Project 5 Goals:  1: Learn about Indexing   2: Get Started   3: Index Batches   4: Improve Skills   5: Collaborate with Others   6: Read Difficult Handwriting   7: O-Ancestry World Archives        SEARCH

Project 5: Indexing

Create indexes for records to help researchers find what they need.

  Tracker:   Online  or  Word    |  Translated Videos

Goal 1: Learn what indexing is and why it's essential for research.


Indexing, which is the process of providing search information for record collections, has become a worldwide effort. We should all know how indexing accelerates family history work and how we can take part.

Note : This Project describes how to use Web Indexing, not the desktop installation version of Indexing. You must have a FamilySearch account to index records.


A Learn about the purpose of indexing.

  1. To get an introduction to indexing, watch these videos.
    FS—How It Works—3:00
    | FS: Indexing is Vital for Researching—2:00
  2. Learn more about what's going on with indexing in the FamilySearch Indexing Blog and this FamilySearch blog:
    FS—Indexing is More Important Now than Ever
  3. Read this article for information on supported devices and browsers for indexing.
    FS—System Requirements for FamilySearch Indexing
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Goal 2: Get started with indexing.


A See a list of batches for web indexing.

Note : Batches are groups of records to be indexed; projects are groups of similiar batches.

  1. Read the article or watch the video for tips on getting started with web indexing.
    FS—How to Get Started with Indexing Online

    BYU—New FamilySearch Web Indexing—17:27
  2. In the Indexing menu, click Web Indexing. Suggested indexing batches appear in the My Batches area of the window.
  3. If you would like to index one of these batches, click Open Batch next to the batch name, and then skip ahead to Goal 3 below to start indexing. You may want to start with a batch marked as "Beginning".
  4. To perform a search for other batches, go to Choice B below.
  5. Or, to select a batch from a list of entries, click Find a Project (menu near the top of the screen), and then go to Choice C below.

B Search for batches to index, using "Find Batches".

  1. In the My Batches area, click Find Batches.
  2. Scroll through the list that appears in Search Results at the right of the screen. If you find a batch you want to index, skip ahead to Goal 2 below.
  3. To start a search for other batches, type a place or other item in the Search field.
  4. Optionally, do any of the following to refine the search:
    • Check the Difficulty Level as Beginning, Intermediate, Advanced, or more than one of these.
    • Type a location to search for.
    • Type a language for the indexed batch you want. A selection list appears below the field as you type.
    • Type a location to search for.
    • Type a time span (years) for batches to include.
    • At the top of the screen, click Sort By and select Difficulty or Name to order your search results.
  5. Click Search.
  6. Look over the Search Results list to see which batch or batches you would like to index.
  7. If you want to check out multiple batches to index in a given project, in the upper right, click Batches to Check Out and select a number. You may have up to 10 batches reserved at a time.
  8. If you need to search again, click Reset (lower left) and fill in different fields. To save your search preferences, click Edit Preferences (lower right), check the appropriate boxes, and click Save.
  9. To mark a batch as a favorite, click the star next to its name.
  10. Once you have identified a batch to work on, click Start Indexing and go to Goal 3 below. Your batch must be completed by the due date or it will be returned for someone else to finish.
  11. For more information on selecting batches, read this article.
    FS—Select a Batch
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C Search for batches by project, using "Find a Project".

  1. In the top menu, click Find a Project.
  2. If you want to search by region, click an area on the map. Then click View Projects to see all the projects in that area, or click a country link to see only projects for that country.
  3. In the Current Project area, click View Project Details to see a description of the record batches involved.
  4. When you have selected a project, click Start Indexing and go to Goal 3 below. Your batch must be completed by the due date or it will be returned for someone else to finish.

Goal 3: Index and manage batches, and set goals.

Contribute to the worldwide indexing effort, making more record indexes available to researchers.


A Learn about your opened batch.

