Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Family History, I am doing it, My Family History...

So, for those of you that pay attention, you've noticed that I do a lot of indexing.  No...not the kind at the library.  Well, kind of like that.  Some of you have had questions...hopefully I can answer them.
First of all, What is indexing?
Well, basically, someone has scanned archaic paperwork into a database.  The information on that paperwork-passenger lists, death certificates, christening records, census forms- needs transferred to a digital database.  So, I transfer that information from one place to another.  I like to think of myself as an ancestry taxi cab.  I take people where they need to be.  This information is used to piece together family history, you know..where YOU came from, how your family got here, who else you're related to, etc.  It's not only interesting, but essential to knowing who you are.
Secondly, Why are you indexing?
Well, first, I'm a nerd.  I LOVE family history.  I love all the details! And in order for me to know those details, someone had to do some research and some work and some indexing.  I want to repay their hard work...or at least, pay it forward. (which, coincidentally, is a great movie that you should watch)
Second, I am LDS. (Or, a Mormon, if you'd like).  We very much value our family history.  Why?  Because we know that families are eternal, meaning that after death, we will still have our loved ones with us.  Isn't that great?!?  However, in order for this to happen, there are certain ordinances that we believe need to take place.  In order to put those ordinances into effect, so that my family can be linked forever, I have to have a lot of information.  My family is important to me.  I want them forever.  I don't believe that a loving God would put them in our lives, just to have them be gone when I die.  If you would like to know more about these ordinances and ideals, find the LDS missionaries.  They can help.  Or ask me and I can direct missionaries to you, happily!
Third, I am an obedient member of the LDS church.  Recently, our Stake President (who is a local religious leader...not the man in charge of tasty meat) challenged each of us to index a thousand names.  That's really what lit the fire under me.  If he thinks it's important, it must be.  He is a man of God and I will follow where he leads.
Fourth, I've noticed a change in my life since I started.  Because I am being obedient and because I know that I am doing what my Heavenly Father needs me to do, I feel more blessed, I feel more faithful.  I feel like I am making a difference.  When I first started this project, I was doing it because I am obedient.  Then I indexed some birth records and some death records and a light flickered on in my soul.  These aren't just names.  They are people.  They are people who lived and who died. They are people with a story.  They are people with a family, perhaps a family that is trying to complete their family tree and missing that one person. They are children of God.
The death records were difficult...and enlightening.  They were from the 1930's and from the south.  The thing that bothered me the most was that there was so much difference in the records of the white people and the "colored" people.  It brought me to tears.  Some of these people suffered such tragedies- for instance, one man lost his wife in child birth and 12 or so records later, lost the baby that his dear wife has died for.  Another was an adopted boy who was riding on a wagon and fell.  There were car accidents, illnesses, etc.  And it made me very much ponder my existence.  What am I doing with my life?  What will people remember?  Will I make a difference?  And, if I'm not currently doing things right, I need to change them.  Immediately.
I love Family History.  A lot.  And I think you will too, if you just try it.
Here are some links to get you started...
Go.  Find your story.
It's worth it.

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