Let The Challenge Begin

Join us this summer as we put our hands together to key 8 million records between June 1st and August 31st.  We’re calling it the World Record Challenge.

As always, the records you key will be made available to the public for free.  But this summer, your contribution will go even further, as Ancestry.com matches the records you key with additional free collections.

You can track our progress towards 8 million records on our Facebook page.  We will update it daily with the current record count.  And remember, both record keying and record arbitration count towards the total.

Your involvement will also give you a say in upcoming collections available for keying.  In fact, after every 100 records you submit during the World Record Challenge you’ll get to vote for the collection you want to take on next.  Are you interested in records from England, Australia or the United States?  Do you want to key censuses, parish registers or convict records?  Check out these sample images and brief descriptions of each collection and then let us know.

You will find the voting feature in the bottom half of the Select Image Set screen in the Keying Tool.  Here you can cast your vote and track which collections are in the lead.  Vote after every 100 records submitted or accumulate votes and cast them all for one collection.

In addition to the benefits already listed, we will be giving away fun prizes every week throughout the summer so be sure to check back here regularly to discover the “challenge of the week.”

Up first, which contributor can key (and/or arbitrate) the MOST number of records this week?   We’ll announce the winner next Monday morning.

We hope you’ll join us.

So – flex your fingers – and let’s get keying!

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Reader Comments

Whoever keys city directories will probably win the Most Records Keyed…

Most Records arbitrated is anyone’s guess. For the most part the city directories don’t increase the arbitration count much. British post maybe?

Also…. PLEASE don’t jack up your count by keying only the required fields. Whatever you work on, fill the whole thing out.

This worries me as people will try to key faster and more mistakes will be made, a lot of people are not remembering the golden rule ‘Key what you see’. This is evident on the London Schools project as the date should be keyed as seen I do arbitration and a lot of sets are rejected because one keyer or the other add extra digits to the year.

They shouldn’t be rejected over the year issue. I hope!

Just arb in favour of the correct keyer. If both keyers do 4 digit years, it is acceptable to let it by. (as long as they are the RIGHT years.)

Let’s get some World Archives MAC support so I can key too! I’m woefully behind on my Ancestry keying!

The vote procedure in OK.

But it takes a long time to refresh the main screen after finishing an image or requisting additional images

I agree with Paulmd & Kath.
As an arbitrator, I see so many errors that are simple mistakes that could easliy be avoided by a quick review of keying.
Now that it is going “competitive” I’m afraid speed will outflank accuracy and errors will increase.
The most important thing here is making accurate information available
to the public.
I hope we don’t lose sight of that.


To summarize:

THE records are more important than YOUR records.

It is important that quality be maintained.

Oh no! Just as I was going to cut back on my keying and arbitrating because of twinges of epicondilitis in my elbows! I must cut back! I must cut back! LOL

Quality NOT quantity.

What happens to the records that dont win the voting, will they be keyed later, by the ancestry team, or not at all?

Type your comment here.

I am gonna hope that all of these records will be keyed in the future. They are just giving us the reward of getting to choose which one is first.

Fantastic idea for letting us choose though. I’ve been working much more actively at keying and arbitrating because of this….and no, i’m not rushing, just doing more. :)

Requesting that you repeat this idea again in the future.

I am really confused here. I went on today to vote and could not find out where to vote. I saw the results of other votes, but couldn’t find where I could vote. Also, when it asks if I am part of a society, do I key in yes since I am doing one or what happens with this?


Votes are earned 1 per 100 records keyed and or arbitrated.

You won’t be able to place votes until you index sufficient records. Fortunately 1oo records doesn’t take too long.

The society thing is for data gathering . For projects that are sponsored. You are asked if you are part of one of the sponsor societies. A separate society that is not sponsoring the particular project, or none at all. Multiple choice.

