Webinar Announcement – Keyed In: Learn the Ins and Outs of Arbitration

Join us Thursday for an hour exploring the world of arbitration and for the opportunity to ask us questions regarding arbitration and the World Archives Project.

I will be leading you through the arbitration process, and the keying guidelines as well as providing insights into how you can become a better keyer through arbitrating.  I will be joined by our Index Audit Supervisor, Scott Galloway and Indexing DP  Manager, Crista Cowan.

We have two options for times you can attend, one at 6 pm GMT and the second at 8 pm EST.   You can click on the times previously listed or visit the Learning Center to register to attend.  We hope to see you there!

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For the mere mortals downunder, could you translate those times for us? ie if it’s 6pmGMT, what time is it in Western Australia – we’re on daylight saving.
If it’s 8pmEST – what time is that? which country for EST?

EST is Eastern Standard Time. It is the east coast of the US. I know that EST is 13 hours earlier than China, if that helps!

Thanks Beth. I think that means that Perth, West Aust is 15 hours ahead of EST, so 8pm EST on Thursday would be 11am Perth on Friday.

Does that sound right to anyone who can work this out?


There are any number of time zone calculators. Use your search engine of choice and enter World Clock. Some just give you the current time in lots of major cities. so, it’s currently 10:45 EST, and that makes it 12:45 PM tomorrow in Perth!

Thanks Bruce. Got it into the brain now.

How long is this due to run for please?

Sorry, I have just spotted that it is for an hour! (This cold has gone to my head!)

If you can’t come out and play at either time, will it be posted on the net afterwards so we can view it later?

I was also woundering if it can be watched later, as I will be at work,so will not be able to attend the webinar

I hope this talk will include these things….

1. the specific criteria used to offer “by invitation only” the arbitration link to keyers.
2. ….whether or not arbitrators only arbitrate the project types they have also spent time keying. Most Andrews keyers agree that the Andrews cards require much more thought about categories and proper keying (and are more above an Average Difficulty) than any other Projects, especially when the Main Record’s name is “also known as” 3 to 5 other names, or when one clipping or multiple clippings on 1 page contains multiple sections for record types.
3. … whether arbitration could be a split task where some arbitrators could check simple fields, like spelling and dates, while more experienced (“better”) arbitrators could check choice of section types etc. This would allow more keyers to see what arbitration involves as well as speed the arbitration process because more people would be working on arbitration.
4. … how the Percent Correct is not a very good indicator of how good a keyer is, but rather, how often their keying has been judged as okay when sent to arbitration — at least this is how many of us are understanding how you arrive at the Percent figure.
5. …what specifically happens when a keyer’s work is rejected by an arbitrator.
6. … if Ancestry plans to give specific feedback about what most keyers are doing wrong; we key without much guidance and receive no feedback about what we did wrong;
6. … how Arbitrator’s work is evaluated for accuracy and evaluation of judgment calls that the arbitrator makes.
7. …. how you ensure all arbitrators are making the same decisions about what to reject.
8. … if an arbitrator rejects a record and when it is later re-keyed is it re-arbitrated by a different (or the same) arbitrator…

9. I also hope you permit volunteers to express their main points of current discouragement about helping Ancestry with these projects. I think I just listed 8 questions that can cause dissatisfaction among keyers because we lack sufficient information.


One more question I’d like to see answered:

Illegible entries
On many Andrews’ cards, the handwriting is unreadable or one Keyer may be unable to identify location because the keyer is not familiar with that overseas city and the keyer does not want to create an error. Does the “illegible” choice negatively affect the keyer’s percent of correct? especially if keyer A got it right and Keyer B marked it as illegible?

The Andrews cards are a pain to arbitrate because usually neither keyer has made even a good attempt at entering information. For marriages the spouse, witnesses and father are often missing. On some both fathers are shown but only one record is created. In the case of probate reports there are often beneficiaries whose names could be entered, and are not. There is also the difficulty when one card is the continuation of the previous one, which I reported to Ancestry some time ago, but no advice has been offered. (The only response from the Support Team was that the image set could not be pulled up by him! Really?) I could go on but it would make a very long list.

