News Story

Melburnians Index Thousands of Records During Lockdown

As lockdown continues in Australia, members of the Melbourne Braeside Stake (diocese) of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints used extra time at home to index 35,655 historical records during May.

162 volunteers took up a challenge issued by the Braeside stake presidency to contribute to the global indexing effort that makes millions of records available for family history research each year. They deciphered and entered information from scanned historical documents using’s   Web Indexing program.

7-year-old Sabelle Casaol gets involved in indexing, May 2020.
Seven-year-old Sabelle Casaol took on the challenge to help her ward index 5,000 records, May 2020.© 2020 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The stake presidency gave each of the stake’s six wards (congregations) a target of 5,000 records to index by the end of the month, inspiring friendly competition with weekly tallies of each ward’s progress.

The challenge was inspired by the invitation and promise of President of the Church, Russell M. Nelson, during the April 2020 General Conference of the Church. He said:

"We need to be spending more time in the temple and in doing family history research, which includes indexing... I promise that as you increase your time in temple and family history work, you will increase and improve your ability to hear Him [Jesus Christ].”

Braeside Stake President, Craig Tennant, hopes those who participated felt inspired by their simple acts of service.

“This was an ideal way for members to feel connected to each other, their ancestors, and the Lord during the COVID-19 lockdown,” said President Tennant.

“We hope that more people start to engage in family research and preparing names of ancestors to take to the temple when it reopens in the future. Just drawing members to FamilySearch has begun the journey for some.”

12-year-old Alaya Page said the challenge was her first experience of indexing. She quickly picked it up after taking a guided tour of the program on, and indexed 320 records during May.

“It was a really good experience, and many of the indexing records were easy,” Alaya said. “I really enjoyed it because I got to escape all my school work and home work and enter my own world.”

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