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The 2016 event!

The number stood at 166,275 as on just about 9 a.m. today.

WWIE-2016-FB-42That’s 166,275 people ready, willing and able to pitch in, starting tomorrow, to help with one of genealogy’s great crowdsourcing events: the indexing of records through FamilySearch.

It’s the 2016 Worldwide Indexing Event. — it won’t event begin until tomorrow — and it’s already a success beyond anyone’s plans or expectations.

The idea for 2016 was to round up 72,000 people willing to spend roughly an hour each to help index some of genealogy’s most valuable historical records. Over a 72-hour period, from July 15 through July 17, the goal was to index as many records as possible.

With more than twice that number already signed up, and more to come (you are planning on signing up, right?), we should be able to index record numbers of important documents in this year’s event!

So… why is this important and why should we — you and I — help out?

The problem is that only indexed records are easy to access. If we don’t know where our John Jingleheimer was living in a particular time period, or we don’t know when or where John died, how do we find him — how do we find his naturalization file or his death record? It’s so much easier to get the important information about an ancestor when we can search by name, and particularly when we can search across geographical areas.

But when records aren’t indexed, that kind of searching isn’t possible. The only way to track that elusive ancestor is to go page by page through records that maybe do and maybe don’t have anything at all about our target guy.

And the simple fact is that records are being microfilmed and digitized faster than they can be indexed. Even to have a hope of getting the most significant records indexed, we’re all going to have to pitch in. If I help index records important to you and you help index records important to me, and we all help index records important to each of us, we can get so much done to benefit everyone.

So… how do we help out?

Head over to the web page for the 2016 Worldwide Indexing Event. That’s where you can enter your email address as someone willing to help out, scroll down to download the indexing software and even learn more about how to index and what kinds of records you’ll be able to choose from to index.

That’s also the page where you can learn more about the event and about indexing in general — and as the event gets underway, you’ll be able to follow along with the numbers and see how it’s going.

This is something each of us can do, at home, in our bunny slippers, to help ourselves and to help the whole genealogivcal community.

Come on. Join me and thousands of our fellow genealogists, starting tomorrow, at the 2016 Worldwide Indexing Event.

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