Well done Judy for your comments and points of view as regards the arbitration. I have certainly been discouraged by my averages when really I have no idea of what I am doing wrong. Could it be my translation of the names are wrong? but I have been translating from microfich for years now, and really don’t find the handwriting a problem. But everone makes mistakes and one or two errors I could understand, but it’s the not knowing that is the problem.
I certainly hope all your questions get aired and can’t wait for Thursday.

While we’re all having a good moan – heres another one. I’ve noticed recently that some of the field helps have changed but there is nothing to highlight the change, e.g. the England & wales Criminal Registers used to say enter the County, and I used to take the trouble to google place names to find out which county they were in. Now it says that if a town is gievn, enter it unaltered. I don’t know hopw long I’ve been ignoring this changed instruction, but my % has gone down!

THe notice about the ‘Webinar’ has only just reached me, too late to be involved, but I don’t lnow what a ‘Webinar’ is or how to partake in it and then the difference in time zones makes it very difficult for people who don’t live in the US. I live in Canberra Australia.

I agree with many of the comments already made – especially Judy’s.

Surely for each project there should be a simple explanation available of what is required to be keyed into each field. A simple dot point explanation is all taht is required.

I am now confused as to whether the town or County should be entered – the last I saw it was the County.

The Andrew’s Card – I enjoy them and have been keying EVERY name that appears on each card, but I would like to know which field in the keying process will be searchable – is it only the surname and given name? If this is explained for each project it makes it obvious that each name should be entered, even witnesses.

I have had cards that start out with a marriage but then have other information such as a death or a birth of a child, and I am not sure what category this entry should go in. I have been using the type of the first entry.

A simple set of guidelines for each project would help the keyers and surely improve the accuracy rate and therefore help the arbitrators.

Margaret Parkes

The notice was posted on Jan 9th (ie Friday), so I would assume that means that the webinar is on Thursday, the 15th – so you should have plenty of time to sign up and figure out what a webinar is.


First, Happy New Year to all of the ANCESTRY family.

Secondly, Judy Florian (#10) hit the critical issues & concerns of the keyers right on points. I came on board 11/21/08 and up to now my keying record is 3532 w/ 75% accuracy rating. My accuracy has stood pat @ 75% for two weeks now. I am not in competition for the best grade, but 75% indicates to me that close to 900 of my records are erred. This, by my standards, is not a professionally acceptable level of work. By the way, the vast majority of my input is the England & Wales Criminal Records.

I have sent several inquiries to World Archives, but I have not received a definitive answer as to what exactly my 75% represents. I understand lag times, but for my keying to stagnate at the same level for two weeks (I average nearly 70 recs/day)is a little discomforting.

I thoroughly enjoy the work, but I feel I am operating in a vacuum. Maybe the logistics will not allow the luxury of definitive feedback, but the same entity that calculates our accuracy rating must surely be capable of cursory feedback as to what my common or frequent errors have been.

I study the threaded discussions, but even these forum(a) provide contradictory standards. One arbitrator stated that he ruled against keyers (England & Wales Criminal) who entered OTHER & not IMPRISONMENT for defendants receiving a ‘imprisonment until fine paid’ sentence. Are we privy to the fact that maybe the defendant or his family did not immediately pay this sum upon pronouncement of sentence? This is similar to our present day system of “$500 or 15 days.”

At this point I am discouraged to continue because I see no constructive learning curve.



I’ve been keying in the England and Wales Criminal records and the Andrews cards.

On the Criminal records we are asked to put imprisonment if the sentence is penal servitude but as we in the UK know penal servitude means transportation to a penal colony. Also, in the 19th century, counties were known as ‘County of’ Lancaster, York, Bristol etc. Therefore keying in Lancashire and Yorkshire is not technically correct.

With regard to the Andrews cards, I have keyed in ‘Other’ if there is more than one piece of info on a clipping. I noticed that some registry offices in the London area have a card for each family and use that card to enter all births, marriages and deaths within that family. Perhaps a heading as ‘family’ might be more appropriate.


