Using the International Genealogical Index (IGI)
A major source of genealogical information is the Family History
Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
(the Mormons). Family History Centres which are in effect
branches of this library are located in many towns and cities
throughout the world where microfilm copies of most of the
library's holdings can be viewed.
One important information
source that has been produced by the Family History Library
is the International Genealogical Index (IGI). This contains
millions of entries, mainly of baptisms and marriages. Much
of the material is taken from parish registers as part of
an organised program of filming original records, while
others are provided by individuals who are not always careful
Many researchers fail to recognise that the IGI is a mere
index of records held and think that referral to the index
is sufficient for their research needs. An effective researcher
knows that you must refer back to the original records whenever
possible. By checking the original sources of the information
contained in the IGI [see below] you can determine whether
the material is the result of the film program or a contribution
by a private individual. The coverage of the IGI is far
from complete, so the fact that the ancestor you are seeking
does not appear in the IGI should not cause you to give
You can search the IGI online at: www.familysearch.org.
The IGI is not all you will find at the web site and it is well worth an extended visit. The site also features the Ancestral File which is a broad database covering all the material held by the LDS church relating to names. A search of this database will often reveal further information and other avenues of research and is well worth looking at, again with the proviso that some of the material has been submitted by private individuals and needs to be treated with some caution.
The LDS also produce a set of Research Guides-introductory guides to the genealogy of various countries and states. These are very well done, and very good value for money. They have the added advantage over many commercially-published introductory texts in that they provide indications of the holdings of the Family History Library. They can be ordered via your local LDS Family History Centre.
In fact the LDS produces many useful records at very reasonable
prices. These can all be purchased via their web site or
Family History Centres.
Batch numbers refer to the sources of information for entries in the IGI. In summary these can be outlined as follows:
1. Extracted records Church and civil birth, christening,
and marriage). Letters C,J,K, and P indicate christening
or birth records.
E and M (except M17, M18) indicate extracted marriage records.
The numbers 725, 745, and 754 refer to vital record indexes,
and 744 to other extractions.
2. Church generated forms submitted by Church members since
1969 or selected temple and deceased church member records.
The letter F and all-digit numbers (with a 3rd digit below
4) indicate family group records, Individual Entry forms,
and Marriage Entry forms. An all-digit number often indicates
that someone has researched the name.
The numbers 01-23 indicate family group records submitted
outside the USA.
Graham Jaunay BA DipT MACE AAGRA
For an update see: Newsletter