If a family record can’t be discovered, searched, or shared, what value is it? How do we rescue our family records and transform them into a family archive that reaches beyond the walls of our own home and into the hearts of countless others?
Engaging our families through searchable archives is our primary mission at Kindex. Check out our five essential steps that add value to records and bring families one step closer to getting face-to-face with their own history.
1. Gather your records for scanning. Take an inventory of what you have, start with a small project (think shoebox-sized), and get scanning.
2. Add your digitized records to an online database. Google and Dropbox are great, but consider tools like Kindex that offer collaborative and indexing tools. After all, what good are digitized records if no one can access or search them?
3. Add metadata to your records. In Kindex, this can be done on-the-fly when uploading records in batch mode, making it quick and easy to get records searchable.
4. Transcribe your records. While you can do this in a word processing program, adding transcriptions in Kindex is easy and keeps the indexed data attached to the original record.
5. Add tags for names, dates, and places. (Note: our tagging tool is temporarily offline while we make some improvements.)
Are you ready to rescue your history?
Get started on Kindex today to take advantage of unlimited records and collaborative tools that will get your records out of the closet and into the hearts of your family everywhere.
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Kindex is excited to announce several updates to our archival web software that will make indexing your family records faster and easier.
1. View Record Progress at a Glance
See at a glance your record transcription status with our new “In Progress” label. Start a new transcription (click “Transcribe”), finish incomplete transcriptions (click “In Progress”), or read completed transcriptions (click records with a white checkmark).
2. Transcribe Records Back-to-Back
Get transcriptions done quickly and efficiently with our new “Save & Do Next” option. When you are done transcribing a record, click “Save & Do Next” and Kindex will automatically load the next record in the Collection for transcription.
Alternatively, you can click “Save & Read”, which opens a new page where you can review, edit, or tag your transcription.
3. Transcribe tables, forms, and other tabular text with new table tool
Our new table tool enables you to create tables in the transcription field to transcribe records that require some organization of text, such as official records, ledgers, or records with columns or tabulated text. With the table tool you can add a table, merge, edit rows and columns, add a table header, and customize vertical and horizontal text alignment.
Hint: If you are transcribing text from common record types that have repeated fields (i.e., postcards, marriage records, ledgers), create a table template that designates data fields. Then, copy and paste the table from your existing transcription window into the transcription of each new record so transcribers can input the text in the correct fields.
4. Download archive data as a CSV file
Our CSV archive download is a fantastic tool archive owners can use to access archive data, analyze archive status and needs, and backup archive data.
To download your archive as a CSV:
- Log in to your archive and go to Manage Archive (click the green cog in upper right corner ) and
- Select the Tools tab.
- Click “Download Archive as CSV”)
Open your downloaded CSV file to your archive data. Includes Archive Name, Archive Subdomain, File Name, Collection, Title, Person, Description, Keywords, Provenance, Date, Place, Contributor, Transcription, and Tags.
We hope you find these tools helpful when transcribing your family or historical society records! Is there a feature you would like to see? Contact us and tell us about it.
It’s time to be the record rescuer your family needs. Start or upgrade your family archive on Kindex.org today.
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Every family has at least one. No, not the crazy uncle. We’re talking about the record-keepers. You know, the ones that ended up with all the stuff: the family bible, the old photos, the diaries and letters. Some people spend a lifetime gathering records, hoarding photos, and hunting down lost items. Others come upon records by accident or inheritance. If you’re a record keeper, chances are you’ve thought a lot about what to do with your family records. You may not know it, but you’re an archivist.
What’s in Your Closet?
Like professional archivists, your goal is to collect, preserve, and share things—in your case, family records. Among the challenges professional archivists face when building a digital repository is making their collections discoverable, accessible, and searchable to their patrons. Family archives share these same challenges. For record-keepers of family photos, journals, letters, and other precious memorabilia, we should think like an archivist and ask ourselves the following three questions about our family records.
1. Are they discoverable?
Do your relatives and researchers know your family records exist? If not, how would they discover them? If your records are not “born digital” and are still in their original state as paper letters, journals, and other documents, it’s nearly impossible for others to discover your records. If your records are digitized, where are they stored? For example, the storage options below have varying levels of discoverability.
- Cloud storage, like Google Drive, One Drive, Dropbox
- Physical storage, like computers, external hard drives, USB, CDs, etc.
