Solving Archival Challenges for the Mormon Battalion Association

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. 


 

  1. William Hyde, The Private Journal of William Hyde (privately published, 1962), 19; spelling standardized.
  2. Cover art located in the Pioneer Memorial Museum in Salt Lake City, Utah. No additional info available at time of publication.

Family letters: Opening the door to our ancestor’s lives

Family letters: Opening the door to our ancestor’s lives

If a photo is a window into a family’s life, then a letter is the door. This 1904 portrait of the Emma Woolley and Charles Rich Clark family is beautiful, but offers few clues about the challenges, personalities and relationships between these family members.

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Today, we transcribed a letter written by Emma Woolley to her husband Charles Rich Clark while he was away serving a church mission in 1892.  In this letter we learn that Emma had a migraine, and that the oldest child, Marion, was the serious one who concerned himself with his mother’s help and offered a little prayer on her behalf. We learn that Vernon, the next oldest, was the silly one and said funny things that made his mother and neighbors laugh. We learned how devoted Emma is as a wife, managing the family accounts, nurturing sick children, doing laundry,  and settling debts. She closes the letter saying,

“I guess this is not what would be called a love letter but it is written in love all the same, and I am proud of the man I love, and hope to keep ever fresh and alive that affection that exists between us”

To read the full transcription, go to the Ezra T. Clark Family Archive.

Make insights like this possible with your own family records and start your own family archive.

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Announcing new batch & collections features for your Kindex archive

Announcing new batch & collections features for your Kindex archive

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.

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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”.

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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”.

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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.

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Step 4: Add Record Info to your records.

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What’s Next?

The following enhancements are currently in development and will be released soon:

  • Manually order your Collections
  • Nest a Collection within a Collection

Upgrade Now

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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Find What is Lost: Introducing found.kindex.org

Find What is Lost: Introducing found.kindex.org

A few weeks ago I was browsing in an antique shop when a stack of old photos caught my eye. As I examined these portraits and family poses one by one, I discovered names written on the back:  David A. Page. Teddy O. Keefer. Ester Olson. How did they get lost?

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Photo 0020 on found.kindex.org is David Alonzo Page with wife Gilheld “Nellie” Qualseth and children Gladys and Elmer, c1900.

As a self-proclaimed hoarder of my own family records, I couldn’t imagine letting go photos like these. And yet it happens every day. Parents pass away, downsize, or move, and family records are lost or thrown away. Records that do remain are often sold in estate sales, eventually finding their way to antique stores or flea markets where they sold as mere commodities.

Kindex wants to change that. While we are doing all we can to rescue records before they are lost, we created the Kindex Lost & Found Archive as a home for records without families to claim them. Found.kindex.org is a destination where collectors, volunteers, researchers, and family members can work together to rescue our histories by preserving, indexing, and discovering lost family records. There are many ways you can be a rescuer—and you don’t have to own any records to get started.

Rescue by Indexing

Rescue history by transcribing photos, postcards, and other records rich with information. Indexing on found.kindex.org creates a new repository of names, dates, and locations that make thousands of records searchable for the first time. All you need to get started is a free Kindex account and a generous heart.

How to index records Kindex Lost & Found Archive.

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Postcard 0016 on found.kindex.org

Rescue by Collaborating

Become a collaborator on found.kindex.org and you can add your own collections of “lost” records to be crowdsource indexed. To become a collaborator, contact us for an invite or go to found.kindex.org and click Add a Record.

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Rescue by Partnering

If you are an antique collector or dealer you can help rescue history by partnering with Kindex and sharing your records on found.kindex.org. We have partnered with some great local antique shops, including Longwood Antiques and Cobwebs Antiques & Collectibles, who have agreed to allow Kindex to scan photos, postcards, scrapbooks, and other indexable records. We, in turn, have agreed to host them in a crowdsourced indexing archive where the records can be searched for and found by their names, descriptions, keywords, and other metadata—all at no cost to them. Records are attributed to the store they came from, so when they are found, researchers can contact the store owner to inquire about the records.

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Who is the cute & mysterious gas station attendant my mother met on the road to Las Vegas in 1959? We’ll learn soon on found.kindex.org.

What’s the Catch?

There’s no catch—just do have a few guidelines:

  • Records added to this archive must have some sort of indexable text that would identify the record to an individual or group.
  • Collaborators who add records to Kindex archives retain copyright ownership. By adding records to Kindex, you are grant Kindex a license to host and create a derivative (i.e., an index) of your records.
  • Record owners may watermark their images so much as the watermark does not detract from or obscure any part of the record.
  • You must follow all Kindex Terms & Conditions. You have an opportunity to review them when you create a free Kindex account.
  • To index records as a guest, or to add records as an archive collaborator, you must have a Kindex account.

Please contact us with an questions you may have, and happy finding!

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Announcing the Release of Collaborative & Public Archives

Announcing the Release of Collaborative & Public Archives

Announcing the release the Kindex Collaborative Upgrade, the best way to bring family and friends together on a single, online archive. Upgrade to Collaborative and transform your archive into a destination where friends or family can help gather, index, and search—or simply enjoy reading family records.

Also released today is the option to create a Public archive when upgrading to a collaborative account. Enjoy the benefits of Crowdsourced Indexing, and jumpstart your indexing by allowing any Kindex user to transcribe and tag your records. Public archives also help others to discover and connect to your archive.

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