For Gary at no 17. There is another posting string all about the % correct, which seems to be rather controversial amongst keyers. Somewhere in that string, it is explained that your percentage is calculated from ONLY the records you entered that had to be arbitrated. It is likely that the vast majority of the records you have keyed agree with the other keyer and will therefore never be arbitrated – these are then not used to calculate your percentage. Which many people have commented is a misleading way of calculating accuracy, but apparently that is how it is currently done.
So your 75% might mean that, so far, only 4 of the records you entered have differed from the other keyer and have completed arbitration, and of those four, the arbitrator decided that you were correct on 3 of them.
Also, I read in another posting that on the England and Wales criminal registers there is a very large backlog of records awaiting arbitration, so it is possible that records you entered haven’t reached arbitration yet. I think one of the reasons they are running the arbitration webinar will be to help clear the backlog.

For Jackie at no 18, I have done a bit of checking and several websites suggest that penal servitude was a sentence of imprisonment in the UK with hard labour. So it is not the same as transportation and should be classed as imprisonment. (See Wikipedia and the Bedford Schools web sites.)

Question for the Webinar: What I would like to know is why do image sets appear for arbitration, you open them, and then don’t have to do anything – just then resubmit them. I thought that only image sets that differ should appear for arbitration. I have noticed that every single image set is appearing for arbitration whether it needs it or not (in the vast majority however it does need it) but it would save Arbiters a bit of time not having to open and download sets unnecessarily. I am doing the England and Wales Criminal Registers.

Thank you Helen (see #19.

When you get down to it, the rating is misleading or arbitrary to say the least. A keyer can actually be inputting at a 95% or better accuracy, but has a 75% arbitrator rating.

I surely hope this is clarified during the seminar. The keyers should still receive some type of constructive feedback/correction.

The webinar is on Thursday, January 15. If you are not able to attend but want to view it the webinar will be archived a day or two after and will be available here, http://learn.ancestry.com/LearnMore/Webinars.aspx .

During the webinars we will be discussing topics posted here, on the message boards and that we receive by email. Our hope is that you come away with a better understanding of both the keying and arbitration process.

For Viv Pyner (#12):

I’ve gone to the other extreme and wondered if I am wrong to do so: I key every name I see except the Court Clerk’s name. But I remember one Ancestry ‘official’ saying they just wanted the most about the primary person at the top of the card and to ignore the rest! To me, that’s like giving someone a 5-course meal and telling them “Just eat the soup, but leave everything else alone.” So, I key it ALL.

You or another poster said that Keyers leave out one or both sets of parents of a marriage. I flip it.. line #1 is one spouse with his/her parents and line #2 is the other spouse with his/her parents. Should this be Section 1 and Section 2 instead? Seems easier as Line 1 and Line 2 under one Section with category Marriage.
Tip on Marriages: If you enter hubby first, it is hubby’s parents on that line. Whoever is in the first box, it is that person’s parents later on that line.

For marriage witnesses or Will witnesses/beneficiaries, I categorize as “other” then key the limited info for each as Line 1, Line 2, and so on. Should each NAME be instead listed as its own SECTION, too, when all of them are “other”? And, when all just have the name and date with no other info (seems a waste to do a new Section here).

I usually make Section 1: Marriage with line 1, 2 for each spouse.
Section 2: Marriage Witnesses .. A section for Death then Section and “Other” for “person present at death.” Attorneys is a different Section and is also “other”.

For people with “also known as” I list each name for that same person on a separate line, and do my very best to get the corect previous name with the corrct married-next name / correct spouse. Then, I flip to a New Section to list the Marriages, one per Section.

A lot of times it seems such a waste to make a new Section just to list a name (with no other data). But if that is the only sensible option, I have done it.

So, to re-cap, I decide Sections by putting apples with apples, oranges with oranges. If I’m making an “Section – Other” for Will witnesses, they are separate from “Section – other” for Attorney names. And “Section – Other” for ‘we’re looking for relatives named X ,Y, and Z becayse your great-aunt Sally died.’

Is my approach of keeping “apples & apples” and “oranges & oranges” in their own Sections the right way to key?

Lastly, where did the Andrews Cards go? Looking for more to download… need my fix for the week–LOL.

And, maybe someone can answer this. I know I can delete a Section if I mistakenly hit it. But, let’s say you key line 1 & line 2. But in your zeal the tab goes into line 3, 4th cell across. You don’t need line 3. HOW do you make Line 3 go away? If you only have cell 1 showing pink, you can do shift+Tab to back it up. But if the cursor gets into any other cell of line 3, it won’t back it up to get rid of Line 3. I end up filling line 3 with blanks if I can’t make the unneeded line go away. HOW can I delete an UNneeded LINE after the cursor has gone halfway across the line?



