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U.S. 1940 Census (Indexing the people) -- Detailed Notes

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NOTE: Before reading this material, you may want to view the links from its companion page:

Salt Lake Family History Library Webcasts for U.S. 1940 Census Indexing, . . . 6APR2012

The live feed via internet:

ED: Our notes, from the point attendees view, not perfect, but excellent.

9:30 - 10:30 am 1940 US census; energizing your team program

10:30 - 11:30 am Turning hearts, blessing lives — family search indexing

12:30 - 1:30 pm Engaging local leadership in Family Search indexing

1:30 - 2:30 pm Indexing product update and road map

2:45 - 3:45 pm Where do I go for help? Family History leaders / Consultants / Online docs and eMail support / Stake indexing directors

3:45 - 4:45 pm Questions and answers. Wrapup.

Questions were submitted with “Questions for the open house” in the subject line and

  • sent to: <>
  • “Contact me with your suggestions”,

New: The OMNA Challenge: “One Million Names Arbitrated” before October .!. (Ask your team to accept the challenge.)

9:30 - 10:30 am: 1940 US census; energizing your team program

[Trying to get tuned in and doing some other things.] We’ll view this later from

We understand from others at our Los Angeles Family History Library that this first section had a lot of inspirational and spiritual experiences. I was at home with problems, so drove over to our Library at lunchtime.

Indexing begins Monday evening April 2nd with:

    1. Delaware;  2. Virginia;  3. Kansas;  4. Oregon;  5. Colorado.

10:30 - 11:30 am: Turning hearts and blessing lives with family search indexing

Internet-based indexing became available in 2006. Now we have million record days, with one day indexing nearly three million names. We’ve published on 750million, think about it.

Is FamilySearch an optional LDS program? I would say it is a tool for everyone to bless lives. Are you familiar with “Helping Hands”? We are a lot like that. Be familiar with Turn The Hearts booklet (picture of temple on the cover). Check under the HELP tab of Indexing.

The purpose of family history work is to bless the lives of the living.

There are videos for you to watch. Bring converts to the Gospel, assist your efforts in wards and stakes ((trainer for Springfield, Illinois, focusing on the temple work, member reactivation and activity, marriages, connecting with ancestors, etc. Elder Bednar, “can be reproduced all over the world. These spiritual outcomes are available to [leaders] who seek.”))

Sacramento CA Stake is another of many examples. Some stakes are doing the O.M.N.I. Project (One Million Names Indexed). “This was our miracle.” A thousand indexers averaged 1,000 names in the month of October, with workshop training and excitement. Other stakes have done it in one year.

On the video being shown, one sister indexer said she was about to hit the ‘send’ for a batch and heard clearly, “I am not a son.” And so changed Ellen to ‘daughter’.

Quotes on the video from youth, “They became more real”; “I want to know more about ancestors now”; “I will follow the bishop more now.”

Participate in family history work by indexing. The OMNI Project brought unity in the stake and wards. Families were blessed. Success is more than large numbers.

Sacramento Stake Presidency: John McKinney is present: I was the Indexing director. We started with nine active indexers, and the largest producer was an inactive, indexing six hours a day. Inspiration came with pondering and prayer.

I was sent to SLC to see if we could do a million names in a month. One Tongan sister did 30,000 in the UK census in October. 1940 Census will be easier. Recruit members of your stakes, especially youth. [audio drops.]

Brother Flinders: 13 or older is in the contract license agreement. One 13-yr-old did 1,200 with support of his Mother. We have four language units in our stake. Some had never touched a computer in their lives.

12:30 - 1:30 pm: Engaging local leadership in FamilySearch indexing

Brother Judson introduced Art Johnson, Thomas McGill (PR and special projects like 1940 Census and forums on Indexing), and others also.

Art Johnson told spiritual stories about youth, researchers, and families that receive benefits of indexing. Here are some ways to help your wards and stake realize the blessings. Build bridges to family history centers . . .

Brother McGill This is intended to be a forum today. The positions on the High Council change quite often and you need the message and vision of your stake leadership and then plug into it. They are interested in the temple, getting people to the temple, and realizing temple blessings.

In a large rural stake, they had people who couldn’t attend church because of distance, health, hurt feelings, and the extraction program helped (floppy disks and boxes of cards). At age 60 many began to feel the Spirit of Elijah, but lacked requisite technical expertise.

