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The Computer File index or IGI

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Guy
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Joined: 01 Jun 2020, 19:14
Location: Wakefield
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The Computer File index or IGI

Post by Guy »

Many newer genealogists will have possibly heard of the IGI (International Genealogical Index) but probably do not know what it is or what it contains.

The IGI or rather the Computer File Index as it was then called came to the UK after a genealogist named Fred Filby visited Salt Lake City. It arrived here in the form of the 1976 edition on microfiche. This edition was enlarged and updated a number of times until in 1981 it was renamed the IGI.
Unfortunately many misguided genealogists thought that this meant it was an index of Parish Registers and wrongly used it as such.
In reality the IGI was a combined index of not only the Controlled Extractions (the filmed parish registers) but also the patron submissions and records recorded of the Church Sealing Conversion Program (an internal LDS procedure).
Many did not understand this combination of record sources and as a result the IGI gained a reputation of being inaccurate and being incomplete, but really those who complained about it were failing to understand what it contained and therefore used it in the wrong manner.

The Source Batch indicates what the source of the record was-
Controlled Extraction Records usually began with C or P for Baptisms or Christenings.
J, K or M but excluding M1 for Marriages. Some specific record sets were all number sets starting 725..., 745... and 754...
It should also be noted numeric sets with the third number being less than 4 would be patron submissions.

If these guidelines are followed the IGI was a useful accurate database.
As we have gained from the past, we owe the future a debt, which we pay by sharing today.

Norfolk Nan
Posts: 126
Joined: 16 Jun 2020, 11:54
Location: A Londoner lost in Norfolk

Re: The Computer File index or IGI

Post by Norfolk Nan »

Guy, I’ve already complained about the IGI here today so I should explain. Just one example: the Bucks print out for the surname Green contains a birth for a Daniel Green ‘abt 1742’ in Milton Keynes. There were others but I won’t list them. Daniel does not appear on the record for MK village, in fact he doesn’t appear on any baptism register that I’ve found in over 20 years. I’ve always taken this as a case of wishful thinking on the part of the recorder.

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AdrianBruce
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Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 18:57
Location: South Cheshire

Re: The Computer File index or IGI

Post by AdrianBruce »

Norfolk Nan wrote:
01 Apr 2021, 20:16
... the Bucks print out for the surname Green contains a birth for a Daniel Green ‘abt 1742’ in Milton Keynes. ... I’ve always taken this as a case of wishful thinking on the part of the recorder.
Seeing a birth recorded as "abt 1742" would immediately suggest to me that the genealogist in question had no direct evidence for the birth but had, in effect, estimated it for their family tree. Maybe they had a genuine marriage record for said Daniel, and, with no obvious baptism in the PRs, they estimated a birth 25y (or whatever) before the marriage. Of course, any PR record is 99% certain to have the exact date of birth, not one of "abt 1742", another reason to doubt it.

The IGI then probably contained this chap's family tree, as Guy suggests, as well as the "proper" PRs. So it's not wishful thinking in the sense of someone kidding themselves that the baptism entry is there. It's an estimate - a slightly different form of kidding, perhaps.

Another "red flag" is when you see a birth marked up as "of Milton Keynes". This is often used when they are at MK in later life so the genealogist estimates that they were born at MK.
Adrian Bruce

Norfolk Nan
Posts: 126
Joined: 16 Jun 2020, 11:54
Location: A Londoner lost in Norfolk

Re: The Computer File index or IGI

Post by Norfolk Nan »

I admit I am a misguided researcher as I believed the IGI was all fact rather than some fact, some estimated guesses. How silly can you be? I don’t think I’ve improved :oops:

meekhcs
Posts: 220
Joined: 02 Jun 2020, 18:19
Location: Lincolnshire, but Hampshire born and bred!

Re: The Computer File index or IGI

Post by meekhcs »

Thank you Guy. Great explanation. I loved using the old IGI. It formed the basis for all my Family History research, and where I caught the bug. Must admit I make less use of FamilySearch now than I used to.

Thunder
Posts: 150
Joined: 14 Jun 2020, 01:43

Re: The Computer File index or IGI

Post by Thunder »

One of the drawbacks with the IGI was that not all parish registers were available and Phillimore's 'Parish Registers' book listed those parishes that were or not on the IGI. I found the early versions of the IGI useful but as with all records the IGI is only an index, but in the days when there were no computers, let alone the Internet search engines it was a good resource. I distrust any entries anywhere where it says 'about ...', it usually means that there is no documentation!.

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