Sunday, March 11, 2012

Any Day But Friday

My mother, a member of "the Greatest Generation," always discouraged me from starting anything (reading a book; writing a letter; a sewing, cleaning, or painting project; etc.) on a Friday unless I could finish it on Friday. I don't know if that idea was based on her own lack of success in finishing things on Fridays or not. From my own experience, the projects I've started on Fridays have been challenging to complete if they take longer than that day. Maybe interest dwindles over the weekend.

On Friday night I downloaded the census indexing program from the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project website. I hesitated, remembering my mom's admonition. Then I realized that since downloading the program was all I did, it was both started and completed on Friday. Whew! Safe. No worries about it not getting done the same day.

Not wanting to take any chances with my lack of finishing things on Fridays, I waited to begin indexing until today. Of course I doubt that the need for indexing will ever end in my lifetime so it probably would have been okay to start on Friday: I can index till I die (or my vision goes).

Reading the instructions and agreement and downloading the program didn't take long at all and now I have this cute little icon sitting on my desktop. I click it and up pops an indexing screen which greets me with "Welcome, Nancy" and shows new messages for indexers; instructions; options for choosing what to index; and tools to help me understand the process. I wanted to share the process with you but when I signed the agreement to index, I agreed not to make and post screenshots of what I was working on. Instead, I found a video that shows the process. If you're hesitant to start indexing because you don't know what it might be like, this video will show you.

Indexing is a satisfying use of my time. In the end, my work will help others as well as myself. In addition to that, it feels like it stretches my brain just a little because I'm learning something new. Since there are different levels of indexing and a great variety of projects, that learning will continue into the future.

Want to give indexing a try? Don't wait till Friday. Begin today.



  1. Thank you so much for this very informative post. I've wanted to know more about being a volunteer indexer, and your post was just what I needed to signup. I'm looking forward to April 2 when the 1940 Census is released. Until then, I'm going to stay busy indexing in Texas...whew...big state...big project!

  2. I love the way you write Nancy! You really have a gift for this. I think you've just identified the problem with all my unfinished projects. They must have been started on Friday... ;o)

  3. Thanks, Kathleen. I can never tell if Friday starts are problems because my mother put the idea into my mind or because it really is a bad idea. A self-fulfilling prophecy that I won't finish if I start on a Friday. No matter, there are plenty of other things to do on Fridays!

    I can't believe you have unfinished projects, Kathleen!

    Thanks for visiting.

  4. Sue, how's the indexing going? Have you done the samples only or are you practicing on some other real indexing projects? It's a good thing to do.

    I like the header on your blog.


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