Why Index? by Becky Villareal

Published on 10 June 2022 at 08:00

If you look up the definition of indexing, you will find the following definitions:


  1. the action or process of compiling an index.
  2. the movement of a machine or part of one from one predetermined position to another in order to carry out a sequence of operations.

I guess both would apply because actually an index is "an indicator, sign, or measure of something." In in the case of indexing through Family Search, it is recording a time and a place in someone's life. For example, when and where they were born or died, when they were married or divorced, where they lived in what year, where they served in the military and many, many more.

In the case of a census record, it can not be opened until 72 years after the day it was created. So the release of the 1950 census has caused quite a stir in the genealogy community. We are all waiting with bated breath to see those records and to find out more about our family members. Why? Because these census records, like many others, provide a wealth of information for the lives of individuals who existed and gives us a window into their lives at that time.

For many years now I have been indexing thousands of records for Family search where I take written information and enter it online into a database that is freely available to anyone. This work takes hours to complete and I am only one of the many who have been doing so for years. It is because of their work that I have been able to find records on my own family that go back to the 1700's in Mexico.

Why do I bother to work this hard? The answer is simple. It is because I want to honor each person's memory by including their information as carefully and completely as I can. I also feel that someday someone who has been looking for that long, lost relative will be able to find that scrap of information about them. This will turn just a name into a a person and family member who once lived many years ago. By learning about our ancestors, we find out why we are who we are and learn about the perseverance it took for them to survive.

I thoroughly enjoy indexing. I find the records interesting and engaging. Each record contains some bit of information that a loved one will need somewhere down the road. As for genealogy? It is truly a treasure hunt with each new bit of information found! 


Becky Villareal Bio

As a retired employee of Dallas Independent School District, Becky has worked as a teacher, mentor, presenter, and supervisor. Through her work with the District, she has also worked on various committees furthering the work of Early Childhood. Through the curriculum department, she has completed District science curriculum and developed district-wide assessments.

Becky is a finalist for the 2014 Texas Writer Journal award for "George Goes Along" published in October 2014. She is currently in the process of publishing a children's book entitled "Gianna the Great" through Anaiah Press and has published a book entitled "Snake Holes" on Smashwords.com. Her website can be found at https://giannathegreat.wordpress.com.

She has presented to various Genealogical Societies throughout the United States and continues to work with school districts and libraries as well.

She has also published three children's books about family history and genealogy, GIANNA THE GREAT and HALITO! THE JOURNEY CONTINUES, and GIANNA THE TREASURE HUNTER.

Her latest book, The Broken Branches has won the Five Star Reader's Favorite Award in 2018.



Follow Becky on LinkedIn and visit her website for more information

Becky Villareal




Thank you to Becky Villareal for being our June 2022 guest genealogists. To become a History & Heritage blogger reach out to u on our Contact page or visit our Home page for guidelines. You may also follow Dividing Ridge Genalogy across social media for all of the latest updates and inforamtion. 

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Philip R. Thieler
a year ago

Great Blog... Love Becky's point about why she works so hard... "honor each person's memory."

Shout out to Dividing Ridge Genealogy for publishing another informative blog!