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Berkshire Family Historian
June 2001

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June 2001 Contents

Some IGI confusions untangled

Jean Debney

Over the past ten years there has been increasing doubt over the policy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) on future updates of the International Genealogical Index (IGI). This analysis attempts to clarify some of the issues.

A computerised index of information received from members of the Church began in 1973. These original entries were known as 'patron submissions' and consisted of each individual's name, place of event (birth, baptism or marriage) and the name of the parents or spouse. Only those ancestors who had been born at least a hundred years earlier could be included. Against each entry was added the date and place when the Mormon Temple Ordinances of Baptism, Enrolment and Sealing had been performed.

Later to this original index were added details of births, baptisms and marriages transcribed from filmed copies of church registers as part of a controlled extraction programme. The index, the first issued in 1978, was on microfiche and known as the Computer File Index (CFI). Subsequent editions in 1982 and 1988 contained an increasing number of parish and other register entries as well as further patron submissions received for Temple Ordinances.

Sometime between 1988 and 1992, a decision was made to revert to the original purpose of the IGI which was to create an index to patron submissions and subsequent Temple Ordinances. As a result, entries on the 1988 microfiche edition that had not been through the Ordinances of Sealing, Baptism and Enrolment were deleted from the 1992 fiche edition and were not reinstated. This means, therefore, that many entries are unique to the 1988 edition. Information in the 1992 edition on fiche of the IGI and the subsequent editions on CD-ROM and the Internet (www.familysearch.org) now contain an increasing number of pre-1970 patron submissions, as well as those received more recently. Some of these early submissions date back to the nineteenth century and may contain unreliable information. Much of it did not come from the extraction programme and cannot be relied upon for its accuracy.

In effect, the extraction of births, baptisms and marriages from parish and other registers ceased to be added to the IGI from about 1990. To remedy this situation, the Church introduced the Vital Records Index (VRI) on CD-ROM. This includes references from the ongoing abstraction from parish and other registers. The first edition of the VRI for the British Isles consists of five CDROMs and contains about five million entries of births, christenings and marriages. It includes entries from England and Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Some counties have good coverage while others have very few references. The Irish abstracts include the Civil Registration Indexes 1847-1874. Further editions of the VRI will be issued as part of a worldwide programme. The CDROM for Western Europe was published towards the end of last year and contains 19.5 million entries (see information elsewhere in this issue).

So, in order to make a thorough search of all entries abstracted by the LDS Church you must look in all of the following:

* The 1988 edition of the IGI on microfiche
* The latest CD-ROM version and updates
* 'FamilySearch' on the Internet which includes a different editon of the CD-ROM
* The Vital Records Index (VRI) on CD-ROM

Family data submitted to the Church by non-patrons (i.e. people like you and me) is made available on Ancestral File. Entries are not submitted for Temple Ordinances - unless, of course, a Church member finds a reference to his own family and incorporates it into his research - as all of us do from information found in the IGI and elsewhere.

This article was sent to LDS Family History Support, for their comments and Paul Nauta made the following points. Many of the extraction records that were removed in between the 1988 and 1992 fiche editions have been added back into the IGI after the records were sent to the Temples. Entries on the 1988 microfiche edition not appearing in the Ordinance Index are gradually being made available in Vital Record Index releases and their respective updates over time.

Ancestral File and the Pedigree Resource File: The Church will combine the two in an attempt to implement the best features of both databases. We would be pleased to hear from anyone who has found entries on the 1988 IGI on microfiche and missing from the subsequent editions - and also whether or not they have found them reinstated on the VRI.


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Berkshire Family History Society 2001

updated 16th August 2001