With the help of Elder Bednar’s message, utilize your youth.

Graphic: Letter from First Presidency “Members are encouraged to participate in indexing which links directly into temple work.”

Graphic: October 2009 Ensign and General Conference, Elder Bednar: I wish I had been a temple worker before serving as a stake president, it expanded my vision.

We don’t have all the answers. Let’s hear from you. DISCUSSION.

   Our stake had a similar program with 1million year, not one month.  Our stake president committed bishops who all signed up also; then stake conference to announce the program.  We went from 100 indexers to 500 indexers, with close to 100 active and passed our goal with two months to go.  It works from leadership from the top. 
   Our stake was told we would be a beacon to other stakes. We have indexing missionaries and administrators, two hours every day at our ctr.   We have non-members helping us.  
    Be invited to your stake council meeting for two or three minutes.  We shared Elder Bednar’s talk. We are invited to youth gatherings to set up a lab.  Show them a lab without a long talk and lecture. Facilitate dialog.
    We present to the ward councils.  Discussions after are great. Tell them you want seven minutes, but some extra time to discuss. Work with youth.
    My wife does a lot of indexing; when we go to the wards we take our daughter.  We presented to a rural ward with 50 youth.  Train adults in advance to assist them logging in.  50 people doing four batches in an hour would be 100,000 per unit in a reasonable timeframe. 

Brother Thomas McGill How many of you are close to your family history advisors? In Sacramento, they bring youth to their training lab. In Mesa AZ Temple, they have 800 wards in the Phoenix valley. They are systematically going to the wards to enthuse the youth and youth leaders. Consider the young womens presidents and young men presidents.

One stake had 200 indexers and just one administrator. Some of you indexing directors are somewhat on your own. Do you need reinforcements? Consider ward consultants and assistant indexing directors in every ward. Have the blessing of your High Council advisor and your stake presidency.

Check out the family history BSA merit badge to enthuse young men.

More from the audience:

    Extend callings to the youth to indexing.  Hold a breakfast and invite the whole ward.  Have your youth teach and invite at the ward council. 
    Converts will enjoy spending some spare time indexing.  In New Hampshire we also have scouts participating, amazing. We all work together.  Soon, the entire scout troop and others were participating.
    We have 13 units spread out over 18,000 sq.mi.   [In two weeks, the reports will be better on showing where they are.]  I want to communicate success and progress more directly to the units and branches.  High Priest group leaders can help communicate to ward family history consultants to the indexers.
    Sister: We aren’t invited to ward and stake councils. Do we overstep bounds with our good ideas?  We have exciting things going on in our stake, especially with one bishop, who challenged any youth to exceed him.  We strive for accuracy also. 
    Answer:  They are overjoyed when you have good input to them. They can provide the structure and usually want more magnification of your calling.  Work together.  (More success stories.)  Youth sat with a senior indexer and helped read the writing.  
    The App for LDS wards helped me to communicate. LDS tools.  Make your ward clerk your friend, and he or she can give you a full list w/youth.

The general membership in the wards, they do not know what Indexing is. Just ask with a simple show of hands. When you go to FamilySearch and see all the names, you are the beneficiary of indexing. “This could be fun.”

    We have a few young men called as specialists to help new indexers with their computers.  Youth can index quickly.  They learn.  We hold labs.
    Young women in one ward decided to have a challenge for a month.  A lot of youth got involved, but parents also.  One ward had 80 new indexers. Some youth use the mobile App traveling home from school. 
    Question on the iPad for indexing.  In the future. See next session for news about a new browsing client (Roadmap is next webcast.)  
    We have a presentation on the internet each Sunday.

GRAPHIC: Individual indexers by day. Dip on Christmas Day. Here is OMNI project in Sacramento. We continue to grow and gather strength. Your efforts are paying off in a very big way. Continue to work as priesthood leaders and indexing directors.

1:30 - 2:30 pm: Indexing product update and road map

Indexing product update and road map Pretty consistent is high usage on weekends, mainly on Sunday, and lower during Tuesday to Thursday. Elder Judson introduces Brother Scott Flinders. Scott is the product manager with the answers. He is responsible for the architecture. He is also responsible to the customer satisfaction of the software for indexing and arbitrating. He knows of things to change and things that are changing. He married his JrHS sweetheart and they have six children. Served in Chile where they have an extended lunch and siesta.

