What is an IGI source on Family Search?


screen capture of FamilySearch IGI notice

When working FamilySearch, do you ever come across extracted IGI records and not know what these are or what you should do about them? The IGI sources can cause great confusion for beginning genealogists.


The IGI is so well known that it has made an appearance in a romance novel where the heroine happens to do genealogy. However, can we seriously believe everything we read in a romance novel?


Yeah, no.


What are IGI sources on FamilySearch?

The IGI stands for the International Genealogical Index which was created in 1969 as a way to track work performed in temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The time period covers life events between 1500 and 1900. It was based on:

  1. Genealogical data submitted by members of the LDS faith

  2. Data copied from birth and marriage records from the United States, Canada, Latin America, and Europe

The IGI was a leap forward in accessing genealogical data, however, there are some limitations to be mindful of when consulting the resource.

  1. It’s not an original source.

  2. Hard to identify whether the index you see was based on user-submitted information or from church records

Since it’s an index, the record will likely contain errors. Mistakes generated by creating an index from an original record and mistakes on the user-submitted genealogical data.


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The index is incomplete. It likely does not include all of the information from the original record source.


As such, the IGI might point to an original record. A reliable genealogist will attempt to find the original records behind the extraction project.


What Should You Do about IGI Records on FamilySearch?

  1. Don’t try to search for the IGI files. Since they are based on other records, spend your time investigating FamilySearch record hints or browse only images.

  2. They’ll find you. Extracted IGI sources tend to pop up attached to individuals in the FamilySearch family tree, especially after your merge profiles.

  3. Don’t bother deleting the IGI sources unless they are absolutely false. Spend your time cleaning up other parts of the FamilySearch Family Tree.



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