We want to rescue family records. 10 ways Kindex can help.

We want to rescue family records. 10 ways Kindex can help.

Do you wish there was a better way to archive and search your family’s letters, journals, and photos? Are you still using a combination of spreadsheets, PDFs, and word processing tools to transcribe your family history records? For Archive Awareness Week, we are reprising our top ten reasons why we love Kindex.

  1. We’ve got SaaS. Kindex is web software containing tools to help you archive and index, and search your digital records. There is no software to install, just go to kindex.org and create an account. kindex-index
  2. We ❤ hoarders. We all know the feeling. Someone in your family wants to borrow the priceless family record you’ve kept in your home for years? Hard pass. Rather than wait until they pry it from your cold, dead hands, why not digitize those records and put them on Kindex? You can make your archive public or private, and invite others to view and index. So, whether your a record-keeper, a record-hoarder, or you’re a downright record-hider, Kindex helps you share your precious family records without the risk of your great-nephew spilling his Starbucks on your grandfather’s journal.  And, you can learn what’s been hiding in Aunt Sue’s closet all these years (well, besides those bell-bottoms).
  3. We have layers. With Kindex you can add layers of searchable data to  your records. We move beyond titles and descriptions to include valuable data points such as record provenance, transcription, keywords, date, place, and addtional tags.tagging-testing
  4. Share the love. Are you the family historian that gets stuck with all the work? Not anymore. Create a Kindex Family archive and share your records (and the indexing work) with anyone. Get your family and friends involved, and they might learn why you’re so crazy about your ancestors. Or just why you’re crazy.  Still, they may be inspired to add a few records of their own to share with you, so it’s a win-win.kindex-share
  5. Thanks for the Memories. Kindex is integrated with FamilySearch, which means you can import the Memories you’ve added to FamilySearch into Kindex and make them searchable with our indexing tools. In the coming weeks we’ll also have the ability to share Kindex records back to FamilySearch. That means all the people you tagged with FamilySearch IDs in your record transcriptions? They’ll get shared with those people on FamilySearch.
  6. Be a rescuer. Having a well-preserved letter, journal, or diary of an ancestor is at the top of many people’s wish list. Kindex offers families the ability to grant this wish by helping gather, index, and share records that would otherwise be lost, damaged, or thrown away. Rescue your family records on Kindex—your descendants will thank you.emc-ds-1932-05-04-1
  7. Search your way. Tired of searching huge genealogy databases and getting too many (or not enough) results? With Kindex you can create personal or family archives containing just the records you want, so you get the search results you want.kindex-search
  8. Like, settle down with the family history. We get it. You would rather research Alexander Hamilton, or bugs, or Roald Dahl? You can use Kindex to archive, index, and research any topic. Put your documents on Kindex, and start indexing. Just make sure you’re the record holder, or you have permission to upload and index that record.
  9. You’re special, but not special enough to have your own indexing software. Some archives are lucky — they have their own custom indexing software. But if you’re not the Smithsonian or National Archives, it doesn’t mean  you’re stuck doing the old Spreadsheet/Microsoft Word/PDF tango. Are you an archivist, historian, researcher, or librarian who needs a custom solution for indexing a collection? Kindex Projects, due to be released in Spring 2017, will support records that require custom indexing fields, multiple download formats, and privacy options.
  10. Kids these days. It’s been said that kids nowadays don’t read—they search. By offering a searchable database of family records, Kindex provides a familiar and fun gateway for people to enter and learn quickly about their ancestor. Then, after they read an indexed record, they may be inspired to jump in and index one themselves. The feeling you get when you read and transcribe a record your ancestor kept is one we hope everyone feels—especially our kids.kindex-family-page-1

Kindex Archival Services

Kindex Archival Services

Do you have boxes of papers, letters, and journals and don’t know where to start? Do you want to index (transcribe and tag) your family records but the process of scanning everything seems overwhelming? Kindex offers many services that help families organize, digitize and archive their family records.


Gather What is Scattered

Gather What is Scattered

When Kimball and I founded Kindex, one of the first goals we established is to “Gather What is Scattered”—a goal that would rescue and unify the family records that are found in almost every home. Accumulating, organizing, and digitizing family records is the first—and often the most challenging—step families face. And the larger the family association, the more complex this “gather” step can be. For example, here are four types of family associations:[1]

  • Immediate families: individuals, couples, or family units consisting of a husband, wife, and children
  • Grandparent families: families including descendants of siblings
  • Ancestral Family Organizations (AFO’s): families that include all descendants of a common ancestral couple.
  • Surname-based Ancestral Societies: associations of ancestral families that share a common surname.