- Online family tree databases, like FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and Ancestry
- Historical or genealogical archives
While some may think “I don’t want my records to be discovered,” remember that discoverability does not preclude archive owners from establishing rules of access and usage. For example, record owners may wish to be selective with record sharing, charge for record access, or enable rules and limitations on the use of the record. No matter what rules we have in place, discoverability remains the fundamental first step in creating a family archive. Without it, our records are lost to the world.
2. Are they accessible?
Once records are discovered, can relatives and researchers access them? There are many instances where records may be discoverable, but not accessible. For example:
- You discover records online, but they are in a private family tree you can’t gain access to
- You discover that a record in an archive, but it can only be accessed by visiting the archive
- You discover a record in an archive, but learn that access is limited to certain people
- Everyone knows Aunt Sue has the family Bible, but she won’t show it to anyone
- Your relative has the family photo collection on his external hard drive, but you can’t get a copy
As a record-keeper and family archivist, an important role is to enable accessibility to family records. If you don’t do it, who will?
3. Are they searchable?
Are your family records currently searchable? How easily are they sorted, searched, and read? What elements of your records are searchable (file names, titles, descriptions, etc.)? How does your software, cloud storage, or family tree database facilitate searchability? As a companion question, can your records (and all of their associated data) connect with other databases, family trees, and archives? Furthermore, can your record data be downloaded, manipulated, and applied in other ways, like timelines, maps, and books? When choosing where to place your family records, remember that full searchability is key to an archive that is engaging, connectable, and readable.
A Kindex Solution
These are the kinds of questions we think about every day. We help family archivists rescue their records, bring them out of obscurity, and create archives that can be discovered, accessed and shared. With Kindex you can:
- Enable your archive to be discovered by potential collaborators and contributors
- Access your archive from any computer, anywhere.
- Unite scattered family records, make hard-to-find collections accessible to your members, and create public or private networks to collaborate on your archive
- Create searchable record data in three ways (metadata, full text transcription, and tags)
- Download your archive data (as CSV) any time.
In addition, we have some amazing features presently in development that will help your archive to connect and be shared with other people in various formats.
SAY NO MORE. LET’S DO THIS!
Still undecided? Here are some bonus questions:
Where is your Archive?
||On your computer
||In a digital family tree
|Do I control my archive access, scope, and content?
||Varies (private vs. wiki-based)
|Is my archive discoverable online?
||Varies (private vs. wiki-based)
|Is my archive accessible from any computer?
|Can others collaborate on my archive
||No or very limited
|Can my archive be private?
||Yes; Choose your privacy level
|Is my archive fully searchable?
|Can I add metadata?
|Can I add metadata in batch form?
|Does my archive have integrated transcription & record tagging tools?
||Varies; often separate from primary source
||Rare; Varies by platform
||Rare; Varies by platform
|Can I download all my archive data?
|Is my archive compatible with other databases?
||FamilySearch (others forthcoming)
*some metadata searchability in development
Archive Your Life on Kindex
Don’t you think it’s time you started thinking like an archivist? Kindex is free to try, so head over to Kindex.org and get started. Click “Try it Out” to start your free archive up to 50 records. Upgrade to unlimited records (and unlimited collaborators!) for about $12/month.
TRY IT OUT!
If a photo is a window into a family’s life, then a letter is the door. This 1904 portrait of the Emma Woolley and Charles Rich Clark family is beautiful, but offers few clues about the challenges, personalities and relationships between these family members.
Today, we transcribed a letter written by Emma Woolley to her husband Charles Rich Clark while he was away serving a church mission in 1892. In this letter we learn that Emma had a migraine, and that the oldest child, Marion, was the serious one who concerned himself with his mother’s help and offered a little prayer on her behalf. We learn that Vernon, the next oldest, was the silly one and said funny things that made his mother and neighbors laugh. We learned how devoted Emma is as a wife, managing the family accounts, nurturing sick children, doing laundry, and settling debts. She closes the letter saying,
“I guess this is not what would be called a love letter but it is written in love all the same, and I am proud of the man I love, and hope to keep ever fresh and alive that affection that exists between us”
To read the full transcription, go to the Ezra T. Clark Family Archive.
Make insights like this possible with your own family records and start your own family archive.
You don’t need to have a stack of old family records to need a Kindex archive. Just today I was staring at a pile of my daughter’s artwork from school and thought, “I’m archiving this on Kindex!”
We started with a set of pictures my daughter drew for a book. First, we created a free, private archive on Kindex.org in her name. Then, we scanned the pictures and added them to her very first Collection: Charlotte’s Book.
We opened each drawing and she told me a little about each one. As she talked, I typed in a description (she’s six, so not quite skilled enough on the keyboard). She loved telling me about each drawing!
