Rhyme And Reason

RHYME & REASON

Family Indexing Offers Problem-Solving for Kids

 By Linda Turley-Hansen

You’re trying to keep the kids away from the beckoning calls of social media. When they’re tired of homework and chores, give them a fascinating glimpse into history.

Join other Latter-day Saint families who are embracing indexing. It’s more than it seems, as one Ahwatukee mother tells me. Natasha Pizorno says, “Indexing unites current and past generations as we all participate to identify those who have passed on.”

She points out: “We might discover a group of deceased female inmates, ages 16 to 21 years old and a company of Civil War veterans. We’ll learn about the lives of women, how soon they married and how often they had babies—and buried them.”

Natasha and her husband, Robert, of Lakewood Ward, Tempe West Stake, became intrigued with indexing following a ward class. They learned 12 billion documents need to be transferred from microfilm/fiche to a digital format.

The “great team effort” began. Natasha says, “As a family, we set an initial goal of completing 500 names in the first two weeks, but we were able to finish well over 1,000.”

Nine-year-old Isabella, who loves puzzles and solving mysteries, has become an indexing role model. Few would believe a child her age could tackle hard-to-read records and correctly record them for digital purposes. She’s thriving, right along with her big sisters—13-year-old, Bianca, and 15-year-old, Joy—who will apply indexing to their Personal Progress.

Natasha, with a teaching degree and bilingual training, says, “It’s a team effort because we double check each other’s work and help decipher hard-to-read names.” Prayer is always a part of their work. Natasha proudly reports that once they submitted their initial batch for final approval, they were rated 96 to 100 percent correct.

The Pizorno family, including (l to r) Joy, Bianca (standing), mother Natasha and Isabella, has found many rewards and blessings from participating in the Family Search Indexing program as a family. Photo courtesy of Robert Pizorno.

The Pizorno family, including (l to r) Joy, Bianca (standing), mother Natasha and Isabella, has found many rewards and blessings from participating in the Family Search Indexing program as a family. Photo courtesy of Robert Pizorno.

But, there’s a hitch. America’s next generations may not be able to read cursive writing, which frequents historical documents.  The federal education program Common Core is cancelling cursive writing instruction.  Hard to fathom, right?  The adversary is always meddling.

Natasha reflects, “If these names are unreadable by current and future generations, the dead cannot be redeemed. Far from obsolete, cursive is a vital skill if our children are to participate in transferring 12 billion documents.”

Parents, do you see some homeschooling called for in regards to this skill? “Cursive knowledge must be passed on if we are to continue the work of salvation,” Natasha says.  Currently she keeps a page of cursive lettering by the computer; plus, “the indexing page has a scroll-down tab with old cursive writing styles,” she says. “I also found it helpful to printout a sample page of cursive from the particular time period we’re working on.”

Looking for a way to draw closer as a family? Natasha believes this is it. ”Indexing can bless our families as we draw closer together, feel the Spirit assisting our work, and look toward the temple.”

Clearly, this program is one answer to parents’ prayers who are hoping to keep their children focused on the eternal journey.

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(Turley-Hansen is an AZ syndicated columnist and former Phx TV anchor; turleyhansen@gmail.com)