Limited Index Editing in Family Tree of

As of about mid-July 2019, the Family Tree of has added a feature which allows you to edit some of the names in their indexes of various record collections. This has been a desirable feature for a long time since many names were badly indexed either due to bad information in the original document, bad writing of correct information, or bad indexing (the indexer did not have the skill to read Polish names). When you edit a name, you are asked if it was an indexing problem or if the original document was incorrect. You are also asked to highlite the name on a screen image of the document so others know what you are changing. This means that edits are possible on indexed records which also have corresponding online images. That's good news.

The bad news is that not all of the indexed records have online images-- for example, Cook County vital records. Many Cook County records for Poles are badly indexed. I hope that name edits of those indexes will be allowed. The US census indexes have corresponding images and edits are now allowed (as of this update in July 2021). The other bad news is that the highliting step is time consuming and discourages one from correcting other badly indexed names on the page.

One last comment: Some purists may feel that edits of the index is equivalent to changing history. No! Whatever the original document says is NOT changed-- only the index is changed. The index is a finding aid, not a substitute for the original document. Despite edits that researchers might make to the index, the original indexed name is still out there. The net result is it gives other researchers a greater chance of finding the records they are looking for.