“FamilySearch Indexing: Product Update and Roadmap” We all know that Indexing makes passion. Here is a young single adult ward that has parties ((video and song: “Hey there girl, what’s your name; this line is hard to read; this needs better handwriting. It starts with an ‘L’ and ends with an ‘e’. It’s Love, love, happens naturally. Here indexing. (piano music and singing) I love this batch, regardless of the arbitrator’s match. (Chorus) If you want your temple blessings, then this is a start.” (Shows them all around the room clapping along.) Tears of respect in our eyes. Search on {Indexing, song} on YouTube to find that:

It’s OK to make Indexing fun; make challenges; have speed and be accurate.

Maintain Current Indexing System — Came in six years ago from another company, expanded and customized. For the most part, it works. We will be adding snap highlights. A year ago, decided to create new software.

Much of what I talk about will be the new system, but for the 1940 US Census, this is the horse that we are riding right now. As you saw, the system can be slow on weekends. What about the next six months? Our ‘engineers’ have been working hard. We have worked out most of those concerns. We have new updates just finishing. There will be a desktop change that will make it run smoothly. Pray for us.

We can help manage the load by checking out during low-load times. The current limit is ten batches and then you must turn them back before getting more.

‘Engineers’ have been using ‘form registration’ to line up the highlights. This should be coming in the next update within a few weeks. Now, when you open the batch, the highlighting-rectangle is auto-aligned. Applause by us here in Los Angeles .!. .!. .!. Saves 30 seconds per batch.

“Total Points” have been inconsistent, even with no work by you. Now, any time you check in a batch, it will be recorded and points will persist. Other than these two fixes (highlights and points) we will just be working on major defects. Most of our efforts will be on the new system. Communicating too.

It is done around the world on one system, now going into the cloud. You can add to the system and scale the system horizontally (multiple instances) and vertically (more resources).

We get help from missionaries but everything goes though our system, and would like societies to also set up projects. We see a day where even individuals could take their family Bible and index themselves into their project. This new system will allow third-party people set it up themselves.

There will also be “indexing on the fly” to browse through. Anyone doing ‘browsing’ and finding names they want, could index right then.

Some additional considerations: start with a clean code base for efficiency and long-term benefit. We will integrate with social media for other societies, they can tie into our system. You can download to Android or iOS (iPhone and iPad) to use the API to integrate with societies.

DIAGRAM: New System Architecture. It is robust and yet flexible. We separate with an API layer the system and the software the user is using.

Q/A: Some wonder where it is all stored(?) Data center is in VA. Software/servers are hosted there. We have an office in Orem for programming, with project management in the Joseph Smith Memorial Bldg.

GRAPHIC: ADMIN PORTAL — Groups Right now you can only relate to one group. We would like to see groups self start and self administer. This will help individual wards as a subgroup. People can create their own groups, with flexibility and functionality.

Also, our project management for setting up projects will be better. Some projects will be semi-private for quality control for societies.

RECORD TEMPLATE EDITOR [[Techy stuff about setting up a project like marriage records in India.]] INGEST TOOL This is where batches are defined, one or several images.

DESKTOP LINKING CLIENT which is the frontend for volunteers, including societies who have their own frontend.

As we move forward, another volunteer opportunity will be ‘linking’ instead of reading olde handwriting as you ‘index’. Link the records to the image, in provenence order, easy to match those that follow. This system is in the pilot phase.

DEVELOPER ACCESS TO SYSTEM OBJECTS (backend info) Anything you need to write your own indexing system.

GRAPHIC: INDEXING ROADMAP (new and old are in parallel) We are half way through, making good progress. The old will merge capability via migration. The old will be retired. Yes, we do need beta testers for the new system as functionality and projects are added.

FACEBOOK APPLICATION for a casual engagement. There could be a day you could index from your Facebook page. Soon we will release a training application to help read handwriting. There will be a practice game that will give you immediate feedback for each name. They can choose easy, medium, or hard. Then there is a Tetris game where names come down from the top and you type them in; another game is a maze. You can paste your score to your Facebook wall, and see the scores of your friends. They might sign up to be a real indexer.

