Utahns help make history with ‘World’s largest indexing event’

Posted at 6:35 PM, Jul 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-15 20:35:28-04

SALT LAKE CITY – Utahns are trying to help set a record that would make millions of historical records available to the public.

It’s called the “World’s Largest Indexing Event.”

Family Search helps people from all over the world reconnect with their family history. All of that work is made possible by their army of volunteers.

The genealogy website is trying to make history. They’re calling on 72,000 volunteers all over the world to help them index important public documents over the next 72 hours.

“There are millions of images of these records,” said Collin White, Worldwide Indexing Event Marketing Manager.

Volunteers get batches of online public records such as censuses and adoptions. They type them up and submit the data. That way, when someone searches for a record of their family member, they’ll find it.

You could call it paying it forward so people can trace their ancestors.

“It’s a really nice benefit because all of these records that are available on Family Search are free for users to find and look and reconnect back to their family,” White said.

Fox 13 News' Tamara Vaifanua logged onto to see what records she could find on her father. Thanks to an indexer, she was able to access her father’s obituary.

Abigail Both is a self-proclaimed index addict at the age of 15.

“It’s pretty simple," Both said. "Once you do it, you can’t stop.”

She says indexing old documents has been eye-opening, especially trying to decipher cursive.

“How is that an A and that’s an A too? It’s interesting to see the different ways that people write,” Both jokes.

White says anyone with a computer and some spare time can index. Their efforts help facilitate the growing need for people to learn more about their history.

“People all over the world are mobile," White said. "They’re less connected to where they grew up, where their parents grew up. There’s a greater interest to find who they are as people, their heritages, they want to know where they belong in this ever-changing world. And family history does that.”

If you would like to join the World’s Largest Indexing Event, click here.