This is harder than I thought it would be. I watched all the tutorials, but I can’t find out how to search the birth records in Scotland in the years 1628-1633,
I need to find information, not just to talk. Is this worth the money?

Us poor Ozzies don’t have a chance here to get our records next.

Loads of mistakes now in arbitration, so will expect many times more now. Extra votes for me.

Agree with buttonboots, Quality NOT quantity.

Gail, Because of how the system works, more keying = more votes. It’s not hopeless for a determined group of Ozzies. Most efficient way to earn votes is on city directories.

One set of Sands may be worth 6-10.

Dear Cindy, what you do is you click on search, go to the bottom and Select UK&Ireland, click Scotland, click birth marriage and death records, and select the year range, in your case 1628-1633, hope that helps

I also would like to know what happens to the losing records, will they be keyed later, by the ancestry team, or not at all?

1) Offer prizes to volunteers with the most number of accurately keyed records, weighted by difficulty of the project,

i.e., Score = Records keyed multiplied by Accuracy rating multiplied by project Difficulty (x 1 (Easy), x 2 (Average), x 3 (Difficult).

2) Let’s be fair and intelligently realize that junk in = a waste of resources.

I also want a Mac keying tool soon, and one that works properly, too.

3) Let us vote on projects, year round.

To Kath: I hope the London School project has special instructions for the year. The WAP standard is to expand a two digit year to a four digit year. If you’re rejecting them for that, and the project doesn’t have special instructions, you are the one making a mistake.

Looking forward to doing a good job.

Do you support MAC?

Quote Marty “The WAP standard is to expand a two digit year to a four digit year”

Actually it is to key what you see unless otherwise stated. You should not expand anything unless it says to do so in the directions for that project.

I just found out that my great-great grandfather was an inmate in prison in Illinois..Where would I look to find out about inmates?

I would like to say that for us Australians who have buggar all records on its site with Australian content, that Iam sick of waiting for new records to come on line and I am wondering is Ancestry paying anyone to key for them and for the money I pay in membership fees I just want these records on line asap and I dont want anyone voting for me what records I want to see on line COME ON ANCESTRY GIVE US A FAIR GO !!!!!!!!

I’d like to help on this project. Several ancestors sailed on ships and might be found with these records being usable.

Shouldn’t the winner of last week’s challenge have been announced by now, and this week’s challenge set?

enise (#24):
Have a look at the Keying Standards.

Marty (#21) :

Have a look at the project specific advice for London Schools.

Kath (#2):
A difference in year format is not, by itself a good enough reason to reject the image. Just Arbitrate out the differences.

I would have posted the URLS. But It seems that triggers moderation, who have thus far neither banned, nor accepted the last version of this.

Like this idea of joining with other in increasing ancestry.

??Where is the sample image for “Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices” ??????

Dear chetnichols, ancestry has not yet released the sample image for this yet. I dont even know if it ever will. Hopefully it will be released in the future!

Whats eveyone voting for, I was voting for the New Mexico census, but now im voting for the Australia criminal indents. Anyone like to share what their voting for?

To Denise: No, the WAP standard _is_ to key a 4 digit year. Quoting from the standard “Years should be entered as 4-digit years when possible. If the year on the image is only 2 digits please try to determine what century the event occurred in. There is typically information on the image that will assist you in determining if it is 2008 vs 1008. If you are unable to determine the century please key the two digit year.”

Paul – I hadn’t had a chance to check the project specific, though at least I did note that I hoped that that project had a different standard (which it does).

