The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) played a major role in the CWSS project by managing the national volunteer effort to compile the Soldier Names Index phase. They volunteered thousands of hours of their time to enter a large part of the 6.3 million soldier Index Card records into computer databases. FGS volunteers also helped to process and edit the data for final release onto the Internet.
The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) was founded in 1976. It is a society of organizations whose members include genealogical societies, historical societies, family associations, libraries, archives, and other organizations dealing with the subject of genealogy and family history.
The major purposes of the Federation are: serving the needs of our member societies, providing products needed by our members, and marshalling the resources of the genealogical community.
The Monumental Task of CWSS
The monumental task of data entry, editing, and converting millions of soldier records into a database format required a tremendous amount of time and effort. This process could only have been accomplished through the help of our partners like FGS.
To view the steps in the process, click on Index Card >
How were the soldier records transferred from paper to electronic form?
The 6.3 million General Index Cards at the National Archives were photocopied from microfilm by the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) and the Genealogical Society of Utah (GSU). Then FGS and GSU sent the photocopies to volunteers throughout the nation. These volunteers entered the information from the General Index Cards into their personal computers using FGS and GSU data entry software.
For example, a volunteer received a batch of cards which contained the soldier's name, company, regiment, rank at time of enlistment and rank at time of discharge. The volunteer entered all the information for each card and then passed that information on to FGS and GSU. To ensure accuracy, more than one volunteer entered the same information. Computer software compared the information and if it discovered contradictory information on a soldier, FGS and GSU compared the information with a copy of the original General Index card. The information was then sent to the National Park Service's Washington, D.C. office where it was entered into the Civil War Soldiers System's database.
By the year 2000, volunteers in over 36 states had completed initial data entry for all of the 6.3 million soldier names. All of this work was done on home computers using the Mormon Church's universal data entry (UDE) software, from paper copies of the microfilm records.
With the completion of the data entry and verification work, FGS volunteers became involved in a post-audit review of thousands of films in the Civil War card index project. By the middle of the year 2002, they had completed these post-audit reviews.
For more information about the FGS and it's genealogical associations, please write to: FGS Business Office, P.O. Box 3385, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110-3385. Also view the following related web site: