Apple and Android Released

A new day has dawned and the Genealogy world is excited! FamilySearch launched its much-anticipated mobile device for indexing. The device will expand the capability of volunteers to help make the world’s historic records searchable online.  The mobile device app works on Apple iPads, iPhones, and Droid smartphones. You can now index records from around the world while you are on the go!

 I will cover the iPad process. First, go to your app store icon on your iPad. Search for “FamilySearch indexing”, download, and wait for the installation to complete. If you have a FamilySearch login you can enter the information and enter indexing immediately. If you do not have one there is a link to register for a free account.

When you first open the indexing app you receive the typical license agreement page. The first page displayed after that is the guide to indexing records and instructions on interpreting the data. Carefully read through the instructions so that you will be comfortable with the way fields of data should be transcribed. To gain the most accuracy with the transcribed records it's important to follow the punctuation guidelines and information on Names and Title use. You can always refer back to the guide by selecting the icon located at the bottom center of the app.

Select the indexing tab (bottom left) to see image snippets from handwritten historical documents from a variety of record forms that allow you to simply transcribe what you see in the image. Because the image size is small enough to fit on the screen of the iPad or iPhone you only see a single field from the set of records which is typically a name. Transcription of these single name images may easily provide indexes for those records that are currently browsable only or to some new records.Just tap the white space for your keyboard to display and start typing the name. When you are confident you have it spelled as displayed simply click on SUBMIT at the right side of the while space.

If you are having difficulty deciphering the written names, select the icon at the top center of the screen to view the entire document, or a larger area of it, which will help you compare the handwriting on the entire page.

As you proceed through the images you can select the history tab located at the bottom of the app. This tab screen will let you view the images, as well as, your transcription of the images that have been submitted. If you determine that your translation was probably incorrect you can swipe your finger from the right side of the screen towards the center and a delete button will appear for that image. That image will be transcribed by others and compared with all transcriptions until a consensus is reached.

The stats tab will easily show you the number of images you transcribed and the level of difficulty. On the settings tab you can establish your preferred level of difficulty and save some records off line to transcribe when you are not connected to a computer or Wi-Fi. (Future enhancement)

Currently, the FamilySearch indexing app is in beta version and is free for you to help transcribe the millions of images FamilySearch is providing to the public worldwide for free. More enhancements will be forthcoming to add extra value to the app.

Use one of the apps to help you grow your indexing skills and you will be prepared when the 1940 census is released for indexing in about 55 days (April 2, 2012. Hundreds of thousands of individuals from around the world are needed to help transcribe all FamilySearch records including the 1940 U.S. Federal census records as quickly as possible. FamilySearch is collaborating with both Archives.com and brightsolid, both online providers of genealogical and historical data, to provide high quality indexed records for the 1940 census.