TO JOHN–Thanks for the comeback

What does that mean

Re Worries concerning keying mistakes is very possible. . . but at the same time, I’m sure there is a greater part of the keying population who want nothing more than to assure the highest quality. I maintain a monthly account with the World version of Ancestry.com, to somehow piece together an accurate genealogy, that I really cannot financially maintain; but, on the other hand, I want to be sure that other people seeking their ancestors have the best source of information, just as the records (previously keyed by someone else) that I tapped into helped me. I have a sense most of the volunteers key in as accurately possible with the same integrity in mind. I might be incorrect, of course, but as repetitive as this project can be, I am attracted by the curiosity of the past–perhaps others could comment on why they have chosen to participate in this project (not that I am a regular to the blogs . . . )

I voted for ( Register of Duties Paid for Apprentices ) But where are these records? In pick a project drop down list it’s not listed. Or am I missing something

They will release the Top Record voted for August 31, after polls close

To Paul.
Thanks Paul for the explanation. I thought that when I saw the percentages on the left when I was voting, these were alredy being keyed.Didn’t realise it was one of these records we were voting for too be keyed,although it does explain. Anyway the penny has dropped know, thanks.

No problem Eileen, Ancestry hasn’t explained it with great detail but they said polls close for voting August 31. Probably the Top voted project will come out shortly after in September sometime, then the project in second will be released, and so on and so forth.

I am having a hard time with finding info of the Dutch-East Indies where I have several generations. Is it worth becoming a member when I have browsed all over for a clue and hardly getting any. Anything on Penang Malaysia????

Just joined the challenge and find that many place names in Scotland eg. Glasgow are not recognised by the keying system and the box is identified as ‘requiring review’. Is it possible to add more Scottish place names to the list and is this perhaps something I could help with?

PS In the article you refer to England, Australia & the United States. Please in future could reference be to United Kingdom rather than just England. Thanks.

I think we neeed a better way to
Find family members who fall in the
Gaps for example from England or
United Kingdom to Canada befor They were a Canada census. two a way to

Please add Mac soon … I’d love to help, but all my computers are Macs :(

Ummmm, I pay over $30.00 USD/mo. to Ancestry, and you ask if I want to key??

How can we get a name misspelling corrected? I understand that it is transcribed as it is seen, but once a name is transcribed can it be changed? Someone finally found my family in the 1920 census but it is incorrect.

I’d love to help but I too am on Mac. Let’s get this fixed quickly as the MAC genealogy world is huge!

It worries me that you’re placing such importance on speed rather than accuracy. In the time that I’ve been using Ancestry.com, I’ve found several errors in transcription of census records. Seemingly insignificant typos can make an entire document useless because it will never turn up in a search for a name which has been misspelled. I wish you would reward accuracy rather than speed!

This comment is for those who are worried that names are incorrectly transcribed on census indexes. Sometimes the name is only distinguishable by someone related to the individual listed. In that case, we can make a suggested correction- on the left side of the census listing (not the image), there is link to “Add alternate information” (including line number, house number, street name, name, estimated birth year, birth place, Father’s birth place and Mother’s birth place). Here you can give the correct spelling, and reasons why you know this.

These corrections are reviewed by Ancestry, and when accepted the alternate information is included in the index. I have made corrections several times for people who were otherwise very difficult to find on the index.

Sorry, JudySue, but that method of adding alternative corrections doesn’t work with library ancestry accounts. I’ve tried with Census images. Ancestry’s loss.

Will there be more records added to the Newspapers/Periodicals section of Ancestry.Com? The reason I ask is that I have a family mystery to be solved, involving the Petersburg Progress Index Newspaper.
The records from this group are sporradic at best. I can find the death of my G-G GreatGrandfather in 1872, however not his son in 1873???

Type your comment here.

How do I get started? Honestly, I would love to transcribe Census & Vital records because so many of my ancestors have been found by going through the images page by page because they are typically unreadable but I’ve deciphered many of them!

Can we please get a Mac version?

very annoying to be working on my family tree and this pops up and hard to remove

[…] you are a member of our Ancestry World Archives community then you know all about the World Record Challenge.  If you are not yet a member of our community, we thought we would let you in on what we have […]

[…] you are a member of our Ancestry World Archives community then you know all about the World Record Challenge.  If you are not yet a member of our community, we thought we would let you in on what we have […]