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Thursday, 13 March 2008

The IGI: The greatest free resource available online

The International Genealogical Index (IGI) is an index created by the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS). The index is available for viewing at all LDS Family History Centres, on microfiche or CD ROM, and also available for searching on the Internet on the LDS FamilySearch web pages. It is possible to purchase the IGI on microfiche (in whole county sets only) from the LDS at a very nominal cost. The IGI is certainly the most comprehensive available index of English parish baptisms and marriages available. (Burials are not in the index, except for a few isolated examples). Many other countries such as the U.S.A, Canada, France etc are also covered. Search online here.

The IGI does not cover every parish in England. A great number are not included.
For those parishes which it does cover, there may be whole periods missing and for those which it does cover, there may be omissions of individual records even in the covered periods.

Some entries in the IGI are from the Bishop's Transcripts and not the original registers, and the BTs themselves are prone to errors and omissions. (Having said that, even the original registers may have entries missing which are in the BTs and vice versa).

You may find more than one entry in the index for the same event with conflicting information.

Some entries in the IGI are from submissions by individual LDS members rather than from parish registers, and many of these are very prone to errors. Be very wary of entries which have an "@" symbol beside them or which state a birth date (rather than a baptism date), or which state a date as being "about".

The best ones are those that say in the messages line 'Extracted birth or christening record for the locality listed in the record', which are those extracted from Old Parish Register (OPR's).

The golden rule with the IGI is to treat it for what it is. It is an index. If you find an entry in the IGI, always look at the films/microfiche of the original parish registers.

Used in this way, it is a great tool to help you with your family history research.

For a more comprehensive introduction to the IGI and advice on how to get the most from it visit What is the IGI?

There is also a website that has sorted and indexed all the IGI Batches, enabling you to search by County/Parish in England, Scotland, Wales & Ireland and States/Counties in the USA & Canada.

To go straight to the relevant page for each country click on the link below:-