BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Esmeralda Bisarello de Gonzalez is a 76-year-old army of one.
With a computer set up in her living room and a steady work ethic, this faithful Latter-day Saint has spent countless hours indexing names from old civil registrations, Catholic church records, census rolls, etc., so the data can be placed online by the church and be more accessible to those searching for ancestors.
In the span of two years, Gonzalez has indexed more than 540,000 names, including 57,500 in this year alone.
"I am just happy to help others. I am happy I have the energy," Gonzalez said. "It's my duty."
Esmeralda and her husband, Ricardo, have been members of the church since the late 1940s. Over the decades, the couple raised three children and served in various church callings, including a mission from 1994 to 1995 in Asuncion, Paraguay. They have also loved serving in the Buenos Aires Temple, where Ricardo works as a sealer.
As they reached the golden years, Esmeralda heard the late President Gordon B. Hinckley deliver a message that in the near future all church genealogical information would be available via the Internet. Esmeralda, a member of the Caseros 1st Ward in the Argentina Buenos Aires West Stake, and her sister Irma decided to pool their money and purchase a computer for the purpose of doing family history work.
By early 2008, they had the computer, and little by little they learned how to use it. There were also lessons in family history research. Irma was called as a family history consultant and Esmeralda wondered how she could contribute.
"I was told I could index," she said. "It's hard to drive when you have never driven before, but with the will, faith and the desire, we made it happen."
There were many 12-hour days of staring at the computer screen, which led her to require cataract surgery, but genealogy was a cause in which she cared deeply. At times she was worried she was recording incorrect information, but was assured by a friend who told her to follow the Spirit's direction. As a result of her efforts, she has recognized blessings.
"I have felt many enormous blessings were passed on. The Lord has also helped me find people for other people. If you look, you will find the names," she said.
Esmeralda and Ricardo have three children and 15 grandchildren and are looking forward to the birth of their fifth great-grandchild.
For more information about indexing, visit indexing.familysearch.org.