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.,, 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 and click the “Log in with FamilySearch” button. Or, contact us at 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),

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 (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

Kindex Beta: What to Expect Now and in the Future

Update 22 February 2016:

At this stage our software has limited functionality, but we are still on schedule for a Beta test launch the beginning of March. Among other things, you will see more options for uploading records, increased functionality with the transcription and tagging tools, as well as more robust sharing features. If you are interested in beta testing, please contact us at sales @ kindex dot org.


Kindex Beta just became available on 3 February 2016 for any users to try it out. Here are some important FAQs that will provide our current status and future functionality.

How do I create an account?
For Beta, we are requiring a FamilySearch login. For most (but not all) account types, this will remain a requirement so Kindex and FamilySearch may support one another in indexing Memories and ensuring that there is little or no name duplication in the Kindex Archive. Indexing accounts that are custom or research-orientated will not necessarily require a FamilySearch login.

I pressed the “Try It Out” button and all I see are a bunch of random files.
The “Try it Out” feature is there to demonstrate the Memory import capability and is not associated with your user account.

Can I upload records directly to Kindex?
For this Beta release, records you wish to index must already be added to FamilySearch Memories. To bring those records into Kindex, add the FamilySearch person ID linked to those Memories under the Add person section on the left of the Gather Screen.

When can I add Kindex Records as FamilySearch Memories?
When direct Kindex record uploads become available, the ability to save these records as FamilySearch Memories will follow soon after.

My FamilySearch Memories are all in the same location.
We are currently trying to ensure that record types are placed in the appropriate category in the Gather screen. For example, Family Search Memories that are photos should go directly to the Kindex Photos area. Look for that functionality to improve.

Can I tag people, places and events?
Our tagging feature will become available in the coming days and weeks.

I have records that I want to index, but I don’t want them to be available to the public.
Kindex will offer two types of privacy tools. First, the document contributer designates a record public or private a the document upload. We will also have a redaction tool for certain words or pages you wish to remain private. For example, you may have a journal that contains sensitive information. You may make that journal private and redact the sensitive information during indexing. Then, if you wish you may change the privacy setting to public.

My indexing screen looks the same for photos, letters, or other document types.
In the coming days and weeks, we will add modals that will assign specific document types for Kindex records. These document types will determine what fields are available on the indexing screen.

When will Kindex Family accounts be available?
Subscription KindexFamily and MyFamily accounts will be ready in March. MyKindex accounts will be free during Kindex Beta.

I want to become a Kindex Beta tester. What do I do?
That’s fantastic! Following RootsTech 2016, we will contact all Beta Testers with instructions.

When will your Community Indexing page be available?
We love our volunteer indexers! Kindex will provide records to the indexing community that volunteers may index and review. Also, we are exploring “indexing credits” whereby community indexers may receive free or discounted Kindex subscriptions by indexing our public records.

How will I know Kindex will be around in five years? I don’t want to lose all my work.
Kindex is solidly supported, backed, and funded. We are also FamilySearch Certified. Part of this means that your source records will be saved and backed up to the FamilySearch Memory archive. You also own all of your indexed content that you will be able to download in various formats such as HTML, text, and print.

I’m a researcher, historian, business historian or museum owner. Can we use Kindex for non-family records?
Yes! Kindex is the idea tool for for transcribing and tagging any primary source documents or records in either a public or private archive.

Kindex Software Sneak Peek

Kindex Software Sneak Peek

Our team is working hard on our upcoming release of KindexBeta in mid-February. Many of you are just as excited as we are about this ground-breaking software that will change the way families archive their own documents like letters, journals, diaries, and other papers. Let’s take a look at our software’s three main steps: Gather, Index, and Share.

The top area of the screen contains your unique cover image, along with the Add a Record and Search tools. The Search tool enables users to search all or part of your family archive, as well as the entire public Kindex archive. The Add a Record tool adds documents, photos, and audio/video to your family archive. When uploading records, users enter key information such as document type, name, and dates, then move to the Gather screen where the records are managed.

Kindex Gather Screen

Here is a Gather screen of a sample Family Archive. On the left is a 2-Generation Family List, populated by names linked to your FamilySearch account. In the main area are records in various stages of completion. Records may be sorted by family member(s), or file type(s). In this area you may sort and browse the archive, view original records, and select records to index.

Within a smart and flexible Index screen users transcribe and tag their records.  For this record (a letter), the user may scroll and zoom while entering the letter’s content and information in fields to the right. Note the presence of different fields for this record’s information, including names, FamilySearch ID, and dates. These fields are dependent upon each record type, and are designated when you contribute specific records. Square buttons immediately above the transcription area include formatting tools (strikethrough, and underline), tagging tools (FamilySearch ID Tag, GeoTag, and Event Tags), and help tools (user comments and help). These fields and tagging tools mark key data that enables records to be sorted, searched, and shared in powerful ways.

Kindexsoftwarescreens_0003_Index 1

A button on the right expands the indexing to a full screen view, as seen below. 

Kindexsoftwarescreens_0002_Index 2

After a record is indexed, it is submitted to the archive to be reviewed by the record’s contributor From our Share screen, you may:

  • View and read indexed records (letters, journals, photos, etc.)
  • Print and download the original and indexed records
  • Share the link with family trees
  • View contributors and indexers
  • Share the record on social media.

Kindexsoftwarescreens_0001_Share 1

Users may expand to a full screen mode and adjust font size when reading indexed records, as seen below. At any step users may Search all or part of their family archive, as well as expand their search to the entire Kindex archive. 

Kindexsoftwarescreens_0000_Share 2

While not an exhaustive list of all the software’s features, this sneak peek gives you a taste of how easy and powerful it is to transcribe your documents and create searchable archives with Kindex. We look forward to helping individuals and family organizations manage and transcribe their archives, as well as working with family history partners in integrating our indexing tool within their software. We anticipate software updates that are optimized for mobile use and utilize speech recognition tools, as well as integrating OCR tools for both typewritten and handwritten documents.

Please visit RootsTech Booth #1017, and at the “Innovator Alley” at the RootsTech Innovator Showdown where we will be presenting our web software as semifinalists!