FAQs−Frequently Asked Questions



New Account−Clarification and Problems
  1. How does LDS account relate to FamilySearch accounts?
  2. I have submitted many batches in the past, but my “total names indexed” are now “0.”  What happened?
  3. I can no longer arbitrate batches or see the administration tab. What happened?

Getting Started
  1. How do I get started indexing?
  2. What time commitment does indexing require?
  3. Can I choose what records I want to index?
  4. Can I search the index I help create?
  5. How do I get help?

Indexer Questions
  1. Where do I go with questions about how information should be indexed?
  2. Can I get help reading the documents?
  3. What is header data?
  4. What is the Image Type?
  5. The clerk recorded something that is obviously an error on the document. How do I index that?
  6. How can I get feedback to know how I am doing?
  7. Is anyone going to check my work?

Arbitrator Questions
  1. What is arbitration?
  2. Can I become an arbitrator?
  3. Where do I learn about arbitrating?
  4. If both Key A and B are wrong, what should I do?
  5. How do I know when to fix all the problems I see in a batch or just send it back to be re-indexed?
  6. Why do I lose all my arbitration work if I do not do record matching first?
  7. Does anyone check my arbitration work after I submit a batch?

Group Administrator or Stake Indexing Director
  1. Who is my group administrator, and what does he or she do?
  2. How do I get started as a new stake indexing director or group administrator?
  3. Where can I get training materials to teach people in my group?
  4. What is a redo batch?

General Problems with the Program
  1. I received an error when getting into the program. How do I fix that?
  2. I am trying to submit a batch, but the program won’t allow it. What do I do?
  3. I have forgotten my password. How can I find out what it is?
  4. I tried to retrieve my password, but I never received the e-mail that the system said it would send.
  5. If I can’t sign in with my user name, should I register for a new account?
  6. I am on dial-up and have a hard time downloading the program on my computer every time there is an update. Is there an easier way?
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New Account–Clarification and Problems

  1. How does LDS account relate to FamilySearch accounts?
    If you already have an LDS account, there is no need to register for a FamilySearch account. FamilySearch will make use of the same user name and password as LDS account, which is already being used by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to access their congregational directories and calendars. An easy way to discover if you already have an LDS account is to try signing in to the Stake and Ward websites on http://www.lds.org.
  2. I have submitted many batches in the past, but my “total names indexed” are now “0.” What happened?
    You may have recently registered for a different FamilySearch account.
  3. I can no longer arbitrate batches or see the administration tab. What happened?
    You may have recently registered for a different FamilySearch account.
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Getting Started

  1. How do I get started indexing?
    There are four simple steps to get started and four steps to index a batch.

    Get Started

    1. Register. On the Indexing website, click Register, and then fill out the required information.
    2. Download the software. On the Indexing website, click Get Started. Then click Download Now. The indexing program installer will download. Run the installer following the on screen instructions. Sign in.
    3. Learn. Learn about indexing by reviewing the Quick Start Video and Tutorials. These will help you quickly learn how to index your first batches.
    4. Index. After the application opens, follow the next four steps to index batches.

    Index Batches

    1. Download. Click the Download Batch button. A batch of 1 to 30 images will be downloaded to your computer.
    2. Learn about the project. Learn by reading details on the Project Information tab.
    3. Type requested information. Type the requested information into the fields provided. Each field has detailed instructions in the Field Help tab that answer many indexing questions.
    4. Quality Check and Submit. When indexing is complete, the system will prompt you through the final stages of quality check and submitting the batch.
  2. What time commitment does indexing require?
    There are no minimum time requirements. You may index at any time or place and for as long as your schedule permits. If you are interrupted, when you return, the indexing program remembers where you were. A batch of work usually takes about 30 minutes to complete, and you have an entire week to finish it. If you can’t finish it, the batch becomes available for someone else to complete. If you don’t want to finish it, you can even return it.
  3. Can I choose what records I want to index?
    Yes. There are always many projects available for indexing. You can choose to index records from many different areas of the world with varying levels of difficulty.
  4. Can I search the index I help create?
    Yes! Soon after indexing is completed, the images and data are available to search at familysearch.org.
  5. How do I get help?
    There are different types of help available for working on projects and using the program.
    • Project Instructions and Field Help give instructions relating to how to index information on the image. Project Instructions generally apply to more general information; Field Help applies to a specific piece of information.
    • You may also find help for specific problems using the “Ask a Question” page. Type in your question, and click Ask.
    • Click the Help menu, and then click Help for instructions on how to use the indexing program.
    • Click the Help menu and then Contact Support to find contact information of someone who can help you either locally or through FamilySearch Support.
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Indexer Questions

