It took about 30 years to process 72 million Mexican family history names for pilot.familysearch.org, a genealogy search engine in beta testing for the popular FamilySearch Web site. Now, the church is looking for more Spanish-reading volunteers to try new indexing tools at indexing.familysearch.org.
Paul Nauta, FamilySearch public affairs manager, said he hopes the work can now go much faster on other projects -- if they can find more Spanish-reading volunteers to try the new Spanish language indexing tools at indexing.familysearch.org.
"Part of the challenge we have with all the massive amounts of Spanish data we want to put online is that we need people that can read Spanish to help index those," Nauta said.
But response, so far, has not matched expectations.
"We haven't figured out what the secret is to getting Spanish-reading volunteers online," Nauta said.
According to the FamilySearch Web site, indexing volunteers extract family history information from digital images of historical documents to create searchable indexes that help researchers find their ancestors.
To demonstrate how well the new indexing technology has been doing in English, Nauta contrasts the 1880 U.S. Census with the 1900 U.S. Census. Some 20,000 volunteers spent more than 12 million hours processing names from the 1880 census using old technology -- sending images on CDs, capturing information on paper and then entering the data. A force of 2,000 volunteers using the new technology at indexing.familysearch.org processed the names on the larger 1900 U.S. Census in only 12 months.
The Spanish language version of the indexing program was added to indexing.familysearch.org in May. Currently the project is concentrating on the 1930 Mexico Census, the 1869 Argentina Census, Spain Lugo Church records and Venezuela Merida Church records.
"We have a grundle more waiting to be done," Nauta said, "but the only thing stopping them from happening is we need Spanish-reading indexers."
Nauta explained that the time commitment to work on indexing is not great. He said a census page may take a seasoned indexer about 15 minutes total and a newcomer about 30 minutes. An indexer can do the project in short segments -- saving their work online. If an indexer can't finish the page, the system will automatically assign the unfinished part to somebody else.
"So not even 10 minutes of work will be wasted and we'll take it," Nauta said.
Interested volunteers can sign up at indexing.familysearch.org. To access the Spanish language version, click on the "Languages" drop-down menu on the top right side of the Web page.