3. Search & Share
Because of Kindex’s built-in transcription and metadata tools, finding each record will be so easy. No longer will we be searching through endless piles of art projects; we can simply search Kindex and it will be there.
Every Kindex archive has a “Share” page where you can share your archive with someone new. She is so thrilled with the idea that she can have her own archive! In fact, by the time I finished this post, she drew another picture for me to “Kindex”:
Getting to this point took about 15 minutes, start to finish, I’m so excited scan the rest of her artwork. It will sure help us simplify, get rid of clutter, and feel better about discarding many of the papers she has accumulated.
My next project is to help my older children scan the all the school projects and papers they have saved for the past 18 years. I can be hard to throw away that book report you spent so much time on, but knowing it will be archived and searchable on Kindex certainly helps all of us feel better about getting rid of a few things.
AW, SO CUTE! CREATE MY ARCHIVE
Expanding the Idea
Now that you’ve seen how easy it is to create a Kindex archive, what will you put in your archive? Here are some ideas to get you thinking:
- Create a living family archive with collections for each child. Scan & preserve school papers, awards, art, report cards, letters, and other special documents.
- Create an online cookbook and collaborate with family members near and far.
- Scan, save, and organize receipts, bills, and other important papers for your home or business.
- Scan your family trust papers on a private archive and invite board members to the archive.
- Start your own personal archive and add special records like letters, diaries, and photos.
- Use Kindex for research projects. Organize, transcribe, and search primary sources in a private archive and invite other researchers to collaborate.
- Use Kindex to teach your students about historical records. Invite each student to transcribe a record and share what they learned.
- Start a private collaborative archive for your genealogy or historical society and add the Kindex CSV data download to your database.
- Set up a public transcription project for your private collection.
- Create archives for families who donate collections to your society. This allows them to have access to their records and collaborate in transcribing records.
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But why would I choose Kindex over other media storage options like Google Photos, Dropbox, and similar products? Ask yourself the following:
- Does it offer unlimited records?
Kindex’s current special offers unlimited records for about $8/month*
- Does it have built-in tools for metadata, transcriptions, and tags?
Kindex is a rare web software tools that offers all these features.
- Can I assign metadata to multiple records at a time?
Kindex allows batch record uploads and metadata editing.
- Can I choose between a private and public archive?
Kindex offers the option of private or public archive*
- Is it collaborative?
Kindex allows you to invite unlimited people to add, transcribe, search, and share records in your archive*
- Can I download all my archive data at any time?
Kindex allows archive owners to download all archive data as a CSV file.
- Is it fully searchable?
Kindex allows full searchability on titles, descriptions, transcriptions and other metadata.
*upgraded archives only
Archive Your Life on Kindex
Now that we’ve got you thinking, it’s time to head over to Kindex.org and get started. If you already have a free Kindex archive, now is the time to upgrade for only $99.
LET’S DO THIS!
Have you planned your family reunion yet? If you’ve ever attended a reunion, you know how much work goes into publicity, venues, games, t-shirts, and of course, food. In all this planning, it’s easy to lose sight of one key event you should implement at your next reunion: a “Record Rescue”. A Kindex Record Rescue is an all-inclusive way for families to gather, preserve, and share their family records.
It begins with inviting Kindex to your next family gathering to scan your records, and ultimately ends with family records united on a searchable, shareable family archive. The end product is a Kindex family archive where family members can gather, index, and search every word of records once hidden in closets and on shelves.
Learn more: A Sampson Family Record Rescue
Whether your small, grandparent family organization (GFO) or a large ancestral family organization (AFO), ask yourself the following questions :
- Do you know where all your family records are?
- Are all your family records scanned?
- Do you have a long-term plan for protecting and preserving your family’s physical records?
- Does your family have a way for all its members to access to their records?
- Are your family records indexed and searchable?
- Do you know exactly what will happen to your family records when you pass away?
If you answered “no” to any of those questions, it’s time for a Record Rescue. Family reunions provide a rare opportunity for families to gather and scan family records, as well as discuss how they can ensure their records will be preserved and accessible. Families can:
- Unite far-flung records by inviting family members to bring their photos, letters, and journals
- Discover and view precious family records for the first time
- Inventory family records including ownership, record types, and provenance.
- Learn how to handle, organize, scan, and index their records
Kindex is passionate about family records, and we want to help you rescue the most at-risk, precious source of your family’s history: your own family records. Contact us to learn more and reserve your family reunion date.
Learn how Kindex helped the Sampson Family Organization rescue their family reunions.
START MY RECORD RESCUE