I got a little behind the schedule I’d roughly planned for my 1940 US Census posts. We have two weeks until the census is released. Are you ready to help index?
I finally downloaded the indexing software today and took it for a quick test run.
I didn’t even have to log in to the site to download the software. Just follow the link in my sidebar (on the Ambassador Badge) and scroll to the bottom of their page, or go straight to the download page. I chose to download the software and it automatically gave me the Windows version. I guess it checks up on your computer and saves you from choosing. It took a few minutes to download — I was also downloading the society kit, so that probably slowed it down a bit too. The file is 40MB. The installation had no options and went very quickly.
The program immediately opened to full screen mode, which I hate, and presented a login window. There is also an option to register, but I’d already done that in the past. I didn’t remember which password I’d used, because it had numerical requirements and my “default” doesn’t have any numbers, so I tried the reset password link, and then I was good.
Once logged in, I could size down the window and move it to my other monitor. The window was just blank for a minute. Then it crashed.
Trying again, I had to log in again. Will it not remember? At least it didn’t crash the second time. Another window asked me to choose a group. UJGS is not registered yet, so I skipped it. A license agreement was next, then a quick start video. I decided to watch the video (which opened in my browser) which was almost six minutes and a good introduction. Meanwhile, the indexing program moved on.
The video said that the first batch was already selected, something to introduce the software, but that’s not what I got. When I clicked to “Download Batch”, I was presented with three projects in the “preferred projects” list. I switched to “show all projects” and found the 1940 simulation at the top. (I was placed in the middle of the list and had to scroll up.)
I tried to “View Sample”, but it didn’t seem to work. When I tried again, the part 1 sample was gone, so I could only try part 2. This time, I just chose “OK”. When that seemed to finish loading, another window popped up with just an image. I think that was my view sample finally working, possibly. I closed it without paying enough attention to see if it was different than the second part.
Everything then looked good for indexing. I clicked around a little and found I had to enlarge the window to see the “Quality Checker” tab correctly; it didn’t scroll. If you’ve got a low resolution monitor, you could be in trouble on that part. I think the rest of them had scroll bars.
The first line of the sample threw an exception. A couple of fields that said “required” were blank. Reading the “Field Help” tab, it said to leave them blank. So, not very required then?
I like how it highlighted pretty well as I was indexing so I knew what column it wanted and I didn’t lose track of the row. I had looked around the menus and frames more than I’ve written here and noticed in the Options settings that I could change the highlight color, which is cyan by default.
It was pretty easy to use once I got started. The image automatically scrolls as you index, so you don’t have to keep moving up to it to move it along. I also love how it automatically capitalizes properly. It also remembers your entries, so once you’ve typed out the house number, surname, and relationships, the last house and surname show up by default on the next line and it only takes the letter D for daughter to show up. It wasn’t as friendly in that column after I typed daughter-in-law as a test. It just showed the most recent option that started with D, so I had to click on it to see more options. But certainly for house number and surname, that came in very handy.
There are some options above the frame for the data entry. The ñ icon opens a menu of letters with diacritical marks for using in other languages. The quill has some handwriting samples to help out if you get stuck.
And then the program crashed again while I was typing that paragraph. Restarting, I had to type my login again. I guess it’s not going to remember.
Just as the video said, it remembered where I was in the data entry and had saved all the information.
There are two X icons for marking a field or a row blank. The ? icon is for marking unreadable, again the field or the entire row. (My image below only shows one for each because of where my data entry was when I did the screen capture.)
I decided to quit the page long before I was finished, since it was just a sample. The quality checker didn’t like all my blanks, so I marked the extra rows blank and then it let me submit the page.
One other thing I didn’t mention is that the image can be zoomed in and out; it started me at 50%, which was good except for one thing that was written small. There are also instructions and helps in a couple of places.
Unfortunately, as I tried to do a bit more, FamilySearch Indexing went down for maintenance, which I discovered when I tried to “edit my preferences” (just to try it) on the download batch window. Not very good timing for writing this post.
Either way, the download gave me the version I needed automatically, it took 5-6 minutes to download, the installation was quick, the program crashed a couple of times, and the indexing was pretty easy. And even when it crashed, it saved the data I had typed, so it was just inconvenient to start it again and log in again, but no work was lost.
And now I’m ready to index in two weeks. I’ll probably do a little before then, now that I have the program and there are lots of projects to choose from.
The URL of this article is http://idogenealogy.com/blog/2012/03/19/are-you-ready-to-index/.