Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My New Hobby

Most of our friends know this already, but just in case you don't: we are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Our Church builds temples all around the world where important "work" takes place for both the living and dead—basically making promises with God and receiving blessings for doing what you've agreed to do (the Bible talks about temple work too, if you're interested).

People who aren't members of our Church sometimes get angry or confused about the temple because not everyone is allowed inside: you have to be a baptized member of the Church and be living in a certain way to be worthy to be there since we consider temples to be the "House of the Lord." So, we do want everyone to be able to attend the temple—it just takes belief, time, and effort!

Anyway, I haven't been attending the temple lately due to pregnancy (the level of formality and activities aren't really conducive to my bringing in a large water bottle, snacks, and me leaving every hour or so to go to the bathroom).

However, to compensate, I have started a new hobby: indexing!

Indexing is related to temple work because of its connection to family history (and family history relates to temple work because we do work for our ancestors in the temple). Anyone can index on their computer (as long as you have the Internet). Basically, you sign up/register, and they give you different records to look at and analyze. Then you type in the information from the records into these forms that the program provides. After going through a series of checks, this information is then available to those who are doing family history work so they can find their ancestors.

Some of the forms are gnarly and go back really far (1500's??), but I stick to 1900s + (census records, etc.). They also have records from all over the world, but I again stick to American records for ease of understanding.

My very favorite records to index have been the WWII draft cards. Not only are they pretty easy to read and understand, but it is amazing to see all the men (some of whom have been 60+ years old at the time of filling out their cards) who signed up to go fight for their country. Many probably also served in WWI. How many are related, I'm not sure (they seem to be grouped by last name), but it is interesting to think about where they served, who their families were, and if they ever made it home after the War.

Well, indexing. It's a good hobby. Better than Facebook.

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