Online family history searches are becoming easier today than ever, with just the click of a button. But who is responsible for uploading the facts that make searching online for information about great-great granddad possible? In part, volunteers. Volunteers like the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Chorley, Lancashire, area who took on the lofty goal of indexing 1,000,000 names in a year.
After learning about indexing in 2010, more than 100 members of the Church were encouraged by their ecclesiastical leaders to contribute to a goal set for approximately half the United Kingdom of indexing 1,000,000 names. In November of that year, the goal was accomplished, with Chorley England Stake contributing 147,000 names.
Then at the start of 2011, 150 members in the Chorley area committed to a new goal of uploading another 1,000,000 names. At 3:18 p.m. New Year’s Eve, after putting in rigorous hours in an indexing marathon, they once again met the challenge of 1,000,000 names.
In 2012, though, 289 members and non-members of the Church combined in the Chorley area and indexed an impressive 1.4 million names, with a notable portion coming from a seven-day challenge that yielded 763,749 names indexed, a record-breaking accomplishment according to FamilySearch.
“There has been a great spirit of unity and fellowship as we have worked together during these past few days,” said Chorley Stake president David Pickup in reference to the seven-day challenge. “The many experiences that have been recounted have been truly touching and uplifting. We have been unified with one mind and one heart in accomplishing a worthwhile objective. I am so very grateful for everyone who rallied to the call to help. No effort was too small or insignificant. Every single name counted. It has brought us together… The gospel helps ordinary people do extraordinary things and we have accomplished something extraordinary this week.”
Indexing is the transferring of written public records to accessible, online databases that make searching for genealogical information much more convenient. Indexers use documents such as hand-written birth, marriage and death records to create an electronic report for a deceased person. This electronic report enables those doing genealogy to have a much easier time when searching for facts about their ancestors.
These indexed public records are available worldwide through FamilySearch.org. FamilySearch.org is one of the most used genealogy Web sites and offers the public free access to its resources and services.
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are encouraged to take part in genealogical work in an effort to connect families to their ancestry. Members believe that through genealogy work they are answering the call of Elijah in turning “the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers” (Malachi 4:6, KJV).
To find out more about indexing and how to register and get involved, visit www.FamilySearch.org.