What is an IGI source on Family Search?

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 a romance novel where the heroine who happens to do genealogy. However, can we seriously believe everything we read in a romance novel?

Yeah, no.

What are IGI sources? 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 extraction project.

What are the key takeaways?

  1. Don’t try to search for the IGI files. Since they are based on other records, spend your time looking for birth and marriage records.

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

  3. Don’t bother deleting the IGI sources unless they are absolutely false

  4. Use them as a clue to attempt to locate original birth and marriage records.

If you want to learn more about the IGI files, follow the following links:

  1. International Genealogical Index (IGI) -- Family Search Wiki

  2. BYU Family History Library YouTube Video

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