The 1900 census as well as many other years, are already on Ancestry and
Heritage Quest online. Why is the LDS doing this one again? Are they doing
other the census years too? Sure, you must pay for Ancestry but Heritage Quest
is free through the public libraries. The church recently added HQ at our Sandy
Family History Center (I wonder about that, too?). To me doing the 1900 census
doesn't make sense when they could be doing so many other records that haven't
been done yet.
I've been an indexing volunteer for about six months and I really enjoy it.
Anyone can sign up and get started. It usually doesn't take long to do a batch.
I've done 1900 Census records from New York, Oregon, Vermont, NC, SC, Arkansas,
Tennessee, Illinois and Kentucky. It's interesting to see the different
demographics and family situations from around the country, as well as names
from over a century ago. If you have some spare time while a baby naps or on a
business trip, it's a great way to accomplish something good. Some friends of
mine do it on their laptops while watching videos with their kids.
HQ's 1900 census is NOT every name indexed.The objective is FREE
access. Ancestry wants you to fork up so much $ just to see the census.And 1900 census is not going to be only census. Already underway is
Mecklenburg 1818 census (German) and in works are the other USA's censuses.
Ancestry.com has FAR more data than just every-name indexes to every single
federal census -- so much more data from so many states and countries that I
consider it indispensible to anyone doing genealogy. You subscribe for the
other databases and the censuses are "gravy" available to you at no additional
cost. For those who cannot afford a subscription, many libraries make it
avaible for free, including all Salt Lake County libraries and BYU.Thus, there was no need for the LDS Church to index what has already been
indexed three times (the soundex cards being the first time, with HeritageQuest
and Ancestry being the second and third time). That 18 months of wasted effort
by the FamilySearch Indexing volunteers (of which I am one--it is my calling in
my ward), could have been spent on indexing millions of names from records that
no one has yet indexed, such as the Draper Manuscripts.
I understand that the census records that were indexed by Ancestry were done in
Asian countries. The people were paid to do it.In the case of Family
Search by the LDS Church, the people doing it are those who have a deep interest
in genealogy and helping others find their own families, even if they aren't
LDS.Also, Ancestry charges for all their census records except the
1880 census, which the LDS Church did. The records the LDS people and friends
are doing will be available either for free or at minimal cost.
You can say what you want, but the Heritage Quest census records are not very
good. If you've ever used it, you would know in a moment it doesn't compare to
the census record on Ancestry. HQ is not an EVERY name index, the 1850 and 1930
are incomplete, and the whole thing is not very good to use. Ancestry.com is
100% better. If the church can get volunteers then good. In the interim,
either one has to pay to use Ancestry.com at home or spend time at a public
Ancestry was available through the LDS Family History Centers until last Spring.
They (Ancestry) stopped offering access to it for free. So, this is one reason
why the Church wants to make it free with the help of volunteers.
I wonder also, why do this again? But it is addicitive. Since 31 Nov 2006 I have
done almost 24,000 names from several states. I have several non member friends
helping with this. I enjoy it so much. I would like to move on to court records,
but what they have ready I will do.
Absolutely ridiculous waste of time to index the US Census records since they
have already been indexed! There are MILLIONS of other records to be indexed.
Does this mean they're going to do ALL the census records, both before and since
1900?? If so, that would end up taking like 15 years - just to get where
Ancestry was 2 years ago. What a waste of everyone's time - just to save a few
bucks? Also, it's not like volunteer Mormons will do a better indexing job than
paid Asians, as was implied in the comment above. These will have many errors,
just like any indexing project.
I am sorry that so many people find it necessary to make negative comments. I
have had a subscription to Ancestry for many years and find it very useful. I
have been an indexer for 3 months. This given me the chance to compare what I
have indexed to the same census pages indexed on Ancestry. I was very surprised
to discover very poor interpretation in many 1900 census records on Ancestry.
Although it appears many are unhappy at the additional translation I am thankful
for the opportunity it will give to have another set of eyes review the records
and to access the information at no charge. Some people have limited or varied
time to do their research preventing them from going to a library. The free
access at home will enable a larger population to research with the records that
will be available through the indexing program.
You folks are not catching the vision. The new indexing volunteers so far this
year are the just the beginning of a massive work force that will be at work in
the near future. We are "cutting our teeth" on a known entity in preparation
for the great work ahead, that of digitizing granite mountain and all else that
we are allowed to do. I'm sure that those who are administering the program are
amazed and encouraged as the work progresses, even as a dew before the sun.
Instead of being grateful for an additional resource, as was pointed out by "My
Comment", so that we can compare, if needed, with what has already been done,
some choose to be negative. Negativity has no place in genealogy work. Be gone!
