With the release of the new FamilySearch.org website (not to be confused with NFS, the new FamilySearch Tree), many are asking where the International Genealogical Index (IGI) went. To understand where it went, you first need to understand what it is and where it came from. This week I address the what, when, whence, why, and where of the IGI.
The International Genealogical Index is a computer file published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It contains several hundred million entries, each recording one event such as a birth, baptism (christening), marriage, or death.
According to Elizabeth L. Nichols, former FamilySearch employee and IGI expert,
Each entry is a stand-alone record. If a person was born in one [region] and married in another, the entry for each event will be in the [region] where it occurred, with no reference to the other entry (if both entries are in the IGI). The entries in the file are not linked to other records, even when they pertain to the same person or same family.1
There are basically two types of entries: records of individuals and records of marriages. I think the original, idealized objective of the IGI was the creation of one (and only one) entry for each person who has ever lived and one (and only one) entry for each husband and wife. In practice, duplications were unavoidable and in recent years were even allowed to accelerate.
I’ll address the religious significance and the source of entries in the IGI in upcoming articles.
Tomorrow, “When was the IGI?”
1. Elizabeth L. Nichols, “The International Genealogical Index (IGI), 1993 Edition : Part I,” Federation of Genealogical Societies Forum, Spring 1994, 5-10.