After you have clicked Start Indexing, the record batch is opened for you to work on. If you decide you'd rather not index that batch, follow the instructions in Choice C below. If a notice appears that the batch has already been partially indexed, your task is to review the work done so far and complete the batch.

  1. Read through the Project Instructions dialog. It has important information to help you succeed with indexing your selected batch. Remember to scroll down to the end of the dialog to see all the instructions.
  2. If you would like to take a guided tour with a sample indexing batch, click here.
  3. Be familiar with the options in the Data Entry menu (Lookup, International Characters, Show Toolbar, Show Ruler, Show Reference Images).
  4. Be familiar with the options in the Help menu (Field Help, Project Instructions, Basic Indexing Guidelines, Keyboard Shortcuts, Help Resources, Open Shared Batch, Share Batch, Labs).
  5. Read the Basic Indexing Guidelines article for helpful tips on indexing your batches.
    FS—System Requirements for FamilySearch Indexing

B Index the records and submit your batch.

  1. In the open batch, read the instructions for Step 1: Images, select a Yes/No value, and click Next. You will need to do this for all images in the batch. To get help for a field you are currently editing, click the purple question mark icon.
  2. Fill in each of the fields in the left side of the screen—or at least the required ones (marked by asterisks). Use the Field Help question mark icon (purple) whenever needed, and click and drag the image to move it around when needed.
  3. If needed, click the plus icon to zoom in, or the minus icon to zoom out. You can also zoom smoothly by using the scroll wheel on the mouse.
  4. If needed, click the adjustment icon to rotate the image to the left or right, or adjust the brightness or contrast, or display reference images.
  5. If a field or record is blank or unreadable, click one of the icons in the Toolbar (top of the window) to mark it as such.
  6. When you have finished entering the data for the record, and if there are more records shown on the image, click New Record and repeat the data entry process for each record in the image.
  7. Add data for each record, in each image, until you have finished the last one in the image. If there are multiple images in the batch, click Next image and index each record in all the images. You can scroll between images at the bottom of the screen.
  8. If you need to exit the batch before finishing, click the back arrow in the upper left. Your work will be saved for when you resume indexing.
  9. Click Next—Quality Check to check the accuracy of your data. Correct any errors that have been found, and then click Submit Batch. You can then open a new batch to work on.

C Manage indexing batches.

  1. To return one or more batches that you no longer want to work on, go to the My Batches screen and click Manage.
  2. Select each unwanted batch and click Return (number) Selected Batches. The entries you selected are now removed from your My Batches list.

D Set your indexing goals and achieve them.

    The Progress area below My Batches has a graph that shows the number of records you have indexed over time.

  1. Click Target to set a goal for the number of records to index.
  2. To change the timespan, click Month and select Quarter, Year, or All-Time.
  3. To view the number of records in the previous month, quarter, or year, click Current and select Previous.

Goal 4: Improve your basic indexing skills.

When you master a few essential indexing techniques, your work will go faster and smoother.


A Work on basic indexing techniques.

B Get help with your indexing questions.

  1. Access the FamilySearch Indexing Help page for general indexing help.
  2. Read this article to learn about getting answers to indexing questions.
    FS—Finding Help for Indexing Questions
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  3. Visit the FamilySearch Facebook page for indexing for additional help.
  4. Learn about know issues with FamilySearch indexing in this article.
    FS—Known Issues
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C(Optional) Do indexing for records in other languages.

If you are skilled in an additional language, there are resources available to help you start indexing those records.

  1. Access the Handwriting Helps page on FamilySearch.
  2. In the Choose a Language drop-down list (upper-left), select the language you're interested in. The example to the right shows a French language selection.
  3. Study the Alphabet section on the right.
  4. To learn more about characters in the language, visit the Handwriting Helps links on the left side.
  5. For indexing tips and guidelines on indexing records in your selected language, visit the Language Helps links on the left side.

Instructor Tips

Goal 5: Collaborate with others on indexing projects.

When you master a few essential indexing techniques, your work will go faster and smoother.


