If you’ve followed Kindex for very long, you’ll know that we frequently post about our Grandma Dorothy Smith Clark. Today I want to share with you why her story is so important to us.
As a child, I asked Grandma Clark what she would like for her birthday. “Tell me a story,” she answered. This voice speaks to me still. As a young teenager she encouraged me to create and write. A visit with her hardly went by without her suggesting, “Write me a poem.” That encouragement speaks to me still. Today, when I read her letters and diaries, I see her notes in the margins revealing instructions for a personal history—a project she never completed before passing away. Those notes speak to me still.
A marked-up page from Dorothy’s life history.
When my cousin Kimball and I decided to launch Kindex, our aim was to create a solution for the enormous body of work our grandma left behind. While it was impossible for Dorothy to envision the type of indexing tool we are building today, I like to think she had a sense of what was to come. She had the gift of foresight, the ability to anticipate and address needs. In a sense, building Kindex will finish the work she started, while also helping us tell her story.
And what is her story? I’ll share just a part. While still a young mother, Dorothy completed her Book of Remembrance. A work of art in its own right, its pages reveal her deep sense of ancestral belonging, records of her parents’ and grandparents’ spiritual gifts, and a recognition of her own divine purpose and talents. As Dorothy developed her own spiritual gifts, her ability to discern the needs of others and act in faith became a catalyst for ministering to others, notwithstanding the fear and shyness she often felt. To the question posed to the Savior, “Who is my neighbor?” Dorothy could answer: the plumber, the piano tuner, the refugee, or the outcast—anyone in her path in need of help.
A watercolored page from the Dorothy Smith Clark Book of Remembrance
Dorothy’s 1964 poster sketch titled “We Believe in Sharing” affirmed the scope of her desires: to give all she had—her talents, testimony, labor, food, and possessions, bringing “more happiness, enrich[ing] the world, sharing all that has come to us as a church and as individual members.”
Often overcome with social anxiety or limited by her heath, Dorothy preferred personal visits to projects, created art to share the gospel, and wrote hundreds of inspired letters that today stand as a witness to bear one another’s burdens. Without prejudice or judgment, her nurturing influence reached beyond her own nine children when she became a foster mother to two Navajo children and a personal advocate for many Southeast Asian refugees who affectionately called her “Mother Clark”.
Dorothy Clark with husband Ellsworth, foster son Cody Black, and Cody’s family.
While Dorothy’s art was never exhibited, her painting of Paul Wildhaber’s “The Armor of Righteousness” was the centerpiece of her home. Unlike others who traditionally depicted male religious figures, 20-year-old Dorothy changed the painting’s subject from hero to heroine, thus broadening the view of those who are “armed in righteousness”. From her childhood fairy gifts to the ministering of the needful and forgotten, her visionary example of what a woman can do endures through her depiction of this righteous and strong heroine.
Dorothy Smith in Paul Wildhaber’s studio.
Dorothy Smith’s completed “Armor of Righteousness”
Dorothy continued her talent of creating and sharing family histories well into the last years of her life. In 1980 she participated in the World Conference of Records in a booth of her own design.
Dorothy at the World Conference of Records in 1980
As I think about her life, I see a patterns emerging as her children, grandchildren, and beyond strive to finish what she started. Kindex is just a small part of a larger effort to emulate the kind of woman she was. Sometimes, when I feel overwhelmed at the pressures of launching a startup while still raising a young family, I look at the binders and boxes of her records and think, “Soon, we’ll know your story. Not long yet.”
Dorothy and Ellsworth in New Zealand, 1974
[i] Dorothy Smith, Sketches. “We Believe in Sharing”, 1964
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:
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.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
Considering that Kindex has been in business less than a year, it is easy sometimes to get impatient with progress—especially when you are developing software. But Kimball and I have never lost sight of our goal: to build software that will enable individuals, families, and groups to rescue their primary sources. This rescue encompasses three steps:
Gather, organizing, and digitizing primary sources (journals, letters, diaries, photos, audio, video, and heirlooms). Kindex is busy gathering and digitizing for numerous individuals and families.