Scat!The one thing that has not been mentioned is that in this new
indexing, each record will have been indexed by two people, with a third, if the
compared entries do not match 100 percent. I dare say that kind of quality
control was not evidenced in the Ancestry and Heritage Quest censuses. Be glad
for that.Meanwhile, let us enjoy the fact that shortly after indexed
records are submitted to the LDS Church, they are prepared to go online at
FamilyHistory.Org. How cool is that?
I was blessed to be one of the beta indexers, and have moved on to arbitration.
I am now fortunate enough to work on German records and I can use all my
knowledge and skills, including reading the old German script. The quality
control with three people entering/comparing data is priceless. This program has
been going on for more than two years, and few were aware of it. Through recent
publications of articles the ranks of the volunteers has increased, and more and
more records are entered online. It is up to you to use whatever method you want
to search for your ancestors. No one is forcing you to use the free LDS church
records.Negative comments are counterproductive and serve no purpose.
Accept gracefully and with thanks what is offered with FamilyHistory.org.I
have derived too many benefits from doing this work to question the huge
blessing it has become.
I saw an article in the Ensign last month while working in the church library
that asked for indexers. I was so excited about it, I couldn't wait to get
home. What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I have only been doing
this for about 3 weeks but have already indexed 2000 names. When I
first started indexing I was worried about making mistakes but was more
confident when I learned that somebody else would do the same batches I am doing
and differences would be looked at by an arbitrator. For added
interest, I highly recommend that you look up the history offered for the 1900
era census. How interesting it is. I was wondering why I would run into
patches of young widows and by reading about the times they lived in it gave me
insight into what may have been the cause. I also have membership
to Ancestry.com and have enjoyed it very much. It is getting way too pricey for
me though and I will be greatful to have free or inexpensive access to this
information. This indexing is great stuff, I am so glad I found
this opportunity to be a part of it.
Censuses are not the only records being indexed but they are a great training
ground - common language, predictable format, minimal interpretation and major
interest. I'm guessing that few first-timers would sign up to index indentures
and judgments. Once you see how easy it is, you will find yourself hocked and
excited about going on to other, harder records. As for the "great debate" - I
have had an Ancestry subscription from the beginning and consider it well worth
the money because I use it almost every day. I also use Heritage Quest
regularly. As for why another indexing may be useful, try looking for Lewis
Wells, born 1920 on the 1930 census for each. Then go to 1930 census for Utah,
Utah, Vineyard, page 261, sheet 2a and compare what you see! (And where would
you be without the alternative I submitted to Ancestry, who incidentally are
glad to have others help make their informtion more usable and accurate.)
To all those critics of the indexing of the US Census records: Remember the
criticism of the announcement of the Conference Center in Salt Lake? Now look at
the outcome of that project! Nothing goes on in this Church without
it first being discussed by the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve.
They are advised from many sources before decisions to move forward are
implemented. Therefore, let us reason together and get on with the job at hand.
The time spent here could have been spent better on the Lord's work. I trust
and follow the brethren
I am so thankful for the previous posts. I also wondered "why duplicate?". Now I
know. As a beta tester also, I have watched this process develop and grow. And
become easier. When I began tracing my own ancestry 40-plus years ago, all was
done so slowly. Now a person expects to type in a name and be rewarded with a
complete family line! Wonderful! This project allows us to work minutes, or
hours, at will, the only requirement being to follow instructions and
guidelines. And the rewards in our own hearts are really worth the tiny efforts
we must make. Better yet, no one is excluded from the effort. I'm happy to be a
part of this work, and to better understand why it only appears we are
I am so thankful to hear of this great work -My daughter began indexing
when the program was presented in the Ensign article last month. What an
opportunity for her to get involved with 2 small children, she has found an
opportunity to give service while they nap. I am impressed with her example and
want to do likewise. Maybe this small effort will also help people see how easy
it is to get involved and get started with their own personal histories and even
their family history. I understand more everyday that this work is an important
key for all of us in our progression. I agree wtih all of the posts that have
mentioned the negativity and hope that people will feel inspired and uplifted as
they take this opportunity. I am going to encourage more to participate. Thanks
for the wonderful reporting and opportunity to share.
Nice to hear from all those ancestry.com stockholders. The truth is that while
the Internet is characterized by the free sharing of knowledge--that is its real
power--the folks at ancestry.com seem to have been caught up in their
greed--their fees are too high and remind me of the monopoly the telephone
company had for far too long, which greatly restricted innovation. Making the
Census records freely available to all is a noble work, it is Wikipedia redux,
and will have a profound influence on the study of family history. Go indexers!