A Share indexing batches.

  1. To share a batch with someone who can provide help or feedback, open the batch, click the Help menu, and then select Share Batch.
  2. Fill out the fields in the dialog. Click here for an example of the batch code, and remember to add a comma after the contact name in the dialog.
  3. Click Share.
  4. Once you have shared a batch, you can open it later by clicking the Open Shared Batch link at the bottom of My Batches.
  5. For more information on sharing batches, follow the steps in this article.
    FS—Web Indexing—Share Batch
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B Participate in peer reviews of indexing projects.

You can sign up to do a peer review of a batch that another person has worked on, to check for completeness and accuracy

  1. To participate in a peer review, follow the steps in this article.
    FS—Web Indexing—Share Batch
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  2. To track the progress of your peer reviews, go to the Progress area of the Web Indexing page; then click Indexing and select "Indexing—Peer Review". Note: Only the final reviewed transcriptions are shown in the final index, although all values are saved.

C Participate in indexing groups.

Indexing groups you belong to are listed in the Groups area, at the bottom of the Web Indexing page.

  1. To find a group to participate in, click Find Groups and select Find Groups in the menu.
  2. Indexing groups are listed at the right. Click Join next to a group name to join the group, or click Request to Join to send a request to the group administrator for admission.
  3. To search for an existing group, fill in the search fields you want and click Search.
  4. When you have joined a group, click its name in the Group area of the Web Indexing page. Here you can see a progress chart or project list, read group announcements, or search for members (magnifying glass icon).
  5. To send a message to a member of the group, click Send a Message, click Add Recipients, select a name from the list, type your message, and click Send.
  6. To generate a report from your group, click Reports in the Web Indexing page, fill in the report criteria on the left, and click Generate Report. To download the report, click Download.
  7. To create a group, a) Click Find Group and select Create Group; b) Fill out the fields in the Group Profile screen; c) If desired, click Upload to upload a photo for your group; and d) Click Save.
  8. Get answers to FAQs about groups in this article.
    FS—Frequently Asked Questions about Groups
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  9. To learn more about group reporting, read this article.
    FS—Group Reports
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  10. Learn more about managing indexing groups in this article.
    FS—Manage Roles of Group Members
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Goal 6: Improve your ability to read difficult handwriting. Vault

Hard-to-read handwriting is a fact of life for older records. Being able to better read it will help you make more progress with original research as well indexing records.


ALearn the basics of deciphering handwriting.

  1. Get a quick reference for interpreting handwritten letters in various languages.
    FS—Handwriting Helps
  2. Study this article to learn basic skills that help you with handwritten records.
    FS—United States Handwriting

Instructor Tips

B Learn more techniques for difficult handwriting.

  1. Read this article to increase your understanding of old handwriting.
    RIV—Paleography (Old Handwriting)
  2. Use the online tutorials from the British National Archives, for handwriting from 1500-1800.
  3. Use the online tutorials for Latin from the British National Archives.

C (Optional) Get help with deciphering old or difficult handwriting.

  1. Get free help with handwriting deciphering from members of the RootsChat forum.

D Learn about scripts and paleography (the study of old handwriting).

  1. Go to the Script Tutorial site for Indexers at Brigham Young University.
  2. To learn more about paleography in general, scroll down and click the link on the left.
  3. To learn more about paleography for a specific language, scroll down and click a link on the right to choose English, German, Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish, or Portuguese.

Goal 7: (Optional) Participate in the Ancestry World Archives Project, or other indexing projects.

Ancestry has a worldwide archiving project that provides indexes for record collections.


A Get started with the World Archives Project.

  1. Read the getting Started Guide.
    AC—World Archiving—Getting Started
  2. Download the keying tool for PC or for Mac.

B Do record keying for projects.

  1. Watch the keying videos from Ancestry.
  2. Use other resources available on this page.

C Participate in the Canadian Census Indexing Project.

  1. See the Automated Genealogy web page for details and instructions.