  1. Where do I go with questions about how information should be indexed?
    The information in the Field Help and Project Information tabs cover many common questions about how to index information. If those don’t answer your question, you can also check the following documents:
    • Basic Indexing Guidelines −These guidelines are general instructions that apply to all projects and can be used to answer many questions you may have while indexing. These instructions cover questions such as:
      • I can read a few letters in this person’s name, but not all of them. Do I have to mark the whole name as unreadable?
      • There are two different spellings of the name on this birth certificate. Which one should I index?
      • Do I index the word “County” with the county name if it’s written on the document?
      • The birthplace was crossed out with another place written in the margin. Which one do I index?
      • My document is missing the year, but it is shown on the previous image. Can I use that?
      • How do I index the age of a child listed as “Stillborn”?
    • Project Updates. The Updates include answers to questions that come up while projects are being indexed. They are linked to the Project Information tab for each project.
  2. Can I get help reading the documents?
    Yes. Using the Share a Batch feature allows indexers, arbitrators, administrators, or Support to collaborate on a single batch. While in the batch, click File, and then click Share Batch. Give that number to a friend, your group administrator, or Support so they can look at the batch with you. You can also use the Resource Guide, which references many different handwriting aids on the Internet.
  3. What is header data?
    Header data is general information that applies to each record on an image, but you only need to enter the information once for that image. If you have a batch with multiple images, the header data will be filled out once for each image. Problems with submitting batches can often be attributed to incomplete header data.
  4. What is the Image Type?
    The first field in the header data is generally the Image Type. Indexers are asked to help determine if the image is correct for each type of project and if it can be indexed. If so, they are asked to mark it as "normal." If the image cannot be indexed, they can select the appropriate condition. Some conditions could be the image is blank or unreadable or that it belongs in a different project (such as a military record in a state census).
  5. The clerk recorded something that is obviously an error on the document. How do I index that?
    As an indexer, it is important that you do not interpret information; simply type what you see. Researchers who find the record later will be able to come to their own conclusions based on the information there. There is one exception to this rule; click here for more details.
  6. How can I get feedback to know how I am doing?
    • On the indexing start page, click the Arbitration Results tab. You can review a batch that has been arbitrated and see where an arbitrator changed any data.
    • You can also use the Share a Batch feature mentioned in a previous question. Index a batch all the way through, but don’t submit it. Have someone take a look at the batch with you to give you pointers and answer any questions you may have had while indexing.
  7. Is anyone going to check my work?
    Indexing uses a process that includes two separate indexers, each indexing the information from the same batch. If there are any differences in their submissions, then the work is sent to an arbitrator for review. The arbitrator will review the batch and each indexer’s work before making a final decision.
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Arbitrator Questions

  1. What is arbitration?
    All batches are indexed by two different indexers. Arbitration is the process of reviewing differences between how those two indexers interpreted the record.
  2. Can I become an arbitrator?
    Yes. The following are attributes of an arbitrator:
    • Pay attention to details.
    • Follow project instructions carefully.
    • Be familiar with basic indexing guidelines.
    • Be an experienced indexer of many projects.
    If you feel you have enough experience to be successful as an arbitrator, contact your group administrator or stake indexing director and let him or her know you are interested. You can find your administrator’s contact information in the Help menu under Contact Support in the Local Support list. If an administrator has not yet been assigned to your group, contact Worldwide Support.
  3. Where do I learn about arbitrating?
    As you become an experienced indexer, your group administrator can help train you and give you the role of an arbitrator. Review the arbitration tutorial, and review the arbitrator resources such as “ How do I become an arbitrator?” and “ Record Matching” in the Resource Guide.
  4. If both Key A and B are wrong, what should I do?
    Read the Field Help and Project Instructions to make sure that you understand what should be indexed in that field. If you know that both indexers did it incorrectly, as the arbitrator, you can decide to fix them both with what you know to be correct. Be very careful when choosing to do this to be sure that you are correct, since no one checks your work when you are done.
  5. How do I know when to fix all the problems I see in a batch or just send it back to be re-indexed?
    There are no set rules for when you should fix problems in a batch or send it back for re-indexing. The important thing to keep in mind is that you are an arbitrator, not an indexer. If it looks as though one indexer had problems indexing the batch and you are disregarding much of his or her information, you should send that batch to be re-indexed. At the same time, please be considerate; if you send a batch back, everything that the original indexer did is erased, and the batch does not go back to the original indexer to redo.

