World Archives Project: First Time Keyers

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Thank you for registering with the Ancestry World Archives Project. You have joined over 140,000 people around the world who are contributing their time and efforts to preserving these valuable records and making them available for FREE to anyone researching their family history.

We want to make sure that you have all the tools available that you need to continue to be a successful contributor to this very worthy cause. 

Ancestry World Archives Wiki

Before you download your first image set, it will be helpful to familiarize yourself with some of the following important resources:

  1. Keying Standards (Our general guidelines for how projects should be keyed)
  2. Getting Started Videos (These videos will help familiarize new indexers with the keying tool and how to key)

These two resources are found on the Ancestry World Archives wiki where you will also find additional help articles. These include the Additional AWAP Help Articles page where you will find topics on Tips for Completing an Image Set, How to Cancel an Image Set, Tips for Reading Old Handwriting, and more.

My World Archives Dashboard

Another great resource you should become familiar with is the My World Archives Dashboard. Here you will find featured AWAP projects, Active and Completed projects, the Message Boards where you can post questions and interact with the community and the AWAP Blog. Also included on this page are your stats with how many records you have keyed in the last 90 days, your total records keyed and your accuracy.

Best Practices

Everyone has their own workflow, and we don’t think one really outshines another, but there are a few things each of you can do to make sure our community is all on the same page and that we are helping one another.

  1. When you start a new project, read through the Wiki Instructions Article. (When you download an image set, these instructions are made available for each project.) We know this can be tedious at times, but reading through them will give your brain a framework for how the projects should be indexed.
  2. After reading the instructions, head over to the Discussion tab. It is the second tab found in each Wiki Instructions Article. Here you can often find Extra Keying Helps, Common Keying Errors, a Q and A section and a place to make suggestions for the project.
  3. Now that you have familiarized yourself with the project, dig in!
  4. If you have a question, post it on the Discussion tab or the appropriate Message Board found in the dashboard.
  5. It is also a good idea to check the Discussion Board each time you come back to key to see if there is anything new.

We are a tight knit community of dedicated genealogists. As the Ancestry World Archives Project wiki home page says, “Minutes of your time could help preserve decades.” We appreciate all of your personal minutes spent helping preserve this information for others to make discoveries in their family history.

If you have feedback, questions or need technical support email us at, or post a message on one of the World Archives Project message boards.