MOBILE INDEXING came with a soft release, quietly. We tested ‘word-of-mouth’ just putting it in the App Store. Amazing how word got out rapidly and it is being used. You see a single field at a time, just names, 30 seconds at a time. We chose passenger lists with names only.

40,000 have downloaded the mobile App in two months. Quirks are being worked out, such as resolution. You would be amazed at the 13-yr-old to 17-yr-old youth who have begun.

We are indexing hundreds of millions of records every year. Think of how long it took to go to countries and gather this information. Images will be published sooner and faster than we can index them. Hence, ‘indexing on the fly’. Some see errors in indexing and arbitrating. It is great to have a passion for accuracy, and that will be addressed in ‘indexing on the fly’ to add a second opinion. Corrections and additions will be allowed on your family tree, in browsing, and for indexing.

Photo of wife indexing in the hospital, waiting to deliver a new baby.

Is it possible to put the software in public libraries? ANS: By all means, that would be great. Ask them.

Orem UT Library does have that capability. Macintosh? ANS: Officially (1) WIN; (2) Macintosh; (3) Linux. Java was used so it is common but works best on Windows. We have a lot of users with Macintosh.

On the new cloud application, it will not be on your computer.

What about those that do not have constant connectivity? ANS: HTML5 supports offline, with caveats such as using Chrome or Firefox. Most have connectivity.

Q: Do you take suggestions for improvements? ANS: Absolutely Several avenues: preferred is the has ‘feedback’ button. Also, Forums. You can contact our patron services dept directly. Contact me at any time. We do firesides. Give me a call; Send a note.

Q: Share-batch feature is good, but seeing the screen is better. ANS: Just in discussion, on the horizon. Answer Two: It’s free if you do it on your own. Get the tools. Plus, the software already has this capability; read further down here.

Q: Correct records? Only from that point on? ANS: No, all previously indexed/arbitrated in the past also.

A great pleasure to meet with you. We’ll discuss further now.

Elder Judson thanks speakers and will resume after a 15 minute break.

2:45 - 3:45 pm: Where do I go for help?

Family History leaders/ consultants / Priesthood leaders / Stake indexing directors

Mike Judson welcomes us back and introduces Brandon Bauman, patron and partner services Manager. He leads the indexing support team. Bring any question to him. His wife is Jennifer also indexes. They have children ages 5, 3, and 9mo. He loves genealogy, saltwater fish aquariums, and computer geek stuff.

Brandon: It’s true that the camera adds 100 pounds; thanks goes also to Jennifer’s good cooking. We can’t thank enough those that made this open house possible. (Applause) My presentation is not pre-canned but something I do every day so I’ll mainly use the websites. Let’s take you through the treasure chest of ‘best helps’ available.

You need to know how to do a project right. Example, 1940 Census.

When you sign up, you can specify the states of your highest interest. This will send you emails when those states become available. (remember ‘The’ at the front) We didn’t write it for only LDS, but also ‘group administrators’. There are other resources for PR and training as well. Use the ‘downloads’ button under resources even after we launch 1940. There is a society ‘getting started kit’. What Sunday school class doesn’t have a few moments to show the video, or see the poster? It’s 55Mb, relatively small.

You can follow blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. You can find how close we are to finishing each state (on a USA map) at . You will see the %-done for each state.

Moving on, let’s go into the indexing program. Read the help tab information. F1 button gives help; contact info lists the Stake Indexing Director; they will contact you as stake indexing director FIRST, rather than calling 866-406-1830. Use the ‘resource guide’, which we are adding to. Use ‘Ask A Question’ button. We have 80 missionaries answering, and if they don’t find the answer online they will add it. There are hundreds of knowledge documents.

Our Forums and our Wiki can be updated with new info within ten seconds of us knowing it needs to be updated.

How many have used the remote control? (A few.) You see their screen and take control. It’s all in the Help tab.

Field helps and project instructions are critical in being a good indexer/arbitrator/stake indexing director.

Showed the 1940 simulation batch.

Project instructions: We also tell you there what access will be given to the images once the indexing is complete.

Go also to the bottom of any project instruction to see several links that tells you about the project, changes and updates. Many of these go to our wiki site where you can find specific examples of situations we’ve seen and how to index them properly.

