Despite all the busyness of preparing for RootsTech, this morning I had a few quiet moments this morning thinking of our Grandma Dorothy Smith Clark. I wondered, what was she doing this week, so many years ago? I searched “Feb 27” on her Kindex archive, and found these diary pages from 1928:
Sunday Feb 26th
Stay home from S S with Virgil who has a bad cold. Go to church with Lucille & to Mutual. In our J class we discuss getting or “J” pin. Discuss contest numbers for M.I.A. Day & began plan for Progressive Supper.
Monday Night Feb 27 Lucille P. and I went down to Galt Hospital to see Anna Nielson who had her appendix out last Friday. She was feeling pretty good. We took her some flowers in behalf of our Junior class.
Wed. Feb 29th – Leap year
We washed & in P.M. I went to bed as I had a little sore throat.
Thurs. Mar 1st Spring weather
Friday. I’m up & better. Sr. Wallburger sends us some cakes & tarts.
Nothing much: some church activities, a sore throat, a visit to a friend, and a comment on the weather. And yet, it is so much, because with every found page the knowledge of who she was becomes more complete. Getting face-to-face with her history is one the greatest gifts I can think of.
What will you discover when you index your family records? Try it out free on Kindex.org.
Kindex co-founder Kimball Clark and Laura Anderson, Senior Historian at the Church History Library, will present “Crowdsourcing Your History: Collaborative Archives for Families, Groups, and Societies” at the RootsTech Demo Theater on Thursday, March 1 at 10:20 a.m. 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 all about 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.
I recently accompanied my 5th-Grader on a field trip to the Utah State Capitol and Daughters of the Utah Pioneers (DUP) Museum. As we passed the capitol on the west side, we our school bus drove by the Capitol Hill Ward where my grandparents first met in 1932. At the DUP Museum next door, we had a scavenger hunt with the students. As we were checking items off our list, I walked past these photos.
They were part of a larger exhibit on pioneer Charles C. Rich and his family. I was immediately struck by the similarity between the lettering on the photo captions and our grandmother’s lettering. Could it be hers? I asked docents at the DUP if anything could be learned about the donor and date of donation, but unfortunately, there was no additional information.
But what evidence could I discover within our own family archive on Kindex? Even though the archive is only partially transcribed, I was certain I could find some clues. A quick search of “DUP” and “lettering” gave me answers in seconds. Let’s look at the connections.
Connection 1: Employment and Skill
Dorothy Smith did odd jobs hand-lettering for various local businesses. A quick search for “lettering” in her Kindex archive confirms this, revealing a list of lettering jobs she did in the early 1930’s.
Hobbies Dot JOBS Employment
3 Feb ’32 Clerked at “Everybody’s Store’ sale today (1.50) (script)
13 June ’32 – got show card order – Fred Bich[…]
Also job to tint 22 charts for NDA.
Jan 16 / 34 Kress Store clerk & Decorator 14.00 wk
Mar or Apr 33 thru Aug 34 Lettering signs after May 1/34 earn 17. – 20. wk
6 Dec 33 Hand-lettered some charts for Pres. B B Stringham
14-19 Dec 1931 – 7.65 earned from Christmas and orders from friends or kin.
Also 5.00 making 16 show cards for Realsilk Co. thru Chas. Jarman.
1.50 for business cards.
Connection 2: Physical Proximity and Record of Visit
In the same record as above, under the heading of “Church Work”, she mentions a visit the DUP Museum which was situated near her home.
going Wed DUP
Connection 3: Handwriting Comparison
In her archive are many examples of lettering she did for various family history projects. This connection compares Charles Rich photo captions with examples of Dorothy’s own lettering in her Book of Remembrance, also found in her Kindex archive.
Connection 4: Family Connection
A final connection is a family one. My own 2nd Great Grandfather, Charles Rich Clark, was acquainted with Charles C. Rich family, as they both had families in the same towns in Southern Idaho.
While Dorothy has some variance in her lettering style with the use of script and various embellishments, there is a strong similarity between the writing in the Charles C. Rich photos and the writing from her own Book of Remembrance. I see a strong resemblance especially in the numbering. Below is a selection of Dorothy’s writing pasted on to the Charles C. Rich photo image.
While there is not direct evidence to support that she indeed did the lettering, there is strong circumstantial evidence that she did. What do you think?
Dorothy’s lettering in center.
It’s fantastic that this type of research takes just a few minutes when you have a searchable arhchive. With our built-in indexing tools, your family records can be searched in seconds, making solving mysteries like this fast and easy. Haven’t tried Kindex yet? Head on over to kindex.org and start your free archive.
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:
- A list of family members in attendance, and who of those brought records
- 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.)
- Acceptable record sizes, and what types of scanners would be available to accommodate those sizes
- 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.
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 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, 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.
Contact us to learn more about how Kindex can help you rescue your family records.
Kindex is excited to announce the release of two major software updates that enable Kindex users to customize and grow their archives in powerful new ways.
1. Add & Organize Records into Collections
Archive owners can now create Collections within their archives to organize their records. With collections, you can organize your records any way you wish. For example, your collections can be named as family names, record types, dates, or subjects.
2. Add Multiple Records & Assign Record Info (Metadata) to a Batch
You may now add multiple records to your archive quickly and easily, with the added benefit of designating Record Info (metadata) to a batch of records. This feature allows users to apply common metadata to an entire batch of records, instead of applying metadata individually. Metadata may include Record Info such as descriptions, provenance, dates, places, and keywords. Metadata can also be added and edited in batch form from your archive’s Gather page.
Step 1: To add multiple records, click “Add Records”, and select “Upload from my computer”.
Step 2: Select your records. If you don’t know how to select multiple files at once from your computer, hover atop the link “How to Batch Upload”.
Step 3: Assign your batch of records to a collection, or add a new collection for them to be placed, and review your upload progress. At this point, you may opt to add Record Info (metadata) as a batch now, or individually later.
Step 4: Add Record Info to your records.
The following enhancements are currently in development and will be released soon:
- Manually order your Collections
- Nest a Collection within a Collection
If you don’t already have an Unlimited + Collaborative Kindex Archive, now is the time to upgrade and take advantage of these amazing tools. Please contact us with an questions you may have, and happy batching!
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