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Friday, April 27, 2012

Report on the FamilySearch 1940 U.S. Census Indexing Program

The latest release from the FamilySearch 1940 U.S. Census Indexing program gives the following statistics:
We’re halfway into our fourth week of indexing the 1940 U.S. census, and we’re making excellent progress. As of April 24, we have the following statistics to report:
  • So far, 18.9 percent of the entire project has been completely indexed.
  • We have 83,795 indexers and arbitrators working to index and arbitrate the census records.
  • Five new states have been indexed and are being processed in preparation for posting on FamilySearch.org. They include: Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Utah.
  • The Delaware index has been posted on FamilySearch.org and is available for searching.
  • An additional eight states are 90 percent or more indexed. They include Alaska (98 percent), Arizona (95 percent), Florida (93 percent), Idaho (99 percent), Nevada (99 percent), Vermont (92 percent), Virginia (99 percent), and Wyoming (98 percent). To see the status of each state, visit the FamilySearch.org/1940census page.
  • A total of more than 26 million records for the project have been indexed and arbitrated to date.
There seems to be a major, although temporary, roadblock in the indexing due to a lack of qualified arbitrators. The news releases go on to say:
After the indexers are done indexing a state’s census records, the indexing records still need to be arbitrated. Each census record is indexed by two different people and a comparison is made of the information. If a record is indexed exactly the same by both indexers, the record is ready for the final steps of processing. However, if the two indexers indexed a piece of information differently, then a person called an arbitrator looks at the record and decides which information is correct. This arbitration process ensures that the end product (the index) is as accurate as possible.
Unfortunately, we don’t have nearly enough arbitrators. We currently have a backlog of over 3 million images that need to be arbitrated. That’s 3 million census images and their respective indexes that can’t be published on FamilySearch.org because they haven’t made it through arbitration. It’s just a matter of having enough volunteers to serve as arbitrators. (Visit the FamilySearch Blog to read several excellent blog posts about arbitrating records.)
If you have been involved in Indexing and have the number of edits necessary, please consider being an arbitrator.


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