Wednesday, October 24, 2012

IGI Q and A - Part 1

FamilySearch International Genealogical IndexFamilySearch product manager Robert Kehrer recently responded to user comments about the International Genealogical Index (IGI) on the FamilySearch Blog. This is the first in a two part article telling some of what he said.

Classic Search vs. Newest Search

Several people commented that the old, classic was much easier to use and asked if FamilySearch couldn’t please bring back the old search.

“There is no way to re-implement the old site and it’s search,” said Robert Kehrer. But that doesn’t mean the new site can’t be improved. He said he would be “passionately interested in the specifics of what you found better and easier to use on the old site.” FamilySearch is continually refining the new site.

Got a specific suggestion? Leave a comment below and I will pass it on.

Finding the IGI

The IGI can be found at Most of us aren’t going to remember that URL, however. To get to the IGI collection page without knowing the URL,

  1. Start from the FamilySearch home page.
  2. Click on “All Record Collections.”
  3. In the Filter by Name box, type in IGI (or International).
  4. Click on the title, “International Genealogical Index (IGI).”

One person complained that this was a difficult way to find a record collection. Kehrer agreed, but pointed out that you don’t need to get to the IGI page to search the IGI. At least for indexed entries, when you search from the home page, you are searching the IGI. Plus, you also get results from the other 3 billion names in FamilySearch record collections.

As for finding record collections, Kehrer said they are redesigning the page to make it easier to locate any particular collection.

Missing Entries

Users are complaining that entries are missing in the new IGI. One commenter pointed out he had family from South Africa that was missing from the new IGI. I tried searching Community Indexed and got thousands of results from anyplace but South Africa. As I randomly looked through the returned results, skipping 400 results, I happened across one from South Africa (Patrick Saunders Trumpeter). I wonder why it wasn’t at the top of the list? The results were part of the World Miscellaneous Births and Baptisms, 1534-1983 collection. You may have greater luck searching there than searching from the IGI page.

Another commenter singled out Monte Escobedo, Zacatecas, Mexico church records from the middle of the 1800s.

Kehrer verified what users are experiencing. About 234 million records are missing from the IGI.

“When we went live with the IGI on the new site we believed that we had loaded all of the old IGI data,” he said. “We have unfortunately discovered that some data was missed.” This discovery was aided by users who could provide specific examples of missing entries.

FamilySearch has identified about 14 million indexed records and 220 million contributed records that have not been loaded yet. “These records have been identified,” he said. “We’re are in the process of preparing that data and will load it shortly.”

Kehrer said with some confidence that those who can’t find records will probably find their ancestors once they load the missing data.

Got some names, dates, and places of people you know are missing? Leave a comment below and I will pass them on.


Tomorrow: New features, pedigree view, IGI not complete (redux), person search versus record search


  1. Hi,
    An index listing of the batch numbers and the areas they cover.

    In other words if I want to research the Kendal parish records for Westmoreland England, (know now as Cumbria) I'd go to the alphbetical listing in the index, to get the batch numbers then search by a visual search of the entire file.

    Love the batch numbers..

    Thank you.. Nelda

    1. Surely it is even easier . . . in using the search criteria of familysearch . . . to simply specify "Kendal, Westmoreland, England" as the "exact" location for Any/Birth/Marriage/Death (as required) . . . and you get several hundred thousand records which may need reducing by the insertion of an (exact) surname or use of the excellent wild card characters to cover spelling variations in the name. IGI Batch numbers although provided for, ar IMO no longer needed for a relevent search in FS.

  2. The actual Blog URL with extensive discussion of IGI is here:

  3. Well, I look for ancestors in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany, and used the old IGI almost daily at times. And in the new IGI there seems to be simply nothing before the 1800s.

    1. Without specifying the IGI . . . FS returns over 80,000 records for births before 1800 for Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany (this covers replications for records specifying parents on the birth records) . . . I would recommend getting out of the IGI mind-set.

  4. I thought there may be some missing entries because when I searched either the new IGI or the entire site, I could not find the entries I previously found for Andreas C. Gunther, Wurttemburg (sp?), born Feb 1858, or Edward Noble, Ireland, with parents John and Mary Noble or Mary Devine, Ireland, with parents John Devine and Rose Taylor.


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