Sunday, May 11, 2008

Locating Original Records from the IGI

A recent post on the LDS-GENEALOGY RootsWeb mailing list asked how to find the original records for some entries in the FamilySearch International Genealogical Index (IGI). The poster was J.K. (Is this a good time to start a rumor about the Harry Potter author?) J.K. knew and had already done the basic steps shown below (given for the FamilySearch website as it exists today).

  • The batch number itself tells you something about the source. Look up the meaning of the batch number at or Hugh Wallis' IGI Batch Numbers website.
  • IGI sources fall into two major types: extraction projects and submissions by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If the batch was extracted, continue with these steps to find the original source.
  • To see what source information the IGI has about the batch, you must view the search results for an individual in the batch.
  • Start at
  • Click on the Search tab, then on International Genealogical Index on the left.
  • Enter the Batch Number AND the Region and click Search. The result is a list of everyone in that batch. With or without a surname, this is a useful way of identifying other individuals of interest.
  • To see source information, click on the name of any individual in the batch.
  • At the bottom of the results, you will see a message and source information. Here's an example for batch C083701 in the British Isles:


Extracted birth or christening record for the locality listed in the record. The source records are usually arranged chronologically by the birth or christening date.

Source Information:

Batch No.: Dates: Source Call No.: Type: Printout Call No.: Type:
Sheet: 00
1814-1837 0825384 (RG4 1552) Film 1037038 Film

A description of each of these items in found in the FamilySearch Wiki. If a source call number is present, click on it to see the entry in the Family History Library catalog (FHLC) for the source. "If the IGI record has a batch number, but does not have a call number, contact Family History Library Support for assistance in obtaining the call number."

Use Brute Force

I explored, here, a brute-force method of finding the source records without contacting support (1-866-406-1830 in the United States or While this method might conceivably work, I don't really know if it ever does. It certainly didn't work in the case I tried.

Let's walk through J.K.'s request as an example. J.K. found the christenings of Mary Ann and Elizabeth Whitcome Nichols, children of Samuel and Catherine Nichols on 4-Oct-1830 in Eccles, Lancashire, England. The IGI source information gave nothing but the batch number: C017516.


Extracted birth or christening record for the locality listed in the record. The source records are usually arranged chronologically by the birth or christening date.

Source Information:

Batch No.: Dates: Source Call No.: Type: Printout Call No.: Type:

J.K. searched parish records for St. Mary's and didn't find these entries. What, then, was the source?

I decided my best hope was to find the printout catalog entry, since I learned from our C083701 example above that the printout catalog entry listed both the batch number (in the form C-8370-1) and the source film number.

  • The first thing I tried was doing a keyword search for the batch number. I searched for both C017516 and C-1751-6 but didn't find either one.
  • The next thing I tried was a place search for Eccles, part of Lancashire.
  • I assumed the extracted record printout would be considered an index, so I selected the topic England, Lancashire, Eccles - Church records - Indexes. I was looking for christening records including the year 1830 and excluding St. Mary's. Fortunately, there were only 7 results, few enough to check manually.
    1. Baptist: batch 09176-1, source 0560880 item 8.
    2. Batch 00702-1, source 0093727.
    3. Monton Green Presbyterian: 08829-1, 0560880 item 6-7.
    4. Wesleyan Methodist: 08830-1, 0560880 item 9.
    5. Not an extraction printout.
    6. Monton Green Presbyterian: C-8829-1, 560880.
    7. Wesleyan Methodist: C-8830-1, 560880.
    None of these have the right batch number. Unless the batch number changed when the format changed, none of these is the desired choice.
  • Assuming the original record is held by the Family History Library, I repeated the place search but picked the topic England, Lancashire, Eccles - Church records. Of the 28 results, all but the following can be eliminated because they don't have 1830 christenings or they are for St. Mary's:
    * Bishop's transcripts for Eccles, 1613-1864  Church of England. Parish Church of Eccles (Lancashire)
    * Bishop's transcripts for Pendlebury, 1844-1855  Church of England. Chapelry of Pendlebury (Lancashire)
    * Bishop's transcripts for Pendleton, 1813-1820  Church of England. Chapelry of Pendleton (Lancashire)
    * Bishop's transcripts for Walkden-Moor, 1852-1859  Church of England. Chapelry of Walkden-Moor (Lancashire)
    * Parish registers for St. Peter's Church, Swinton, 1791-1928  Church of England. St. Peter's Church (Swinton, Lancashire)
    * The registers of the parish church of Eccles in the county of Lancaster  Hodder, A. E. (Andrew Edward)
    Unfortunately, there is no way to know if any of these are the desired source without methodically searching each one.

All things considered, I think I could wait for a response from FamilySearch support.


  1. The answer is found in the film: 1037038, Item 30. Usually solutions of this kind are easy. Simply do a film search in the FHLCatalog of FamilySearch. Type in the source film or the printout film. When I typed the film number, the results were inconclusive so I typed in the printout film number. The answer to this problem is not so easy. It appears that there is a typo somewhere. Item 30 is the records of Eccleshall, Stafford, England (Independent) ; christenings, 1822-1836. FInd the correct film number for the parish of Eccleshall by doing a locality search of Eccleshall. The results are film 825392 Item 8. I think there is a typing error in the IGI. These can and should be reported.

  2. Sandra,

    I'm afraid you're confusing the example batch, C083701, with J.K.'s batch, C017516. I've updated the article to make the distinction more apparent.

    Batch C083701 is for Glastonbury, the source is film 825384 item 1 and the printout is film 1037038 item 11. It was mere coincidence that film 1037038 had an item from Eccleshall.

    Your method, however, is a good illustration of what one would do if the printout film number were known and the source film number unknown. When locating the item number, make certain it matches the location, date range and record type of the original IGI Individual Record.

    -- The Ancestry Insider

  3. In the past, Family History Centers were sent small sets of microfiche containing the Batch Number Index. These were set up by locality. By looking up the locality of interest, one could see a list of all the batches that had been extracted in that area along with the film numbers of the films used, and if there was a printout, that film number was also listed. Since I no longer work in an FHC, I don't know when the last release of the Batch Number Index occurred, but FHCs should have an old set of the microfiche in their collection. Years ago, the Batch Number Index was published as a soft-bound book.


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