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Becoming an arbitrator
Symptoms (Problems)
  • What is arbitration?

  • How do I qualify to be an arbitrator?

  • What does an arbitrator do?

Answer (Resolution)

What is arbitration?

All records are indexed by two people: an A indexer and a B indexer. When both the A and B indexing has been completed and submitted, the system compares the two versions. If any differences exist, the batch is sent for arbitration.


An arbitrator compares the A and B index with what is on the image and either selects the A or B indexer's entry.  The arbitrator can also choose to enter a new value that more accurately reflects what is on the image in his or her judgment.


Individuals who are interested in becoming arbitrators, should review the steps below.

Evaluate your experience

Arbitration rights can be given to experienced indexers who:

  • Have indexed a variety of projects - beginner and intermediate.
  • Are willing to accept and study project instructions.

  • Are adept at reading handwriting on indexing images. A new arbitrator does not have to be able to read everything but should feel comfortable reading a majority of records with the skill of comparing handwriting within an image to decipher similar entries.

  • Are willing to index in a project before beginning to arbitrate in that project.

  • Are willing to continue indexing once assigned as an arbitrator.

Because arbitration is one of the final steps in the indexing process, being a well prepared arbitrator is essential.


Learn how arbitration works


Complete the arbitration tutorial lesson on the FamilySearch indexing website. To access the lesson:

  1. Go to

  2. From the home page, select the Help tab, and then Training.

  3. Select Lesson 2: Arbitration under the Arbitrators section. (Note:  Lesson 1 is the Indexing Tutorial for new indexers.)

  4. Review 102606 to understand Record Matching.  Record Matching is one of the most essential skills of arbitration.

Contact the Group Administrator or Stake Indexing Director

Contact the Group Administrator or Stake Indexing Director and request arbitration rights. To find out who the group administrator is:

  1. Log in to FamilySearch Indexing.

  2. Click Help on the menu bar.

  3. Click Contact Support, and contact the group administrator listed.



If no group administrator is shown, contact FamilySearch and ask about receiving arbitration rights after taking the tutorial.

Instructions for New Arbitrators

  • Carefully read all Project Instructions before starting to arbitrate.

  • Check for new Project Updates before every arbitration session.

  • Refer to Field Helps often.

  • Use Basic Indexing Guidelines (see 102817) to answer questions not covered by the Project Instructions, Updates, or Field Helps.

  • Stay up-to-date with the resources found in the Indexing Resource Guide (under the Help tab), FamilySearch indexing home page.

  • Use Record Matching (see 102606).

  • Index a batch from a project before attempting to arbitrate in that project.

  • Check your own Arbitration Results for additional insight from other arbitrators.

  • Continue to index one batch for every 5-10 batches arbitrated.

  • Periodically review the Arbitration Tutorials.

See also:

"Ten Commandments for arbitrators" 114403

When to return a batch for re-indexing 102739

Using the Matching Records tab during arbitration 102606

Using International Characters in indexing 102916

Using the Share Batch feature 107186

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