WRC: Holiday 2010 Edition

Two points.  And then an announcement.

  1. The next two months are filled with holidays of all sorts, all around the world.  While we tend to get pretty busy in the midst of it all, most of these holidays have a common theme of gratitude and giving.  (Plus, today is my birthday.  That means I love, LOVE, this time of year.)

  3. We frequently survey various segments of our World Archives community.  Each time we do we learn again that, for most of you, the reason you participate in record indexing is so you can give back to the genealogy community.


So – in the spirit of gratitude and giving – we announce the World Record Challenge:  Holiday 2010 Edition.  Now your contribution can go even further!

During the months of November and December you can compete with over 60,000 Ancestry World Archives Project contributors around the world in a holiday edition of the World Record Challenge.  Every record keyed and arbitrated counts.  At the end of December, the top five contributors will win grant money to be donated, in their name, to a non-profit genealogical or historical organization of their choice.  Prizes will be awarded in January as follows:

1st Place $2500
2nd Place $1500
3rd Place $500
4th Place $250
5th Place $250

The top 10 contributors will be posted each week on the World Archive Facebook page so you can keep track of the competition.  Join us there and tell us which society you would give money to and what you hope they would use the money for.  (And, if you are a member of a society, encourage your fellow society members to sign up and contribute.  Theoretically, one society could win all $5000.)

Not only that but we’ll tally every record you key and arbitrate during the months of November and December and those “points” can be redeemed for fun prizes.  Indexing points redeemable for prizes as follows:

5,000 – AWAP Water Bottle or T-Shirt (while supplies last)
10,000 – “10,000 Record Club” badge to post on your Facebook profile or blog
20,000 – FTM 2011 (for PC or MAC), DNA Kit, or MyCanvas gift certificate
40,000 – Gift certificate for a two-hour consultation with a professional genealogist
100,000 – Free One-Year World Deluxe Ancestry.com Subscription

Once you have enough points for the prize you want, send us an email at WorldArchivesProject@ancestry.com listing your AWAP User Name and the prize you want.  We’ll verify your record count and mail out your prize within two weeks.  You can keep them for yourselves, or give them as gifts to family members (or even your society).

So – check out the list of projects currently available.  And, whether any of the record collections are pertinent to your research areas of interest or not, we hope you’ll join us to get them indexed, knowing that your contribution makes a difference – to the people looking for their ancestors and, possibly, to your favorite society as well.

Until next time – Happy Keying!

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Happy Birthday Crista,

Can we claim more than one prize if we do enough records?



If we win the grant are we going to have to file that on our taxes?

@Mark – Thanks. And, yes.

@Judy – The grant will be going directly to the organization that you select. The only requirement is that they be a non-profit genealogical or historical organization. Thus, there is not tax implication for you (because you are not receiving the grant directly) and there is no tax implication for them since they are a non-profit organization.

From the rubbish I’ve seen keyed recently, you’d be better encouraging accuracy.

I’m hoping that with this ‘General Challenge’ that some of the oldest projects will finally get completed.

There is definitely a problem with these types of contests. Arbitration is hard when there are ones trying to key as many records as possible and do not bother to key in all fields.

Happy Birthday!

Now if you can come up with a keying challenge that is based on the number of records keyed and a high accuracy rating (based on just those records), that would be a win-win.
The arbitration deadline would have to extend past the keying deadline.
I’m sure that it would be harder to implement than my simple thought.

I agree with Ann.It is all well and good having speed challenges but not if accuracy is going to suffer as a result.
The number of records keyed and a high accuracy rating would be a good idea.

As a few others have mentioned, this type of thing tends to hurt the accuracy of the records. You should have a minimum level of accuracy set (say, 80%) for those in the contest, and an “extra credit” bonus for better accuracy. Please consider this!

I hope your birthday was wonderful 🙂

The problem I personally have with the minimum accuracy rating is that when i pick an unpopular project and run with it, i can get so far ahead that most of my sets will not be paired, let alone arbitrated within a month and even longer. (Right now, it’s Perthshire tax and rent records. no basis for an accuracy rating on that project within the timescale of the contest!) As is the case for those who pock projects with deep queues in arbitration such as the Canada Militia or Italian records.

I for one think this particular contest is a wonderful idea. Not just the grants, but the chance to earn prizes at various levels. This opens it up to a whole lot of people who would never stand a chance in a flat out contest. There are keyers of all types here. Those who can give their undivided attention to the AWAP 24/7 and those who can only key once or twice a week. Some of the keyers are much faster typists than others, for a variety of reasons, not related to flat out typing skill–health and physical limitations come to mind here. Contests of this sort are encouraging to a much broader range of keyers.

While I am fortunate to have a fair amount of time to key, and I am also a fairly speedy and acurate keyer–accuracy hovers at 94%—I would never stand a chance in a flat out speed contest. This is because I am legally blind and use screen magnification software in addition to some of the image enhancements in the keying tool. I am able to display a lot less on a screen than most people, and do an enormous amount of horizontal scrolling as a result. However, I am pleased with both my totals and accuracy.

The key for everyone is to know their limitations. If you download a set that you really can’t decipher or understand, return it. Better than messing it up! Stick with the kinds of projects you can key correctly. Sure, we all have a bad set now and then, particularly at the start of a new project. Reading and understanding instructions is the most important factor. It is obvious when I arbitrate that a large percentage of people have difficulty following basic instructions.

