Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Handout for Teaching Indexing to a Youth Group

FamilySearch Indexing

The Church has billions of family history records stored on microfilm. Searching microfilm is very slow.
1. You check the FamilySearch Catalog for the numbers of the films you are interested in.

2. Then you pay to rent the films.
3. Then you wait 3-4 weeks for the films to arrive at the Family History Center.
4. Then you go to the FHC and spend 2-4 hours per film reading the records, looking for the record you are interested in. You need to know approximately when and where the event took place.

When indexing, you create a computer searchable index, allowing researchers to search thousands of films in a few seconds. As a researcher, even if you do not know the exact time and place of an event, there is an excellent chance of finding it.

REGISTERING: In advance, LDS members should register for an LDS Account, if possible. This can be done at or or

If you do not have an LDS Account, you can register for a FamilySearch account. These are available to the general public. (Minimum age is 13 for indexing unless there is parental approval.)

Registering has the usual confusion over acceptable user names and passwords. Write down your user name and password and keep it with you. (User names must be unique. The password must be a combination of at least 8 letters and numbers.)

Our network in the chapel is ______________ and the password is __________________

If you are bringing a laptop, try to install the indexing software at home, as the wi-fi in the chapel slows to a crawl when you get 8 people trying to download the software at the same time. Get the software by clicking on Get Started at or
Try the Two-Minute Test Drive to get an idea of how indexing works.

If we can arrange for a projector, it will allow everyone to see the Indexing Test Drive. They can also watch and provide suggestions as someone does indexing.  This is handy if you have more people than computers.

Once the software is installed, look on the computer Desktop for the FamilySearch Indexing icon, and double-click it to run the program.
Make sure that you select a Beginner batch. (usually a draft card registration or other simple document.) Beginner batches do not need to have records added, so when that box pops-up just close it.
Leaders can help you complete the batch and the Quality Check (which mostly looks for fields that have been left blank).
If the window to transmit the batch fails to pop-up, use the icon (second from the left above the data entry table).

We had about 15 boys and leaders last night, and it worked out very well. The boys were 12-13 year-old Scouts, and quickly caught on. At least one completed multiple batches. Good job boys!


  1. How did your 12-year-olds register for an account? I thought they had to be 13 or older. I think parental approval is required if they are under 18 years old--not under 13.

    (Would it be possible for me to sign in on the 12-year-olds computers using my account--so they could get started? Not sure how well this would work.)

    1. Mike, here is the information from the knowledge base.

      Document ID: 102340
      Minimum age requirement for indexing volunteers

      The Indexing User Agreement which must be accepted when the software is first downloaded reads: "You affirm that you are aged 13 or older and that, if under age 18, your parent or legal guardian consents to your participation and agrees to the terms of this Agreement on your behalf."

      The User Agreement was written prior to FamilySearch implementing separate FamilySearch and LDS accounts. The information below supercedes the User Agreement.

      When an LDS Account is created by a person between the ages of 8 and 12, a function appears requiring the approval of the parent or guardian, meaning that the system is checking the age of the individual who is registering for the account. In other words, youth between the ages of 8 and 12 can index with parent approval. Individuals between 13 and 18 are encouraged to notify their parents or guardians when creating an LDS account, but no verification is required.

      When a FamilySearch account is created, no age verification takes place.

  2. We are wanting the youth to look at a paper copy of something the might have to index and write the information. Do you have any copies of a ship log or census that we could use for this?