By Angelyn Nelson Hutchinson of FamilySearch
If you spent part of your weekend participating in the worldwide indexing event, you were in good company. The event far surpassed its goal of 72,000 participants around the globe; a total of 116,475 individuals worked to make the world’s historical records available to those doing their family history work. These individuals indexed 10,447,887 records to add to the treasure trove of information available to family history researchers.
That final number of participants exceeded the original target by 44,475 participants—a 61.8 percent increase over the original goal.
“Grateful” was how Collin Smith, FamilySearch marketing manager, summed up his feelings at the successful event’s conclusion. “I’m pleased that so many people all over the world heard the call to index and brought so many friends and family to participate.”
From its beginning on Thursday in Southeast Asia and Australia to its conclusion Sunday night in the Pacific, the event attracted a wide range of participants, from those working alone at a home computer to those participating in an organized event like the one held by a group in Zurich, Switzerland. “We were about 20 people,” Joshua Christian Drewlow wrote on the FamilySearch Facebook page. “Everybody brought his own laptop, and we sat in a big conference room. . . . We had a super awesome atmosphere there!”
The scene was similar thousands of miles away. In South Jordan, Utah, 30 individuals participated in a Friday night indexing party where the indexers dined on pizza, helped each other decipher names, and compared document information.
The efforts in Switzerland and Utah were repeated across the globe. While North America had the largest number of participants, with 69,915 total, all regions were represented in reaching the total number of 116,475 participants. The numbers for each region are:
- Africa and the Pacific: 1,876
- Asia: 1,360
- Europe and the Middle East: 3,948
- Latin America: 16,686
- North America: 92,943
“So cool to use my Afrikaans language,” Nicole Lerios Randall wrote on Facebook. “Doing Death Notices from the Transvaal 1869–1958. Love being part of something bigger than me!!”
Nancy Van Kesteren Helis of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was a first-time indexer Friday, but she wasn’t new to family history research in another language. “I decided to start with images from The Netherlands,” she wrote on Facebook. “I’ve spent so much time over the years searching through Dutch genealogy records, it feels good to be able to contribute by helping to put more Dutch records online!”
No matter location or language, the participants completed at least one batch each. In the Salt Lake Valley at the annual Draper Days celebration, festival-goers from teens to grandmas stopped by the FamilySearch tent to try indexing at one of the six computer stations. Each participant did one to three batches of records. By and large, the group with the greatest number of people willing to test drive indexing was teens 15 to 19, Smith said. “They have easy computer skills, and they love seeing the old records,” Smith said.