Genealogy projects have long been a great example of proper indexing against a solid database that produces great findability. One such project that was recently brought to our attention came from the Kansas African American Museum. The Wichita Eagle brought this interesting information to us in their article, “Genealogy researcher helping African-American families fill in the blanks.

A nationwide project is underway to index key African-American historical records from the U.S. Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands – known as the Freedmen’s Bureau. The Freedmen’s Bureau operated from 1865 to 1872 to provide services for former slaves through offices in 15 states and the District of Columbia. In its seven years, the bureau created millions of documents related to marriages, property claims, labor contracts, hospital records and more.

In June 2015, the nonprofit genealogy organization FamilySearch launched a volunteer project to index the entire collection of documents in time for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture’s opening scheduled for the end of 2016.

Nearly 17,000 volunteers have gone online to extract names and identifying information from the millions of scanned documents in order to make them easily searchable for people have not had access to their records before.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Access Innovations, the world leader in thesaurus, ontology, and taxonomy creation and metadata application.