    For more information about when to send batches back for re-indexing, click here.
  6. Why do I lose all my arbitration work if I do not do record matching first?
    The purpose of record matching is to ensure that the correct indexed records are being compared. Records are typically not aligned when one of the indexers accidentally skips a record and the other doesn’t. This is usually obvious to the arbitrator when a large number of records of one of the indexers is seemingly incorrect. Consequently, record matching is the first step an arbitrator needs to do because it often corrects most of the mistakes. When this step is missed and record matching is done later, all of the arbitrator’s work on misaligned records becomes invalid, and the arbitrator must start over again.

    On the rare occasion that both indexers missed the same record on a batch, you can add a record to the batch and not lose your arbitration work.
  7. Does anyone check my arbitration work after I submit a batch?
    No. Arbitration is the final check for all of the indexing work.
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Group Administrator or Stake Indexing Director

  1. Who is my group administrator, and what does he or she do?
    Group administrators or stake indexing directors are local volunteers that have identical indexing responsibilities for the group they administer. Their contact information is found in your indexing program’s Help menu under Contact Support. They have five basic responsibilities:
    • Help people get the software installed, if needed.
    • Answer questions about the indexing projects.
    • Train those who need additional help in using the software.
    • Assign arbitrators.
    • Index batches from different projects to become familiar with them.
  2. How do I get started as a new stake indexing director or group administrator?
    There are different resources, depending on whether you are an indexing director working with a stake or a group administrator working with a historical society. Please review the following links for more information:
  3. Where can I get training materials to teach people in my group?
    The Tutorials on the website can be used for presentation in a classroom setting. You will find printable handouts as you go through the lessons. Additionally, there are many printable resources in the Resource Guide that can be used for training purposes. You are also welcome to create your own training materials as needed.
  4. What is a redo batch?
    A “redo” batch shows in reports when an indexer’s batch has been returned by an arbitrator for re-indexing. For example, if an indexer doesn’t notice a second page in his or her batch, and does not index it, the batch would be returned by the arbitrator for re-indexing because it was incomplete. This action deletes all work done on that batch and sends it out to a different person to index, and it would show in the original indexer’s report as a redo batch. When you notice an indexer frequently has redo batches, you may want to provide additional training.
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General Problems with the Program

  1. I received an error when getting into the program. How do I fix that?
    The program should automatically update when you sign in. If not, go to the Control Panel, select Add/Remove Programs, and delete any previous versions of the indexing program. Make sure all the desktop icons are deleted. Then return to http://indexing.familysearch.org, click Get Started, and then click Download Now. The current version of the program will be downloaded. If the error message persists, contact FamilySearch Support.
  2. I am trying to submit a batch, but the program won’t allow it. What do I do?
    A number of things could keep the program from submitting a batch. In order for a batch to submit, the following requirements must be met:
    • You must be connected to the Internet.
    • All required fields must have some information in them.
    • Generally, you must approve any entries made that are not shown in the lookup lists through the Quality Checker. However, at times some entries may be highlighted for quality check because they do not meet certain specifications. For example, a rule in the 1920 census project required typing a “y” after the age in years and an “m” after the age in months.
    For more detailed information about problems submitting batches, click here.
  3. I have forgotten my password. How can I find out what it is?
    On the screen where you sign in, there will be a Forgot Password? link. Click that link, and follow the prompts to reset your password. If you have any problems, please contact Support.
  4. I tried to retrieve my password, but I never received the e-mail that the system said it would send.
    Be sure to check in any junk mail folder to make sure that the e-mail didn’t go there. If you still don’t see it there, contact Support. Also, if your personal e-mail account has changed since registering, the system will not be able to send you the necessary instructions until you contact Support to update your account.
  5. If I can’t sign in with my user name, should I register for a new account?
    No, do not create a new account when you’ve forgotten your user name. Your account has certain information tied to it, such as your history, roles, and preferences that would be lost if you signed up for a new account. Additionally, if you are LDS, only one account can be linked to your LDS membership information. If clicking on the Forgot User Name? link does not help, please contact Support.
  6. I am on dial-up and have a hard time downloading the program on my computer every time there is an update. Is there an easier way?
    If you have a local administrator, he or she can create a CD copy of the program and bring it to you to install on your computer. To find out if you have a local administrator, go into the program, click Help, and then click Contact Support.
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