I am grateful for this program. I helped index through the card program, then
data entry in the 90s (worked so much I got a macular hole -maybe it wasn't
related; found a treatment to restore sight -I pray; it's getting ---better feel
like Job). My sister did so much research before she died (just after my eye
trouble). I have tried ever since to proof and add "pictures" of the evidence of
our lineage - unsuccessfully. Once the church pulls together resources, I think
I might be able to make progress at long last. THANKS to everyone for this work.
I joined the church after my sister (oldest, previously mentioned) joined
because of genealogy. (Our mom took Sunday classes - got in the habit of going
each week; I took the discussions, but preferred the friendshipping at my
Baptist church... still miss many of those traditions; but I learned the church
is true and now walk by faith...) I have earned 2 masters degrees to prove I am
capable of authoring our ancestry (all I'd seen were written by Ph.D.s ... ) yet
all those projects have gotten in the way... and hopefully genealogy is again my
priority project. I index when I stumped, or have just a couple "laid back"
hours between projects. I am grateful to feel I am a part of the work. It is
fabulous the response is so great. Ancestry seems like a great tool, but I never
got any results when I tried at the FHC - and now that I am nearer to
subscription time (its moved up in my to dos) - I have learned it has flaws - I
am sure all projects will. But with the volunteerism of the church ...I am
hopeful... just Thanks.
I live in California and signed up to be an indexer after reading about it in
the Ensign. I have two small children and find this opportunity to be of
service quite enjoyable. Even moreso because I would like to be able to use the
information in it. I cannot afford a subscription to Ancestry.com. Hanging out
at a Family History Center or Library with two very young children in tow is not
an option. I am very grateful for any resources that allow me to work on my
family history at home while my chilren nap or watch PBS. I also see the vision
of the multitudes of indexers making records from around the world available for
search on the internet. This is clearly only the beginning. There are all
those records in the granite vault and all those ones still out there that
people are being filmed.
I am grateful to have had the additional resources of Heritage Quest &
Ancestry.com as I worked on the 1900 Census because there were things I had a
hard time reading on the images of the pages. Being able to compare the
different images (different quality, different camera/operator?) has been a
help. Being able to index online, with the rest of the internet to consult
with/search, has helped me too. More than once I have found descendants' posts
of their genealogy to help me interpret what was written on the Census. It is
fascinating work, and skill-building! I am grateful for the opportunity to put
myself in the way of inspiration. In our family we have a Daniel whose name was
extracted as David & so was overlooked for years. So I try to be careful,
diligent, prayerful. I don't think I am alone in that!
When I heard about the Indexing program I thought it was very exciting and an
indicator of where the Church is heading in Geneology and Temple work. I have
felt the spirit of those I am working for and their help at times. This is just
the beginning of a very wonderful time.
I have subscribed to Ancestry for the past 2 years, and have found it so
interesting and helpful. Unfortunately, I have also found obvious typos when
names were transcribed; they were really obvious mistakes! I trust LDS work
more because it is always double or triple checked, free, and comes with "The
Spirit." I am grateful for the volunteers and look forward to joining their
ranks someday soon - after my carpal tunnel surgeries heal. Thank you LDS
Church and non-member volunteers for your efforts!
I have been doing the family indexing at home and I find it fun and interesting.
I enjoy my spare time doing this work. It helps me to unwind after work and when
I can't sleep. I am so happy to be a part of this great work. And I feel that it
is something important and i can be a part of it from my home. I like setting
the goals and meeting them or exceeding them, thanks for the opportunity to
An awesome and miraculous undertaking to digiitize these precious records of our
ancestors! After all, we need more than one source in some cases to verify that
person is the person we are searching for. We have languished in our research of
records that have been misinterpreted, or transcribed incorrectly, pictures that
have no names or dates, of family data that is here say and guess work.! I love
the new direction set forth by our inspired church leaders. May we experience
the rewards of our family names being linked together through digitizing every
record that is made available to us... Hurrah for Family History!... Hurrah for
the genealogists! Hurrah for our ancestors who have waited for this time! This
is a giant leap for Family History world wide!
I just want to add that Ancestry does there indexing by a indexing reader not by
physical reading and it makes more mistakes then a eye of a person. Also I
indexed a page recently that I tried to search on Heritage Quest for and the
page was so unreadable on HQ and none of the names where in the system so what
The LDS church is doing is providing digital images that are clearer and then we
are indexing them so that others can find there dead ends and mystries. Hurrah!
I am so excited for this to happen the Lord has provided this oppurtunity, for
technology to provide this for family history to move across the earth. It is
the time to celebrate I know that God has made this possible to do our work for
the dead to recognize there importance in history. It is a blessing and a gift.
I can't explain it anybetter then that. It is a good idea and I don't understand
why it has to be put down like some of these comments have done. I believe that
you need to take the time and Pray about it 1st before Criticizing.