Once family organizations move beyond immediate families, they face significant challenges in knowing what family records exist and who has them. For example, when parents pass away, children may inherit various family heirlooms, including photos, journals, letters, and other artifacts. As these records are passed down, it becomes difficult not not only to track who has what records, but also ensure the records are being handled and stored properly. Sometimes, children who inherit or discover family records fail to understand their value, and records are lost, thrown away, or damaged. On the other hand, there may be family members who hoard family records, reluctant to share what they have. More often than not, historical records relevant family associations are in hidden in homes of their members.

There are many things family associations can do to combat these challenges, including:

  • Create a “call for records” by mail, email, or social media that invites family members to search for family records in their own homes. Define what records you are seeking and offer help to those needing support.
  • Create a database determining which family member holds what records.
  • Hold family “scanning parties” or have a “scanning room” at your next reunion.
  • Offer to help an elderly family member by organizing or scanning their records.
  • Enlist the help of professional scanning services, if needed. (See Kindex Gather Services.)
  • Establish a common digital archive where family members can contribute their records.


One example of a “Call for Records”

Because family associations of all sizes seek preserve and share their historical records, it is important that family members have access to a common repository where digitized records can be gathered. When a family association creates a Kindex webpage, (i.e., ezratclark.kindex.org), members of that family collaborate together to gather their digitized records into a single archive. More than just a online archive, Kindex provides the tools where families can index and search an ever-expanding family record database.

Kindex family pages offer several advantages over standard digital storage and family tree databases. When you create a Kindex Family page, you can:

  • Determine whether an archive is private or public
  • Create archives for both deceased and living individuals
  • Establish which ancestors/family members are included in your archive, thus creating a well-defined family identity as opposed to a more open-ended family tree database. This helps families gather, index, and search their database more effectively.

Currently Kindex is assisting several Ancestral Family Organizations with their “gather” efforts, including the Sampson Family Organization, the Ezra T. Clark Organization and Jesse N. Smith Heritage Foundation. We are also helping several grandparent organizations digitize and prepare their records for Kindex family pages.

From living individuals to large family organizations, Kindex is determined to help families gather the records that are scattered and lost to history. How will you help rescue your family’s history?

Note: Kindex software is currently in Beta, with Kindex Family pages becoming available in December 2016. We invite you to try it out at Kindex.org and click the “Log in with FamilySearch” button. Or, contact us at sales@kindex.org to learn more and to reserve your Kindex subdomain.

Related: What’s in Your Closet?  |  A Reunion of Records: Giving Family Reunions a Higher Purpose  |  Kindex Software Sneak Peek

1.FamilySearch Wiki, s.v. “Create and Maintain Family Associations and Organizations” (accessed October 4, 2016), https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Create_and_Maintain_Family_Associations_or_Organizations

Kindex Searchable Archives

A Reunion of Records: Giving Family Reunions a Higher Purpose

A Reunion of Records: Giving Family Reunions a Higher Purpose

From venues to menus, reunion planning involves numerous parts, including meals, activities, displays, entertainment, games, and publicity. While most family reunions include heritage-related displays and activities, we believe family reunions are a unique and ideal setting for accomplishing important family history goals, such as record gathering and digitization. 

Family records such as journals, photos, and letters are treasured items, but families often fail to gather, preserve, and share their records with one another. Inevitably, records are lost, damaged, or thrown out. Records that are digitized are often difficult to access, search through, and read.

Using reunions as a catalyst to gather and scan family records is a rare opportunity to address these concerns while accomplishing key family history goals. 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

Sampson Family Reunion

One family organization—the Sampsons of Delta, Utah—embraced the idea of record gathering and digitization. When reunion organizer Tonna Bounds first approached friend and Kindex owner Kimball Clark, she had a great vision of uniting her family records, but was concerned about the following obstacles:

  • How to encourage family members throughout the country to attend the reunion and bring their records
  • How to scan records correctly within a limited timeframe
  • How to discern which family members had what records
  • Convincing aging or skeptical family members to preserve and share their records
  • Involve children and youth in family record archiving

With her family’s biannual reunion several months away, we suggested she use Kindex Gather Services to hold an on-site digitization event—a “family scanning party”.


