FamilySearch’s indexing system is now available in the Spanish language, giving Spanish speakers easier access to an enormous collection of family history resources. Familysearch, a nonprofit organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, contains the world’s largest repository of genealogical records.
For longtime family history buffs, making the indexing process accessible in Spanish will make family history work much faster. “Using the previous method of microfilm searches, it was always hit and miss,” says veteran genealogist Ana Mantalvo of Ventura, California.
“You had to guess if your information may be included in a certain period, order the film, wait for it to be delivered and then hope the film was useful. Now you know exactly what information you are receiving with your request,” she added.
The indexing system also gives volunteers who speak Spanish the opportunity to add indexing information to Church files via the Internet, a move that Mantalvo is applauding.
“It’s so important for natives to be able to get involved in their family history research,” the former Bolivian resident said. “Think of how much bigger an army we can have when we recruit volunteers directly from a Spanish-speaking country. And think of how much more accurate and efficient they would be in processing the Spanish records when they are familiar with the context of the Spanish language.”
Even a novice genealogist can register at familysearch.org and, after completing a simple tutorial, participate in the indexing process.
Designed for ease and efficiency, the indexing software allows indexing to be processed on a personal computer at home or any other location. Indexing projects are downloaded on the computer, and the significant data is entered in a tabbed format. And because all of the information and instructions are now in Spanish, users are not required to speak English.
Numerous Spanish projects, including the 1930 Mexican Census, the 1869 Argentina Census and some church records from Spain and Venezuela, are currently available for online indexing.
According to Paul Nauta, manager of public affairs for FamilySearch, the time commitment to work on indexing is not significant. “A seasoned indexer could complete a census page in about 15 minutes, while a newcomer may take twice that long,” Nauta explained. “Volunteers may also work in short segments, saving their work online as they go. If they are unable to finish, the work is automatically assigned to another indexer, so not even 10 minutes of work would be wasted. We’ll take any and every effort,” he concluded.
Information, too, is much easier to share with computer access. “Technology makes all the difference,” Mantalvo says. “It unites people worldwide. It is such a privilege to be involved in something so great and with so much potential to reach out to people, people wherever they are.”