Judy, what you say seems eminently sensible. I do not see the point of only entering some of the names on the Andrews cards and not the others. Even witnesses to a wedding can give us more information about our ancestors. I have been entering witnesses in the same section as the event they are witnessing, but your approach seems equally valid.

As far as your last paragraph is concerned I am not sure if you mean when arbitrating or keying, but there is probably a button you can click which will do what you want, if only you can work out which one. If a blank record appears at arbitration it is easy enough to delete in the Match Records section.

To answer Debbie, I try to look at all records, even when both keyers have entered the same, because sometimes I disagree with them, (in a very small percentage of cases). For example in one case both keyers entered Crofs, when they should have entered Cross.

Judy No 24

I agree with your last sentence. How do you get rid of ‘excess pinks’?
I have had to put ‘blank’ through 24 cells on one occasion!


For Debbie at 21.
The reason for offering all record sets for arbitration is to allow both keyed sets to be checked for completeness under the match records tab. I have had sets where both keyers had entered exactly the same information but had missed records that had been entered further down the page. The keyers obviously assumed that when they came upon the clerks signature the records ended, this was not so.
Annoyingly, whilst checking the recorded entries I also missed the entries further down the page and only noticed after arbitrating the record set. This entailed returning to the match records tab and adding the missing records, annoying, as this can not be done under the arbitrate records tab.

To reiterate, if matching keyed sets had not been sent for arbitration then the missing records would never have been found.

I would like to know what happens to records that the arbitrator enters that the keyers have missed. Is there further arbitration to check the validaty of the arbitrators entries.

I registered for the 6PM GMT Webinar session, received a confirmation email which said I’d receive another email 2 hrs before the session with the link…this I didn’t receive and unable to find someone to help.

Am I the only one?


I signed up for the webinar, did the test, downloaded what it said to download, disabled the popup stopper but I still couldn’t get into the webinar. I don’t know what I did wrong or how I can fix it so I can be in on the next one. Not sure I even want to try again.

Re Mick at 27.
I totally agree with you about the missed records. However, I am actually coming across records that are EXACTLY the same as far as keying and matching the pages go. One, for example only had 2 records to enter on each page. Everything was identical (and I agreed with), down to page numbers, counties and page type. I triple checked everything but could see no reason for them to be arbitrated. There were no other records to be entered on either page. Even though I see no harm in checking these sets as they come through I just simply think it could be a better use of my time and effort to arbitrate sets that actually need it.

Maxine and Donna

You haven’t missed it. It is 6pm GMT today the 15th, which may be some time on the 16th for you.

I apologize for the confusion about the timing for the webinars. The first webinar is at 6 pm GMT or 1 pm EST and the second is at 8 pm EST or Friday the 16th at 3 am GMT.

Or Maybe the top Arbitrator for the 90 days gets free membership for 1 year! That would be a great goal!

Is an arbitrated the same as a Keyer?

Am I right? Right now is 15 minutes before the 1pm est time ? It is Thurs the 15th.

I did not get the pre-notice 2-hour email. I don’t have a link to go to the talk (the one in the confirmation mail doesn’t go to any webinar).

I ***really*** want to attend. Where is it?


Hi everyone, it is only 3 minutes now before the first webinar will start…see you soon.

Click on the link again in your email – then scroll to the bottom of this page.

Hi ok have figured it out my mums from UK. MST is 7 hours. So lets see Colorado MST to UK is 7 hours. So 12pm MST to UK is 7pm in UK.

EST would be 5 hours difference, to UK.

so 8pm EST should be 1AM UK time. Hope this helps

I have missed the “Ins and Outs of Arbitration” seminar. Is there any way to see it?

Is there an archive on the webinars? I would like to see this one if there is.

The archived webinars are now available – you can view them by selecting the session you would like to watch here, http://learn.ancestry.com/LearnMore/Webinars.aspx .

I really have no idea how this program works – I keep asking for help to guide me but so far have heard nothing

I’m confused about the arbitration records count. I have keyed over 12,000 records. One day my arbitration count is 5,600 the next 4,889, the next 5,080. It goes up and down. How can that be?