Indexing is strangely soothing

My great-grandmother, Heba Hortineese Ransom (1889-1970).

My great-grandmother, Heba Hortineese Ransom (1889-1970).

Looking for something constructive to do with your big kids? Try indexing . . .

Except for a family history class I took at BYU many, MANY years ago, I haven't really engaged myself with family history. I mean, I'm super interested in learning about my ancestors, but I'm also fairly lazy and allergic to microfilm and tedious searching. But hello? The Internet is changing all of that. You can search your family history in your PJs, which is right up my alley. 

Just the other day, while pajama-clad, I found my great grandfather's draft card. He lived in Waco, Texas at the time of filing. And guess what? I've lived in Waco, Texas!!! And I didn't even know that was the land of my ancestors. I just stumbled about, feeling no familial connection whatsoever. So silly.

I wouldn't exactly say I have the family history "bug," but I do want to introduce my kids to the available technology. Their lines are researched back pretty far, so I figured indexing is a good place for them to start. Indexing involves taking digitally scanned records and entering them into searchable fields. Last week the kids and I entered a whole slew of death records recorded in the state of Virginia in 1945. As we went through each record we learned the name, age, parents' names and ages, and cause of death for about 60 individuals. It was all fascinating, and now those people's records are easily accessible. Indexing is a little bit of service and a fine history lesson to boot. Also, it's strangely soothing. I just wanted to do one more batch. Then another. And another. Someone else figure out dinner. Come on people!

Literally, you need about 15 minutes to learn how to index and download the software, and then you are off and working. If you are interested, you can start here. Becca (17) took off rather quickly, but Sterling sat with Parker (13) to make sure he got the hang of things. You earn points for each batch you complete. You can't exactly do anything with the points, but I like turning anything and everything into a competition . . . so I'll be issuing a challenge to my folks in the next few days. Bring it on.

Also of note: BYU has this cool relative finder that shows if you are related to famous people. For instance, I'm 13th cousins with Franklin D. Roosevelt. Shouldn't I get like preferential parking or something?