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 researchers.

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 up.

You can search the IGI online at:

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.

IGI Sources
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 66

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