Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kehrer Webinar: International Genealogical Index

I’m sharing some of my notes from the 21 June 2012 webinar by Robert Kehrer, senior product manager, search technologies. The webinar was titled “FamilySearch Historical Records and Library Catalog.” Look for my commentary in parentheses.

The International Genealogical Index (IGI) mixes two types of records: community indexed records and community contributed records (formerly called patron submissions). There are about 461 million names in the former and 205 million names in the latter.

On the new website (which I call “the current website” to avoid confusion with the “new FamilySearch” website—boy won’t we be glad when goes away) on the new website the two types of records are separated. (I’m very glad to see that. The evidentiary value of the two types is too different to leave together in one database.)

IGI Graph from Untitled 03 - left only

The community indexed records, also called extracted records, have been divided into 185 historical record collections and are available alongside the 1005 other historical record collections on

For compatibility with the old website, it is possible to search just the 185 extracted IGI collections. In the record collection list, scroll down to the special “International Genealogical Index” collection.

Kehrer questioned why anyone would want to search just the 185 collections instead of all 1190 collections. “I recommend strongly that anyone searching for their ancestor search not just the IGI,” he said. Search all historical record collections from the home page.

In the transition to the new website (no animals were harmed and) no records were “lost in transition.” (Actually, the community contributed records have been temporarily lost.) The community contributed records will be available shortly.

From the special IGI collection page, it will soon be possible to search either the extracted IGI records or the community contributed IGI records.

IGI Graph from Untitled 05

Stay tuned for more from Robert Kehrer’s webinar…


  1. The International Genealogical Index is an ordinance processing tool designed to (1) reduce duplication of temple ordinances, and (2) provide ordinance date verification for LDS members. For ordinances prior to 1970, it was an index to the original temple record books. For ordinances after 1970 it was the official temple ordinance record.

    It was not designed to be a "genealogical index" to any data other than ordinance dates, but the identifying information for individuals may provide valuable clues to further research.

    Those who understand the history of temple processing procedures do not criticize the accompanying identifying data, nor do they separate it from the ordinance dates. They also do not criticize procedures that were best adaptable to the resources of the time.

    The "creative" action of tearing apart the ordinance dates from the identifying data, and then attaching the "floating" ordinance date to a name in is not a genealogical sound procedure. However, it does give the uninformed much to write about, and gives the uninformed an opportunity to think up new descriptions like "community."

  2. Not only did I use the IGI to obtain event dates from extracted records, I also used the batch numbers to find more of my ancestors who lived in the same area of the extracted records. Can we still get batch numbers and can we still use those batch numbers to find additional family names?

    1. Sandra,

      Batch number search is still available.

      --The Insider


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