Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Where Did the IGI Go?

Most of you have noticed that the International Genealogical Index (IGI) is missing from the new FamilySearch.org website. The old site with its IGI will soon go away. That makes it vitally important to learn the answer to the question, “Where did the IGI go?”

Member Submissions

Member submissions—which are conclusionary information—have been moved to the place where genealogical conclusions should be kept: the new FamilySearch (NFS) conclusion tree. Some of you don’t have access to the NFS tree. Be patient. It is coming. Until then, ask family history center (FHC) staff to perform searches for you. This will search all the conclusions that were in the IGI, plus all those in Ancestral File, and many that were in Pedigree Resource Files.

In instances where submitters are still active genealogists, they have “claimed” their submissions and made their current contact information available. Otherwise, you must still resort to utilizing batch numbers. Regardless, a tree is a much better place to store genealogical conclusions.

Extracted Records

Data extracted from parish and vital records is the other source of data in the IGI. This extracted data has been published as Historical Record Collections (HRC) on FamilySearch.org.

Unlike the IGI, HRC Search is being built for genealogists. There is no need to throw away extracted names. There is no need to check the batch number to distinguish extracted data from member submissions. There is no need to use the batch number as a substitute for a citation. No “batch ugly” workaround is required to search individual towns and parishes. (See “How is the IGI?”)

Remember last week I showed side-by-side search results from the IGI and HRCs of all the individuals named Bull in Shustoke, Warwick, England. (See “Why Was the IGI?”)

For the IGI I searched as shown below on the left to get the results shown on the right. I could not search on “Shustoke” because the IGI Search has no box for entering parish. I had to look up the batch number (essentially a parish code number) for Shustoke and use it.


For HRCs, to receive the same results, all I needed to enter was “Bull” and “Shustoke,” as shown below left.


Outstanding Concerns

In my opinion, the new tree and the new website offer an improvement over the IGI. Does that mean there is no room for improvement? Of course not. Here’s a quick list of concerns:

  • Lists of search results do not display the same information as the IGI. Compare the images above. The new FamilySearch.org website does not display gender, nor event type, date, and complete location.
  • The film number in search results is not linked to the new catalog as it was in the IGI.
  • I’d like to see an official statement regarding the number of extracted entries moved from the IGI and the number that have not been moved, if any.
  • I’d like to see more obvious identification of collections originating from the IGI.
  • As we saw last week, these collections are missing some of the extracted entries. I believe this continues to be the case in most HRCs. I think the collection wiki articles ought to alert users to this serious limitation. (Insider Hint: I believe IGI entries from batches with missing entries are identified in HRCs by a “system origin” ending with “ODM.” See example.)
  • The Parish and Vital Records Listing (PVRL) fiche gave collection coverage by parish, denomination, and time period. Vital Record collections on the old, classic.familysearch.org provided the same. Wiki articles ought to give the same level of information so users know what is covered and what needs to be searched via other sources.
  • While not a complete citation, the PVRL often gave more information than the catalog entry for the film, allowing creation of an adequate citation.
  • I endorse the source issues GeneJ identified in “Please, Let’s Not Wiki FamilySearch Historical Record Collection Sources,” on the They Came Before blog. What a mess. It’s going to take several articles for me to explain what FamilySearch needs to do to fix their sources.
  • There are other, oft repeated search problems. I won’t bother to reiterate them here.
  • I haven’t considered possible IGI or batch number issues from NFS. Any volunteers?

Well, kind readers, in six articles I have given the long answer to a short question. Let me wrap up with a single sentence summary.

Member submissions went to NFS and extractions went to Historical Record Collections.

That is where the IGI went.


  1. Regarding the New FamilySearch, you mention: "Until then, ask family history center (FHC) staff to perform searches for you."

    However, many of the FHC staff members are volunteers who are not LDS members and, therefore, have no access to New Family Search.

    So, please be patient with the FHC staff members too!

  2. "This extracted data has been published as Historical Record Collections (HRC) on FamilySearch.org."

    *Where* in the Historical Record Collections? Searching the entire HRC produces results from hundreds of record collections (520), not just from the extracted records. As people commenting on this blog before have said, the extracted records need to be in their *own* separate collection.

  3. This series of articles has been well worth your effort. Thank you.

    It's good to know that I don't have to worry about member submissions in the HRC. I went to the catalog with the source film number to get the appropriate name for the source. I hope that is just a temporary workaround.

  4. Thanks AI for such an informed series of articles on the IGI. I had no idea of the complexity involved with the history of the records, their structure and presentation.

    The new FamilySearch is obviously a step forward but needs some refinement. Thanks must go to the LDS, its members and transcribers for their dedication and making the index available to the outside world. Just how difficult would research be without FamilySearch.

    One area I found most useful in the old IGI was the GEDCOM download facilty. I have used this on several occasions to "reconstruct" families which in turn enabled that wall to falldown! The 50 record limit on downloads was always a hinderance, but one that I could live with. I do hope that this facility is not lost in the new FamilySearch?

  5. "*Where* in the Historical Record Collections?"

    I'm not going to go through more than a couple to check but,
    - elements of batch C040147 from the IGI appear in HR Collection "England Births and Christenings, 1538-1975"
    - elements of batch C112821 appear in HR Collection Scotland Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950
    - elements of batch C112823 appear in HR Collection Scotland Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950
    - elements of batch M112825 appear in HR Collection Scotland Marriages, 1561-1910

    So from this it appears they have been split up into different HR Collections and put into one appropriate to the data. Personally, I think it's rather more useful than just one collection.

  6. As above, "... endorse the source issues ... identified in 'Please, Let’s Not Wiki FamilySearch Historical Record Collection Sources,' on the They Came Before blog."

    Thank you for signaling the "we've got a problem" alarm.

    Going on several weeks--the sources are still not listed correctly for this single database.

    I've continued to dialog with FamilySearch volunteers about the problem on the New Hampshire State Deaths wiki discussion page.

    Oh, and yes, the Historical Record Collection sources are still subject to, more-or-less, public editing.

  7. I do miss the Parish and Vital Records Index, also Batch IDs.

  8. Hello. I discovered your blog due to a post on twitter about this article. Glad to have found you.

  9. I, too, loved doing a Batch number seach on the IGI, for a single surname. Exa: McAulay in Portnahaven, Argyll, Scotland. I would download the results of 36 names and put them into their own PAF File. Producing a "comma delimmited" file from the PAF file became a spreadsheet file that I could then organize into familes. Very Cool, but I digress.
    In the new Familysearch, if you do a search for McAulay in Portnahaven, Argyll, Scotland, you get thousands of hits instead of 36! Narrow the seach to 100's of hits by finding the database for Scotland births. Still I digress.
    After much fiddling around, I discovered how to get the families I wanted. Actually I like it better than the old way...Here's how: Do a marriage search. Exa: John McAulay and Ann McArthur in Portnahaven, Argyll, Scotland. Narrow the search by selecting Scotland BIRTHS. All the names come up as John and Ann as the parents.
    Hooray! Now, we just need a way to select and download the names we want.

  10. great information, thanks.

    Where can I find a listing of films that have NOT been extracted?


  11. So why are the parish records for Bishops Cannings in Wiltshire totally absent from the new site?


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.