The basic indexing guidelines can also be helpful.

There are 80 projects described on the You have a search bar at the top – search for the following: project updates indexing. Wonderful Wiki features, great for official instructions on how to index. Our wiki gives information in special situations. This is the formula: Wiki + Indexing = WINdexing. [We have audio but when he switched screens to see himself, the speaker brought internet viewers to a blank left side.] People click on ‘like’ to promote an answer in the wiki at the bottom of the page (5 stars rating system)

In the Wiki, you also have Frequently-Asked-Questions [FAQ]. Project instructions are worked on daily. We have presentations for training indexers and answering questions available under the project updates tab: A pdf comes up very quickly on your screen. Thank You, Sister Pearson and Elder Pearson. The Wiki can be powerful for you. Add your comments to any project updates page if you have questions.

[[ED: Word comes over that internet viewers don’t see the computer screen.]] The resolution is so bad that it didn’t really matter much anyway. We got the audio to make these notes. AND we hope to see the MP3 recording at as promised. is another ‘best-kept-secret’. People just like you share success stories, discuss activity, and ask and answer questions. I, myself, go in; Mike watches it; Brother Flinders also, plus our staff.

Forums covers the projects, administration, and general indexing. Lots of information there. There are success stories to share. 200 connections were made today with our streaming to the internet. Help others to be successful with your experience and knowledge by sharing it on the forums!

We have knowledgeable people out there who are connecting. Some of you here see your own postings. There’s helps for Italian indexers. I served my mission in Rome, and Thomas McGill and I helped indexers in Utah to do Italian indexing in their stakes. We shared information and now it is in the Forums helping others to do Italian indexing as well.

My wife came to me after and asked to be able to help and started indexing projects from Italy. She was done in about 45 minutes with her first batch, and her score was awesome. She learned basic terms in Italian, really enjoyed indexing those projects, and looks forward to going to Italy someday.

This is how you can share with others who need your knowledge. Q:What are the little icons on the left side? Answer: Red shows how ‘hot’ a discussion is. See the legend at the bottom. ‘Blue’ indicates just starting.

It is relatively easy to learn and my team is here to help you.

How many of you have used ‘Live Chat’? (several.) It is a booming success. It takes 15-20 minutes from beginning to end to chat with one of our missionaries and get an answer.

There is also ‘Stake Indexing Director Training’, just added on our resource guide page. ( and click on the HELP tab – look under stake indexing director) Use it for your new assistant indexing directors, use it to help you work better with priesthood, there’s a lot of info here. Roles are discussed. Please go watch it! It is so well done.

We also have a Facebook!/familysearchindexing ; lots of info to help how you index.

See also “Help At A Glance” (hand out given to those in Salt Lake) to get the jobs done well: Indexer, Arbitrator, Director, Family History support, High Council (priesthood). This will be available with the recording.

Q: Group Administrators are for societies? ANS: Thank you for asking that question, yes. We also have a training for them in the resource guide, “Group Administrator Training”.

There are also links at the bottom of the page for language help.

There are surname dictionaries, handwriting helps, and much more.

Visit or our and click Indexing.

We have an “Ask A Question” Page. Give us specific feedback. We are here as a service to you. is our Help Center. Look at the tabs on the right. Work with your Family History Center director. They can start and help instruct indexers and arbitrators. They can invite in the public. Visit your family history center, work with the director, and set up a training program.

At your center, working together you can be booming in activity and indexing. People put in their zip-code to find you. Via Google, they find you with Forums. (He is showing the page, “Contact FamilySearch” and up pops a map of centers around the world.)

“Did you get satisfaction for your ideas?” A preferred method for feedback: (1) Report a problem; and (2) Share an idea (at the bottom of articles).

You can see the case information and track replies. Anybody can go in and click on ‘My Cases’

(PICTURE)!/familysearchindexing This is our Facebook page. It shows most recent posts on the 1940 Census. Find people you know and check their interest in indexing, ask questions, and answer their questions.

Go in and type {FamilySearch Indexing} to see the pages on Facebook – we have a few languages available, and more coming.

On Google+ we have an indexing page for you. You don’t need to have GMail to get in. You just need a Google account. You can search and see our Google+ page. They had a ‘hangout’ to talk about the 1940 Census and what is coming.

