Sunday, October 8, 2017

New to Me: Zoning for FamilySearch

I sent a request to zone for FamilySearch a little more than a month ago when I first learned about it.  Within a short time I was given access to the program.  I guessed it might take a while to learn so delayed giving it a try.  Today I took the plunge. 

I don't know how long FamilySearch has had this program but, in my opinion, it is one of FamilySearch's best kept secrets for volunteers who want to help make more information available to researchers.

In essence, zoning is a precursor to indexing and involves perusing (as opposed to the less in-depth browsing of) newspaper pages to identify announcements of births, marriages, and deaths, and any news articles that include any of those three.

If you have a computer, internet access, and a mouse with a wheel, you can zone.  It may help to have indexing experience but it's not required.

I received five newspaper pages to zone.  Several were identified as definitely having BMD informaiton and the others were not.  I carefully read down the columns of the first page until I found an article about a death.  I tapped the "d" on the computer keypad.  A + appeared on the newspaper and, using the mouse, I placed the + on the upper left corner of the news article then pressed and moved the mouse button to the lower right corner to highlight the article.  First article done.  I continued reading the column, highlighting as I went, then moved on to the next.  The five pages I zoned yielded 75 notices/articles of deaths and marriages.  It may not happen immediately but in the near future, some researchers will be very happy to find these news articles about their ancestors/family members.

Yes, it requires careful reading but it does not require reading sometimes-illegible handwriting.  I don't know whether or not it takes longer to zone than index because I didn't time myself.  But I did notice that I was drawn into some of the articles to read current events of the time and publication place of the newspaper which probably slowed my progress a little.

When I agreed to zone I also agreed not to make and share screenshots of my work to post here.  All I can do it describe the process and recommend that you give it a try.  I am thrilled to have another way to help FamilySearch make records available.

For more information about zoning, click through to these web pages:

> Getting Started with Zoning  (The images above are from this website.)
> Quick Start Guide
> Top 5 Errors to Avoid
> Complete User Guide 
> Frequently Asked Questions

You will need to have or create a FamilySearch account to zone.  If you'd like to request the opportunity to serve in this way, click here to go to the message screen and leave a request.

I love, love, love zoning.  Perhaps you will, too.


Copyright ©2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.

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