In July I ordered some microfilm for the first time, through Family Search. A week and a half later I got one, the other three were backordered. I'm not entirely sure why they don't have that kind of status on the website. I mean, a library can tell you if a book is on the shelf or checked out, why can't they do that with the film. I totally would have ordered something else in the meantime. But, I digress.
The film that came in was the Indian birth records index (from Fiji) from 1895-1929. Great! I have several names in that time period that I am looking for. Then comes the frustrating part.
#1 frustration- The first 25 years of this index is all jumbled together, not separated by year. The last 10 years is, so that was nice.
Frustration #2- Indians in Fiji in these years didn't usually have last names. So, searching for families is difficult.
Frustration #3- Because they don't have last names, the index is alphabetized by fathers first name, then mothers name, then childrens names. This may be good if I knew the fathers name, but in most cases, I didn't.
So, I went through all 263 pages of years 1895-1919 one by one, looking in the childrens column hoping to spot a name I was looking for (note, there are 86 rows on each page). Then I had to look at the year, and hope it also matched. Then I could write down all the info in a list of possible matches. I have 7 for one of the names on my list. And 3 with no matches. Argh!
On the plus side, I do have 7 possible matches, and I found some siblings for one of the known ancestors. So, hopefully soon I will get the other rolls of film and be able to find more names, and then I can order the specific rolls needed to find the actual records and not just the record numbers on the index. At least now I know what to be prepared for next time.
I also couldn't help but think how easy it would be to index these records. They were all in neat typed rows. Given the time, I could easily do it. And I would too, if the LDS church would ever digitize them and offer them up to be indexed. Maybe they will someday.