Transcribe, tag, and review family records. This is where our software comes in. We are working hard to release MyKindex, the free, beta version of Kindex web software. Following that release will be KindexFamily and KindexArchive. These two account types will enable groups to manage transcription and tagging of their digitized records, as well as offer transcription crowdsourcing of their archive records.
With Kindex, sharing family records happens on many levels, including: printing source records and transcriptions, searching archive transcriptions, and using digitized records as sources in research and genealogy.
This summer will be a busy one for us. We are providing scanning and indexing services on-site at family reunions, digitizing several family archives, starting a new phase of software development, and ramping up fundraising efforts with backers and investors.
We appreciate your patience and support as we move forward. They say the first year in business is the hardest, and we can attest that this is true. But we are determined to be successful, as we believe to the core in our vision: to gather what is scattered, reveal what is hidden and find what is lost.
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.
RootsTech 2016 has selected Kindex™ LLC of Kaysville, Utah, from a field of nearly 50 candidates to present their family history software in the semifinal round of the Innovator Showdown on February 3, 2016. Part of the RootsTech Innovator Summit, the Innovator Showdown features the latest in family history technology and innovation. From the field of twelve semifinalists, a judges panel will select six finalists to demo live onstage for over 23,000 people. Winners take home a piece of the $100,000 prize in cash and in-kind services, not to mention the free publicity that comes with being a finalist.
Kindex owners and cousins Kimball Clark and Cathy Gilmore are thrilled about the prospects of their new company. “RootsTech has been fantastic at encouraging new technologies in the family history field,” said Kimball. “The Innovator Summit is a wonderful forum for us to present our ideas and learn from others. We are excited for the opportunity RootsTech provides startups like us.”
For Cathy and Kimball, what started as a project to scan and archive their grandmother’s diaries, letters, photos, and other documents evolved into developing a web software company that solved the problem of accessing and reading old documents through indexing. “We realized that scanning documents and throwing them on a website just wasn’t enough,” Cathy explained. “We had difficulty reading the handwritten letters and navigating through so many files. Why not apply the FamilySearch Indexing model to families?”
Kindex Beta debuts at RootsTech 2016
“Indexing has been immensely popular in fueling the find for millions of researchers,” Cathy continued. “Why not extend indexing to the millions of family records that are rich with people, places, and events. These records are at risk of being lost or discarded, and within them are the stories we all seek.”
“One of the most exciting parts of Kindex is the idea that not only will our family benefit, but that countless people mentioned within others’ indexed records will have new documents attached to them through our tagging and transcription tools,” Kimball said. “For them, we are rewriting their history.”
The RootsTech Innovator Summit is a one-day event for developers, entrepreneurs, and innovators from around the globe to explore, examine, and discover business and technological opportunities within the family history industry. The Innovator Summit is just one of the events offered at RootsTech, the largest family history even in the world. From Feb. 3-6 in Salt Lake City, Utah, RootsTech will offers speakers, entertainment, classes, and large Expo Hall of exhibitors.
Along with being an semifinalist, Kindex will be in the Expo Hall and “Innovator Alley” where the latest in family history tech will be on display. Kindex will debut their new family indexing web software Kindex Beta at RootsTech 2016.
For more information see:
Innovator Showdown Submission: http://devpost.com/software/kindex-index-your-history
We are excited to debut our indexing software at RootsTech 2016. Kindex is web software that will available for subscription purchase on a monthly or yearly basis. Stay tuned for details on subscription pricing and other Kindex services.
Through the Kindex™ web app, users create a “Kindex”—a living archive where anyone can contribute, index, and share family records. Families may establish a Kindex™ using FamilySearch account, which provides a foundation of family names for your Kindex™. As records are gathered and attached to family names, they can be indexed privately within families or released as public indexing projects. Our indexing tool employs a simple side-by-side user interface where the user enters indexes the record and applies tags. Once approved by a family administrator, completed indexing becomes accessible and searchable through tools such as search engines, Kindex™ and FamilySearch, and other family history partners. Within Kindex™, users may also read indexed records, attach them as FamilySearch Memories, search their content, share on social media, or print to paper or PDF.
For information on features and images of the software, see Build a Searchable Archive—one Record at a Time.