Transcription Tuesday 2018: Join the FamilySearch team!

By Editor, 3 January 2018 - 4:19pm

Sarah Williams, editor of WDYTYA? Magazine, explains why she has chosen to help FamilySearch index digital images of parish registers to make them searchable for future family historians 

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Sarah Williams is editor at Who Do You Think You Are? MagazineThursday 3 January 2018
Sarah Williams, editor
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Familysearch indexing

Come and join me on Tuesday 23 January 2018 indexing parish register entries for FamilySearch so that more of these vital records can become freely available online. is the world’s biggest genealogy organisation and its website offers a global feast of genealogy data completely free for family historians to use.

One of the first to harness the power of volunteer indexers, FamilySearch has had years to perfect its interface making it a relatively easy project to get stuck into.

However, it isn’t just its simplicity that makes this a good project to support. Ever since FamilySearch announced that they would no longer be distributing microfilms, they have recognised the need to accelerate the digital indexing of their vast collection of UK parish registers so that they can be put online.

This is where you come in! Once you have registered on their website you can choose which parish register collection you want to work on (the current choices are: Lincolnshire, Northumberland and Surrey) and then you are off, helping to make these crucial records available for future researchers.

And if the warm glow of doing something for others isn’t enough, it’s also a great way to familiarise yourself with a range of parish register formats and improve your handwriting recognition. You will be a parish register pro by the end of the day!

When you have finished indexing, please share with us how many records you transcribed. FamilySearch keeps track of this for you, so all you have to do is select ‘Web Indexing’ and look under ‘Progress’. Email the number of records to so that I can keep a tally. Here’s to a successful day!

Please register your involvement in the day and which project you will be supporting by clicking here. We also strongly recommend that people register with the project they are interested in before the day.

Getting started

Step 1
Visit and select ‘Sign in’ at the top right-hand corner. If you haven’t registered with Familysearch before, then you will need to do so by selecting ‘Free account’. In the future you will need to be logged in to use Familysearch so it is worth registering. If you have an account, then just log in as usual. Next you just need to choose the project you want to index and click the blue ‘Start Indexing’ box next to it.

Step 2
Once you have chosen your project you will be taken straight to a parish register page that needs indexing. This could be baptisms, marriages or burials and for early registers might be a mixture. On your first visit you will see Project Instructions including a getting started guide and key instructions. It’s worth spending some time at the start looking through this.

FamilySearch step two

Step 3
You will be asked if the page should be indexed (this will be ‘yes’ for almost all pages) and then asked if the first entry on the page is a baptism, marriage or burial. There is a handy purple question mark next to each field that you can hover your mouse over or click for help. You will see some fields that won’t apply to that entry. You can just ignore those and press tab to move to the next field. As this is an indexing project, rather than transcription, you will find some details do not have a relevant field and should just be ignored.

Step 4
Once you have completed the first entry on the page, you can move to the next one. Remember to go slowly and try and be as accurate as possible. Where there are many entries to a page it can be easy to make mistakes and put details in the wrong field boxes if you lose concentration! Once you have completed all the entries on the screen (bearing in mind this may be two pages), select Submit Batch and you can choose to work on another similar batch or try something different.

FamilySearch step four


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