Indexing online records is an important component to genealogy research. We see indexed records through many genealogy websites that were collected and indexed by the masses. What about smaller collections and obscure records that maybe only exist in someone’s personal collection? Where do they go online? Who will index them?
Kindex is a website that provides you with a secure space to upload records and documents that you have that require indexing.
When you sign up with Kindex, you are provided with a custom archival workspace where you can add, organize, transcribe and index your records.
Kindex was founded by Cathy Gilmore and Kimball Clark in October of 2016. Kindex was officially launched at RootsTech 2017.
Their inspiration to start Kindex began when their Grandma Dorothy left behind boxes of photos, letters, and other personal documents. After discovering the shoeboxes full of love letters in her mother’s closet, Cathy became completely immersed in learning more about them. That feeling of connection is hard to explain, but it’s one that she wanted to share with her family. After a year of doing “scanning parties”, Cathy and Kimball realized that they needed to do something more to put their families face-to-face with these amazing records. Scanning wasn’t enough. They needed a way for the family to “Google their Grandparents”.
How Does Kindex Work?
Kindex involves three basic steps:
- Create your archive and add your digitized records to Kindex (PDF, png, jpg up to 15 MB). You can create Collections to organize your records by name, record type, or however you wish. You can add records one at a time or in batches, with the option to add metadata in bulk to batch uploads.
- View your records and add information to them. You can info three ways: Record Info (a type of metadata), transcription, and tags. Users don’t have to add info; some choose to simply search and browse records.
- Invite others to join your archive. People invited to your archive are called Collaborators, and they can also add their own records, index, and search.
Who Uses Kindex?
Anyone can start a free archive on Kindex by signing up on Kindex.org and adding their digitized records. What makes Kindex different from other archives like Google Drive, Dropbox is both the collaborative nature of the archive and the ability to add and search many kinds of record metadata.
The beauty of Kindex is that archive owners can put anything they want in their archive. It was created to unify family records, like photos, letters, journals, and other documents. But it can also be a great tool for historical societies, researchers, or people who simply want to declutter.
Cathy used Kindex herself to create an art archive for her daughter. Her artwork was just piling up, so she scanned everything and that gave her the freedom to discard some things without the fear of losing them forever.
Kindex also recently completed a “record rescue” (scanning services + Kindex archive) for a family who had boxes of greeting cards their mother had saved for over 50 years. Kindex scanned them all, then the family threw them away, guilt-free!
There’s an Archive for That
10 everyday solutions using Kindex provides an extensive list of uses for Kindex. Check it out!
Kindex and FamilySearch
Kindex is a FamilySearch partner but is not directly searchable through FamilySearch. Public Kindex archives can be searched online through any search engine.
However, a Kindex directory is still being compiled so anyone can see what archives are available to search (public only; private archives can be searched by requesting access from the owner).
Kindex users can import Memories from FamilySearch. Adding memories to FamilySearch is currently in development. Any archive, whether public or private can create a custom, public source link to attach any record they have in Kindex to another site. Cathy is currently exploring how to partner with more sites in the future to both import and export their records to (Google Drive, Dropbox, Ancestry, etc.).
What Others are Saying
Record-keepers everywhere are thrilled to have a software tool to make it easier to transcribe and search family records. Kindex is doing something new (private archives with indexing tools) that has been traditionally reserved for historically significant collections or official records. Kindex believes that every voice should have a place in history, and Kindex provides an avenue where everyday families can accomplish this.
Kindex listens closely to user feedback and works hard to improve the user experience and address concerns. Kindex is a young, growing company with a vision to rescue family records wherever they are found. They recognize areas where improvement is needed and will be releasing several updates over the next month to address some of these gaps, including:
- Improved home page with updated support materials and clear product pricing & features
- Help videos and webinars
- Improved account and subscription options (updating/changing a subscription, deleting accounts, etc.)
Regarding privacy, K-index has received a few questions about their policy which is part of their user agreement.
Included in their Terms & Conditions is an agreement that users must either
- Own the record they are archiving and transcribing
- Have permission from the archive owner.
The archive owner always retains copyright of the original and data generated from the record (such as a transcription). Kindex has a license to create derivatives of such material for the purposes of creating a searchable index within Kindex, but does not sell that content to any 3rd party. Private archives live behind the firewall are not indexed by any search engines. Public archives are indexed by search engines.
Kindex functions to bridge the gap between professional archive tools and the typical family user. While they do have some societies that use Kindex (and love it), most users are family record keepers. In striking this balance, they don’t enforce strict archival standards, but rather make it the responsibility of the archive owner to ensure the accuracy of the data attached to records.
That being said, they are leaving room for a professional version of Kindex in the future that utilizes stricter archival standards and tools for reviewing and approving transcriptions.
What Advice Does Kindex Have for People Needing to Index and Transcribe Records?
- Start small, and start now. Being overwhelmed with the scope of preserving family records is a universal feeling. Often families will delay, saying they’ll start once “everything is scanned”. In reality, scanning is like laundry – it’s almost never done. Start with what you have.
- Start with the records most at risk. Is there a family member that is elderly, ill, or moving? These are the times when records get lost or thrown out. Reach out to them, help them.
- Ask for help. Don’t work in a silo: recruit helpers and set short-term goals. Work in small batches.
- Recruit young people and others adept at social media. It pays to have people who can help promote your cause quickly and easily.
Various Public Kindex Projects
Kindex has a variety of public projects that serve various purposes and help people in their genealogy archiving.
One project that Cathy mentions is from last year where they helped the Willis Whittlesey family scan a collection of family records that included letters from 1841 to 1900. This collection included letters from ancestors who served in the Civil War. They were fascinating.
More details on this project can be found here.
Generally, families create their own archives (public or private). Anyone can access a public archive and transcribe as a guest (free account required). Here are two examples of a public family archive:
If someone wanted to contribute a record they felt belonged in that archive, they would contact the archive owner and request to become a Collaborator.
Check out the publicly collaborative archive: found.kindex.org
This is a collection of “lost”, orphaned records from antique stores and flea markets. It’s free for anyone to add, index, or search those records.
More public, crowdsourced archives will be added in the future.
Kindex will be at RootsTech 2018 February 27th – March 3rd in Salt Lake City. You can find them at booth number 1402.
Cathy will be teaching the class: “Hoarder to Order: Step-by-Step Family Records Rescue.” This class will be on Thursday, March 1st at 1:30 pm.
Kindex will also be announcing great new features and pricing structure for their website services at RootsTech. Read more about the new features on their latest blog.
On March 1st, Kindex will release their new Kindex Rewards program, where users can earn credits for adding and indexing records. Each user has the potential of earning earn a single, $5 credit per month to apply to their subscription.
At the same time, Kindex is announcing new subscription options:
- Public archives for $5/month
- Private archives for $10/month
That means if you are actively indexing, you could potentially pay nothing for an archive with unlimited records and collaborators!
About Cathy Gilmore
Cathy Gilmore is a business owner, mother, and record rescuer. As co-founder of Kindex LLC, her archival software received the People’s Choice Award in the 2017 RootsTech Innovator Showdown — a validation from record-keepers everywhere that can now collaborate, index, and search every word of their records. Cathy earned a BA in English at the University of Utah and is pursuing a graduate certificate program in Archival Studies. She and her husband Ed live in Murray, Utah with their four daughters.