Why are we indexing documents that are already indexed on Ancestry?
I am currently indexing naturalization documents on Family Search. I will frequently google the name I am working on to try to get clarification from other online sources. Often my search results in finding the same exact document on Ancestry or another Family History site, already indexed. I'm indexing something that has been indexed on another platform - duplicated efforts. Seems like indexing efforts could be coordinated with other family history organizations - especially partners with Family search. Is family search not aware of what other organizations have indexed? Does it have something to do with copy rights?
Can anyone shed any light on this topic?
I have only been indexing since 2014. Just to clarify my post, the policy since I started was that we can look at other sites to verify information, but not to include the information in the index we are creating. (Don't copy, don't add information from the other site, type what you see). I think that FS does divulge in the Wiki articles when other datasets are available with the use of dollar sign.
FamilySearch does have partnerships with Ancestry, Find My Past, My Heritage, American Ancestors, Filae, Geneanet to share technology and data sets. This probably helped to accomplish one goal and now FS has information online for 11.5 billion individuals:
9/6/2013: FamilySearch and Ancestry.com recently announced a joint agreement to begin a 5-year effort to digitize and index more than 1 billion records from around the world. https://www.familysearch.org/help/helpcenter/article/why-does-familysearch-partner-with-other-organizations
9/21/21: Family Search Completes Digitization of Massive Microfilm Collection: https://media.familysearch.org/familysearch-completes-digitization-of-massive-microfilm-collection/?fbclid=IwAR1Le-MQzgJiyv2_LlDaS0BDbiUt3oMrFr3-FVGmCWzXH-K7DIE0fduJqhM
As was said when the partnerships were created, although I must paraphrase as I have forgotten the exact words, what is freely received will be freely shared (indexes). What they can't share is free access to images for non-subscribers of the partners. But, non-subscribers can pay for a subscription, use a public library computer and account, or visit an FHC to see the images. This is a very costly project, and without the Church and paid subscribers to the partners, it could never happen. However, is it possible that without the duplication of indexes by volunteers, people couldn't freely find their ancestors and the FamilySearch Tree could not be nourished by everyone? https://www.familysearch.org/blog/en/familysearch-ancestry-partnership-frequently-asked-questions/1
I just discovered a Middlesex batch I started reviewing is already in the Family Search results.
Image# 198 Film# 008092469
Do I now need to check the batch, before I waste my time?0
I’m curious to hear from someone truly knowledgeable on these issues. But one apparent reason why Family Search might contract to index documents already done by other genealogy sites is that they want to provide free (vs paid) access to the results. Also, I believe that sometimes documents are re-indexed, even by FS, to capture more Fields.4
I think John is right about reindexing to capture more fields. We recently re-indexed WWII draft regs to capture the next of kin and some other information that wasn't indexed by whomever did it the first time. These datasets are being shared all of the time. You'll find groups of people indexing on USGenweb, but, that won't be shared with FamilySearch or vice-versa.
I know for certain that if you are reviewing, you should check every single field and make sure they are correct. All indexers don't see the same words, especially in difficult projects like the Middlesex parish records. If that isn't an appealing use of time, then you should Return the batch for another reviewer to review and find a different project. Also indexers should not be copying information from existing indexes. We can use a search to verify what we think we are seeing, but, we shouldn't rely on someone else's judgement - especially on this old 1600's cursive.2
When I find that a batch has already been indexed on another site I do not just copy the results into family search. I use the other site as an assist. I will do a google search to help me figure out the names of cities, counties or other geographical places.
Sometimes when I find the same document already indexed on another site I disagree with the conclusion from the other site and enter what I think is correct.
And contrary to what John suggests, sometimes I see fewer fields in the document in the FamilySearch project than I see in similar projects on other sites. It goes both ways - sometimes more fields, sometimes less.
I'm just curious if there is any attempt to coordinate across companies or is one company after the other is granted access to take their turn at indexing a set of records?0
Like Steve, I go by our age old motto "Type what you see." Saves me sleepless nights 😊1
We index projects because we have been asked to by the owners of the projects. Their reasons may vary as to why they want it done again. One thing important is we do not use the work of other sites for our indexing. We contract to do the work not use other's work.
We appreciate your diligence in indexing these records!3
Hi Steve. I meant to say that sometimes even Family Search indexes the same images more than once, apparently to capture more Fields the second time. Melissa gave an example of such a case in her comment. I wasn't comparing FS's work to other sites.0
A van Helsdingen ✭✭✭✭✭
Several years FS said it was alright (and even encouraged) to look at how other websites had indexed the same name. For example when doing birth records sometimes I'd look at how the parents' names had been indexed on their marriage certificate. I strongly disagree with their new policy, though I understand that for the commercial websites like Ancestry.com their are probably legal issues that arise if their indexes are used by FS Indexers.
It is also my personal view that duplicate index is a huge waste of everyone's time. For example FS is currently indexing Irish Catholic records. But both Ancestry.com and FMP have already indexed these records. It is dishonest in my opinion that FS doesn't tell indexers of those projects that indexes already exist. I acknowledge that many FS users won't subscribe to either site, but those sites are available at FHCs. Indexers could be indexing new records never published before, if only FS had negotiated a deal with either Ancestry or FMP. Wasn't the whole point of the partnerships was that different genealogical organisations would share indexes and images to avoid duplication?0