I’m hoping to get enough points for the new FTM!


How do we keep track of our recods keyed/arbed as the stats only show the last 90 days?

November 1st was a great day for Birthdays. Mine too, Happy Birthday Crista.

I, for one, do strongly think accuracy should come into play because I personally might be needing/using the data that is being keyed for records in my own family tree and would like data that is complete and as correct as possible. Keying records for records sake isn’t always the best.

I agree that rushing for quantity at the stake of losing accuracy is really not desirable. I’m an arbitrator, and am constantly shocked at how badly some of the people follow instructions when they aren’t in a rush; the quality of data (and the slowness of arbitration) concerns me greatly.

I am also wondering how we can see our counts, when the keyring tool shows totals lifetime and last 90 days.

I also agree accuracy should be taken into account. It’s all very well to finish fast but I have struck some terrible mistakes on projects I have arbitrated.

What happens when a set of data is ‘rejected’? Does it still ‘count’ as being keyed? If you see were I am coming from……it may be a way of encouraging accuracy.


Yes, even though a set is rejected, it still counts. With no effect on accuacy score.

There’s really no way to tell if your work is being rejected. 🙁

I am just wondering if all these 20,000 – FTM 2011 (for PC or MAC), DNA Kit, or MyCanvas gift certificate
are available to UK contributors

I’m excited about this new challenge! However, I still haven’t gotten my prize from the summer challenge. Have they been sent out?

This is a horrible way to have records put in. It is so frustrating dealing with inaccurate records that people put into this. I have had to clean up ones that have attached to my own family tree that I am skeptical of the accuracy. When there is so much information that is messed up it is discouraging to add to my family tree on ancestry.

My question is: do any of you have PROOF that accuracy is affected during these challenges? Or are people taking more time to key in records they would otherwise not care about keying? It IS possible that people who only half-heartedly key records normally are now putting forth more effort. They aren’t as skilled at looking at the records yet, so they will have errors. HOWEVER, it doesn’t mean they are racing through them; they are just keying more than they normally do. I enjoy keying in the records, but have no personal attachment to any of the files I find easiest to key/read. So sometimes, I can go days or weeks without wanting to key. A challenge gives me a personal incentive to try hard. And because I’m not keying daily, I’ll make mistakes as I learn. But I’m not keying super fast just to get a prize, just more than I normally do in a day.

To win one of the prizes, say the free subscripeion (100,000)does that end in Dec. Or does that run all year and continue to the next year?

Happy birthday, @Denis.

Yes, @Vicki, UK contributors (and anyone else in the world) can receive any of the prizes.

@Jake – I’m not sure exactly what your concern is. Are you a keyer/arbitrator or just an Ancestry.com user?

@Starr – Exactly!

@Kathy – Only the records you key/arbitrate in Nov/Dec qualify you to receive one of the prizes. But, if you qualify for the subscription (for example) it would start in January (or when your current sub runs out) and be a full year long. Did that answer your question?


Unfortunately, it is comments like yours that put new and old keyers off. Have you even considered the time and effort that we all put in as volunteers? Have you thought about just how much your subs to ancestry would cost is we did not volunteer? Where would you get the information that you are putting in your tree if we did not volunteer?

How can it be discouraging to add any material, or in fact clean it up? The information is on the original document, even if there has been a keying mistake. Some of the hand writing we have to deal with is appalling, some of the documents are faded and worn, some are smudged, we all do the best we can.

I have been keying now for 23 months as a volunteer, yes I have probably made mistakes as have many of us, that is why we have arbitrators.

I key to try and preserve the past for future generations to be able to get this information that could have been lost due to further degeneration, or even loss of the documents completely.

Where can you see how many points you’ve accumulated?

I’d like to know how we can find out how many points we accumilate when keying in these records. Does 1 item keyed equal 1 point? Been enjoying keying after being away for quite some time. I did key some this summer, but not like I am now.

Given that Germans are one of, if not the largest immigrant population in the U.S., why is it Ancestry in its creation of projects like this one, almost always seem to exclude Germans? My ancestry is strictly German, and the near total absence of German information on your site is at best frustrating, and at worst, appalling.

I would also agree with many of the contributors here regarding issues of accuracy. I frequently encounter errors that are virtually impossible to get corrected. Case in point, look up Michael Winter, Minnesota, in the Civil War Pension Index, after 10 years (I’m not kidding!) of trying to get Ancestry to fix this, the image file for Michael is still that of Luther J. Winter… I personally believe it is irresponsible of Ancestry to continue this practice without serious modifications, providing bad, and apparently uncorrectable, information just to increase their profit margin. Don’t get me wrong, it is a worthy project, but not without stringent controls and a process for rectifying the errors.

I’m not looking for prizes. I just love doing the entries. So many of them remind me of stories I’ve been told by my Mom. And yet, in our family not a lot was discussed about our heritage. Ancestry has given me the greatest gift. I’ve found some of my family, and expect to find more. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of it all.

I hate to even ask this… but, do you ever pay people to key this type of material?

I have a huge job to fine a family member who came over to England with the Hugonots from France. Her name was Marie de Pussard and she was the sold heir to a large estate in France. They left England on their own sailing ships. Can you help mexxxx

Marie de Pussard married a George Phillipson. This family owned the great part of the Lake Country the seat of the chief being Belle Isle.