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About

Our lab has five main objectives: developing auto-indexing, increasing the coverage for African-Americans on the tree, completing attaching censuses for every American in the late 1800's and early 1900's, helping converts find a hundred family names on the tree, and creating meaningful experiences at museums.

Automated Indexing
African-American Families Project
Census Tree Project
Helping Converts Find 100 Names
Creating Meaningful Museum Experiences

Automated Indexing

We currently have funding from two NIH grants to develop tools to automatically index historical records. We are currently focused on Ohio death certificates and the 1940 US census but the tools we are developing will allow us to automatically index records from many different countries. We've also created a new way to index, called reverse indexing. You can try it out at indexing.fhtl.byu.edu, and the key innovation is that you just mark the ones that shouldn’t be there and then hit submit to index the whole batch at once. We also have a mobile indexing app, bit.ly/rll-index, in which each of the images on this app were snipped and indexed by a machine learning algorithm. Currently, we can narrow the correct name to a small set of options and the indexing app will allow us to improve our hand-writing recognition until it is able to match the accuracy of a human. We are working with Mark Clement (BYU) on this the project.

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We are helping to dramatically improve the coverage of African Americans on the Family Tree as a way to create improved discovery experiences particularly at African-American museums. We are starting with South Carolina and will be adding over a half million African Americans to the Family Tree and connecting them to their extended family members using record hints and public member trees on other websites. Anyone can help with this project and the best way to help is through our customized hints app (bit.ly/custom-hints). Just type in South Carolina in the place field and pick any of the counties that appear in the drop down menu. Each pin that you see is a record hint and will take you right to SourceLinker on familysearch.org. You can also access these record hints through google sheets that we have set up in the links below. Our volunteer portal has more information and instructions about this project (bit.ly/rll_volunteer).

Census Tree Project

We are creating a Census Tree that will link the 188 million people that lived in the United States between 1900 and 1940 across each of the census records for these years they appear in and connect each person to all of their one-hop relatives (parents, siblings, spouses, and children). The Census Tree will provide the largest longitudinal data set ever created in the United States and will open up many opportunities for research in economics, demography, sociology, and public health. Here is a link to the paper and slides about the project that we recently presented in Oslo. We are working with Steve Ruggles, Cathy Fitch, and Jonas Helgertz on this project.

Helping Converts Find 100 Names

Helping Converts Find 100 Names

Our goal is to expand the tree enough that any person can easily find over 100 of their ancestors' names in less than an hour.

Let's try scanning a QR code.

Take out your phone and open the camera up. Pretend to take a picture with your camera!

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Click the link and log into your family search! After you have logged onto your family search account, it will display whether or not you are related to the artist.

Our goal is to implement this activity into museums so all guests can see how they are related to various artists and spread inspiration across generations.