Last thing I want to show you is our FamilySearch site. Nothing would be here were it not for your indexing. You make everything available. We appreciate what you do. People find their relatives. It comes up with the page that you indexed. They didn’t have to search a mile of paper or microfilm/microfiche. That’s FamilySearch.

We are open for questions. We have a few questions that were sent in. We have 40 minutes more.

3:45 - 4:45 pm: Questions, answers and discussion

Questions and answers, from audience and leaders

Q: People have moved — can I remove them from my list? ANS: [Just keep the credit] Being in a stake has benefits. (Ward clerks could communicate. Use eMail to the person to get it right.)

Q: People are reluctant to be the final say, arbitrating. Q: Suggested Feature to indicate sure or unsure. ANS: Understood. We work on communicating back. For now we have the system we have. At some point, fixes will be allowed.

We are working on this hard question. [There are some easy answers here. Give arbitrators more credit.] As more people understand, they’ll be more open and less fearful. We plan to instruct on arbitrating with our next newsletter.

There was a sheet handed out to find good arbitrators and the skills they need. Confidence comes from preparation and practice. Indexer A and Indexer B and Arbitrator C are all human and doing their best.

Comment: We had an expert in English history and didn’t want to do a lot of typing. She was ideal with arbitrating and making decisions.

The Sacramento Stake took on the OMNI Project and learned the locations and surnames. We asked them to help arbitrate that project.

Q: How do I let non-members know they can join in? ANS: As an Administrator, you can ‘move in’ and type in the name of any indexer-name to move into your container. Invite them in by saying, “I’ll give you support, answers, and anything you need.”

Q: I read the directions and when I ask a question, it isn’t documented. Telling me what the field help says, doesn’t help. Where do I ask? ANS: Specify that you didn’t find it. Our missionaries will research, and Sister Shirley authors our docs. She will have it in a matter of hours.

Q: In arbitration and you click “My Accuracy” and “My Results” what happens? ANS: There is a limited amount we can do to help and train. We have seen specific things and are in the early stages to help. The indexer can disagree with the arbitrator. We would have to go find what each said. It takes weeks, a lot of time. In the future we can do more.

Q: We have examples of difficult handwriting, also teach about Google maps. Is it possible to keep good example batches? ANS: We are looking at shortening how long you can keep batches.

Mike: You want this sample batch to teach, right? ANS: Do what you must. {soto voce}

Q: Objective is 1940 Census? What of the other projects? ANS by Elder Jensen: We do want the priority to start Monday evening. It will be the number one project (easy and appealing). Our indexers love census forms. Our intent is not to deemphasize if you want to work on specific ones. We will take some projects down for a while to not complicate. Each state is a project, and some will want to do other projects when their state is done.

Other projects will be easy, such as WW I and WW II daft registration. When the 1940 Census is done we want indexers to continue with you. You can prepare for that as well. Be proactive and introduce them since we will not have easy projects forever. Graduate them.

ANS by Brandon. It is not just cut-and-dried, but three levels of difficulty. Expand your skill set, and theirs. We encourage indexing around the world.

Q: Why are some things ‘urgent’? ANS: Italian government contract was the reason.

Q: Can we edit and add a phone # or eMail address to a user? ANS: You are limited to which ward they are in. It’s personal.

Q: What about adding non-members to our team? ANS: Work with your family history center.

Q: Had a problem printing a pdf from my computer. ANS: Sometimes you can hit the F5 to refresh the screen. ANS2: You can bring into Excel and split by ward. Call a Guru as assistant.

Q: Where is the move-in button? ANS: At the bottom of the Admin screen. Knowing ‘who’ is the other question.

Elder Jensen encourages further feedback. (1) yellow cards in the room; not specific to the openhouse. (2) you can respond to the eMail, by ‘reply’.

We thank you so much for being here and what you do to support indexing. We’ll have a closing prayer. (Kay)

ED: Notes from & Lynnette, Check our blogspots: . Postscript: We’ll post highlight notes to . . . Elder Bednar:

BYU Student sings about Indexing:

ED: Please send corrections and additions to

Following higher-level page has links of interest to begin understanding:


And there are brief notes under the DISCUSSION tab at the top of this page. Charlie Shipp 21:41, 6 April 2012 (EDT)