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Monday, July 21, 2008

Into indexing

So, I've found a new hobby of sorts: indexing. Basically I look at scanned copies of documents and type in the data that is found there. Sounds really boring, right? Actually, it's quite addictive. Typing in this info makes it possible for people to search for these records in an online search instead of wading through the documents themselves. (Not only can that be time-consuming, but expensive! Each birth certificate, social security application, etc. costs around $30.) Anyway, this will make it easier for people to find and learn more about their ancestors -- where they were born, who their parents are, etc.

I've wanted to get into genealogy, but it has always seemed too complicated for my brain to do in 15-minute spurts. This is a chance for me to utilize those short periods of time I have and make myself useful.

Most of the documents are census records, but I've been focusing on Washington state death certificates. I love coming across people from nearby where I lived -- today I typed in some from Kent! Today I also typed up the death record for a Denise Brown. She was a baby who died.

I've only done about 600 records, but from those it seems it was a LOT more common for babies to die. It's heart-breaking to type in these parents names and know that they loved this baby who lived only a day or two. These records are from the 1950s-1960s, and I am amazed and grateful for the progress we've made in health. (I say we as if I had anything to do with it! :) For the most part, we don't have babies dying because they were born at 7 months gestation. We don't have kids 9 months old dying of pneumonia. It's given me a real feeling for these people, but it's also made me very grateful to live in the time we do. Yes, we have our own trials and struggles, but I'm glad that our babies have a much better chance to survive in our times.

Anyway, I'm enjoying doing something productive from the comfort of my own home. I look forward to the day you can find anyone's death record by doing a search online instead of paying $30 to order it yourself! Get indexing, everyone!!! (BTW, you can find out all the details and start doing it yourself at www.familysearchindexing.org.)

1 comment:

Melissa said...

Denise, I love doing this, too. My sister (Mary Ann) showed me the program about a year and a half ago. I agree - it definitely is addicting! I have been doing death certificates from Louisiana. I really think about the people, their parents, and their spouse, just like you mentioned.