Solving Archival Challenges for the Mormon Battalion Association
Kindex co-founder Kimball Clark and Laura Anderson, Senior Historian at the Church History Library presented “Crowdsourcing Your History: Collaborative Archives for Families, Groups, and Societies” at the RootsTech 2018. We recently asked Laura Anderson, Senior Historian at the Church History Library, to share how she uses Kindex to make Mormon Battalion Association records more accessible and engaging. We thank her for sharing her thoughts with us below.
Two days before volunteers left to serve in the Mormon Battalion, LDS Church President Brigham Young said their “lives should be spared and [their] expedition result in great good, and [their] names be handed down in honorable remembrance to all generations.”1
In order for that to happen, we need to know their stories. We needed to tell not only their stories, but the stories of their families. With 500 men and about 2,000 people total, that’s a lot of research. I knew that researching one at a time would not work, so we needed to create a searchable archive from the thousands of records we have related to the Mormon Battalion. I’ve had people transcribe for me in the past, but it was very time-consuming to keep track of it all, and difficult to avoid the duplication of work. I wanted a way to transcribe and search al the documents on a central platform.
At Rootstech 2017 I found Kindex, and it was just the solution I needed: a collaborative indexing platform where I could gather and organize the Mormon Battalion records. I began adding records, transcribing, and inviting others to help. As we progressed in transcribing the archive, Kindex listened to my feedback and were even willing to prioritize software features that I needed. With Kindex I can track our collaborators and the progress we make on indexing.
In addition to solving the transcription challenges, Kindex also makes it easy for anyone to access and search the archive. Before Kindex, the records scattered in various places so they were difficult for the average person to discover. Now, we have all the records accessible in a central archive that is getting more searchable every day. Through this archive, Kindex is helping me keep that promise to keep their lives in “honorable remembrance”.
To search the Mormon Battalion Archive, or to become a volunteer indexer on this project, go to https://mormonbattalion.kindex.org and click Request Access.
- William Hyde, The Private Journal of William Hyde (privately published, 1962), 19; spelling standardized.
- Cover art located in the Pioneer Memorial Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah. No additional info available at time of publication.