Several weeks before the reunion, we sent the family a “Call for Records” publicity image to promote the digitization event. The family posted this image on social media and emailed this image to family, and provided guidelines on record gathering including:

  1. A list of family members in attendance, and who of those brought records
  2. How record scanning would be prioritized. For example, the Sampson family focused on letters, journals, and papers more than photos. They also gave higher priority to records coming in from out-of-town attendees, and those records belonging to first-generation family members.)
  3. Acceptable record sizes, and what types of scanners would be available to accommodate those sizes
  4. Suggestions on preparing items for scanning, including the removal of loose papers, staples, paper clips, sheet protectors, etc.



When family members with records arrived at the reunion, we checked in their records and gathered the following information:

  • Record owner and contact information
  • Primary person to whom the records originally belonged
  • Inventory of items to be scanned

As more documents arrived throughout the day, we were impressed with the family’s response to the Call for Records. Records were gathered  from New York, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah. Soon all our scanners were busy, and several family volunteers—including several youth—jumped in to help. Throughout the reunion, families entered the “record room” to check on the status of their scanning. They were delighted to see the process, and several volunteered their time to move the process along.


Mark Sampson, Kimball Clark, Dale Sampson, and Caleb Sampson busy scanning their family records. Caleb remarked, while scanning the journals of his ancestors: “This makes me want to go write in my journal when I get home.”


Ikara Bounds scans her family records while Kimball trains Caleb Sampson on book scanning


A Sampson family member pauses scanning to review an old school photo of an ancestor. 

Follow Up

At the end of the day, we returned the records to their owners, and made arrangements to scan any records that remained. Following the compilation of all digitized files to an external hard drive, Kindex will:

  • Orient and each scan
  • Save each  in the appropriate format and grouping.
  • Transfer the complete digitized archive to USB drives for family members to order
  • Upload all digitized records to sampson.kindex.org (forthcoming), which enables the family to access each record and begin the indexing process.

Because of the Sampson Family’s dedication to the preservation and and sharing of their family records, their scanning event was a great success. Family members couldn’t wait to access records they had never seen, and were already planning indexing and book projects. Several volunteers became emotional as they paused to read journal entries between scans, pored over old photos, and when a copy of the Delta High School fight song was discovered, played an impromptu version of on the piano. Others simply poked in their heads and exclaimed, “Wonderful! We can’t wait!”

After the reunion, we asked Tonna how she felt about the record-gathering effort. She said:

“How do you explain something that took place at our past reunion that is so futuristic in thought and action. People don’t understand the potential in all of this—jaw dropping in thought!! Just trying to wrap my brain around it all. Aunt Zelda and Uncle Ivo’s history has been destroyed and through all the ancestors’ history. Those lost histories can now be put back together with even more force then could be imagined.”


The Sampson Family prepares letters for scanning. 

We were honored to be a part of the Sampson Family’s effort to bring their family records out of obscurity, and hope to enable many more families see the the potential in utilizing family reunions for the gathering and preservation of their own family records. At your next family gathering, make it a reunion of records with Kindex Gather Services.

Unite what is scattered.
Reveal what is hidden
Find what is lost.


Kindex Gather Services

Kindex Gather Services

Do you have boxes of papers, letters, and journals and don’t know where to start? Do you want to index (transcribe and tag) your family records but the process of scanning everything seems overwhelming? Kindex offers many services that help families organize, digitize and archive their family records.

Gather Services

  • Record organization. Organize and prioritize your letters, journals, photos, and papers in preparation for scanning.
  • Scanning. Scan your letters, journals, diaries, papers, ephemera, photos, slides and negatives.
  • Audio & video digitization. Convert audio and video formats to digital.

Physical and Digital Record Preservation

  • Digital Family File Organization and backup. Organize and copy digitized records on solid state external drives and USB drives.
  • Online Storage and Collaboration. Move your family records to a Kindex Family page where digital records can be gathered, indexed, and shared with your family.
  • Physical Record Archival. Archive your letters, photos, journals, papers, ephemera, and other records in archive quality containers.

Family Record Gathering Events

  • Family Reunions
  • “Empty Nester” Nights
  • Custom on-site record scanning


Pricing is available at hourly or a-la-carte rates. Please call for a free quote or consultation.

Kimball Clark: 801-458-0282
Cathy Gilmore: 801-513-0585