Monday Milestones – Happy New Year!

It is hard to believe that it is already 2010.  Last year seemed to fly right on past me.  However, for our team meeting today I was asked to prepare a review of what has been accomplished this past year in the Ancestry World Archives Project.  So, I spent most of my morning reviewing statistics and numbers, message board postings and blog posts, tweets and Facebook comments all from this past year.  I realized that even though it flew by, a great deal happened during that time.

The first thing that impressed me was how many of you joined our ranks in 2009 – over 23,000 people from all around the world.  We’re so glad to have each and every one of you become a part of this great effort.  For those of you who are new (and as a refresher course for some of you who may have been with us for a while) let me just reiterate some things about the program.

·         Once they go live on the sites, the INDEXES you are creating will be 100% free to everyone!

·         The IMAGES for these databases require a subscription to view unless you are an active Ancestry World Archives Project contributor.  If you are an active contributor you have free access to all images for all World Archives collections.

·         Active contributors are those who key a minimum of 900 records every 90 days.

The second thing that impressed me as I reviewed all the data from the past year was the sheer volume of your contribution.  (It reminded me that I need to step up my game to keep up with some of you!)  Your grand totals for 2009?

·         Records Keyed: 23,265,469

·         Records Arbitrated: 4,896,998

Now, some of you may be so overwhelmed by those incredible numbers that you may have missed a subtle significance they contain.  So, let me provide a quick refresher on another point as well. 

Currently, every record is keyed by two different people.  A computer then takes those two sets of data and compares them.  Any discrepancies are then sent to a third, more experienced, keyer who decides which person keyed it correctly (or if neither did, how the correct entry should read).  So, collectively you keyed over 23 million records.  That represents double keying, which means there were over 11.6 million actual records produced.  Of those, less than 4.9 million required arbitration.  That means that over 6.7 million times what you keyed matched exactly what the other person keyed.

Phew!  That was too much like a scary math story problem from high school.  I promise not to throw too many of those your way in the coming year.  I also promise to do my best to keep up with you in keying and to keep you informed here on the blog.  My latest project of choice (addiction?) is the British Postal Appointments.  If you haven’t checked those out, you really should.  They are VERY fun!

Until next time – Happy Keying! (and Happy New Year!)

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Reader Comments

Christa do those numbers also reflect the records that were keyed by 2 people then rejected and had to be rekeyed by 2 more people? 4 people got credit for keying 1 record.

When you say 900 keyed goes that include records arbitrated?

Christa,you say that 6.7 million records arbitrated by the computer were judged as being correct because the records matched. I do however wonder just how many of these were in fact incorrect because both the keyers had keyed incorrectly?
When arbitrating we so often have to change records that both keyers have keyed incorrectly although the computer has accepted them as being correct.

How do we claim the subscription reduction please?

Melodee, Claire, and all,
To receive the discount we do total your records keyed with records arbitrated so it is an overall total of 900 records in the last 90 days – at the time your renewal is up.

To receive the discount you can email our support team, or call Ancestry Member Support, 1-800- Ancestry in the U.S. and there are international numbers as well (I can’t seem to recall them right now though).

As a very new keyer achieving only 76% accuracy, will I be given feedback as to where I am going wrong?

Suggest you try one of the easy projects first such as NYC Naturalization Indexes.

Then review the Message Boards where you will see tips on common mistakes posted by the arbitrators.

The following post is really helpful:


Thanks for your comments, however I prefer to key UK based projects and have moved on the Post Office records.

I would like to know how many new people drop out after keying a few hundred records and receiving a low accuracy rating? I started keying records before accuracy was displayed and I had already discovered most of the mistakes I was making by asking questions through feedback by the time it was displayed.

I think we could significantly reduce mistakes, and provide a more rewarding experience if we would/could provide feedback during arbitration for the first 100 records an individual keyed in a set.

I have arbitrated 13000+ records and would gladly take the additional time to provide feedback.

I agree with Steve. While I have not arbitrated as many records, I would gladly give feedback. It is so much more encouraging to begin something new when you have someone guiding you.

One way to start this would be to have specific projects for new keyers that give feedback. Then they can move on to projects that are more advanced when they are more familiar with the keying tool, guidelines, and the boards.

I fully agree with Steve and Adrienne. After seeing my accuracy decrease again with no feedback, I am seriously thinking of withdrawing from the Project. Feedback would certainly provide a more rewarding experience. Please consider this issue as soon as possible. Thanks!

Hi Suzanne (Jan 13th). If you post a message on the appropriate project board there are often other keyers/arbitrators who will offer to help you on a one-to-one basis. Often it’s nice to be able to email a fellow keyer and share a problem. It’s a good way to learn – and really helpful if the other person is quite experienced.
Come and join the Sands Team – we’re a friendly bunch – and there are a few Sands keyers/arbitrators around including myself) who would be happy to help you. Ours is the ‘International Directories’ board. You’ll find this post quite helpful –
Good luck; stay with it.

Just getting started on this and will need some guidance.