About a thousand times every month, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum gets a request for information about a victim of the Holocaust. The museum houses more than 170 million documents naming more than 17 million people targeted by the Nazis, including Jews, Poles, Ukrainians, political prisoners, and many others.Researchers rely on a combination of historical knowledge and guesswork to pick through the proverbial haystack of microfilm documents. Sometimes it takes weeks to answer an inquiry. Sometimes the question is never solved.At that rate, according to Lisa Yavnai, director of the museum’s Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center, many of the most important inquiries — those from aging holocaust survivors who want information about their families and friends — would go unanswered before their deaths.To make the search more efficient, the museum paired with genealogy resource Ancestry.com to launch the World Memory Project, a crowdsourced indexing of the museum’s microfilm documents. Since May 5, about 1,500 volunteers have downloaded Ancestry’s indexing software to tag online documents with the names, locations and other important information that make them searchable.Together, they’ve already indexed more than 124,000 records — an astounding number, considering that a museum employee dedicated to the same task indexed 1,000 records per month.The cumulative efforts of volunteers have paid off. For instance, Yavnai says, researchers were able to find a photograph of one man’s father using the newly formed database. It was the first image he had seen of his parent in more than 65 years.Eventually the goal is to make the entirety of the museum’s records available for public search on Ancestry.com.