FamilySearch Users Can Correct Name Indexing Errors

FamilySearch will now enable users to make name corrections to its indexes. FamilySearch explained that corrections made by users increase the likelihood of success for researchers to find the records of their ancestors.

FamilySearch allows volunteers to do indexing of records in order to make those records searchable online. It appears that most of the time the indexing is done correctly. Sometimes, humans make mistakes, despite their best efforts to be accurate.

According to FamilySearch, there are several reasons why there can be incorrect entries of indexed names. It can happen because the source had difficult-to-read handwriting. The ink on the source may have faded. The original document may have been damaged.

It is also possible that there were errors in the original documents. This can be due to uncommon names that were unintentionally misspelled. Or, a common name may have had an unexpected spelling – but was recorded with the typical spelling. Mistakes can also happen when there is a language barrier.

People can now correct the spelling on the index and leave a brief explanation. Corrections will appear along with the original index entries – making both searchable online. Only indexes referring to images can be corrected, meaning that not all index entries are editable. A user can check the image and compare it to the index entry. An icon of a page and a camera at the side of the index entry indicate that an image is available.

FamilySearch product manager John Alexander reported that users will soon have the ability to correct additional types of indexing errors besides names.

To edit an index entry on FamilySearch, start by searching for an ancestor on the site. A box will pop up with the indexed information on the left and a clickable image on the right. If the index is editable, the word “Edit” will appear to the right of the name. There is a space included for other comments or explanations.

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