“Improved Ancestral File™ Lists 9.6 Million Names,” Ensign, Feb. 1992, 80
A second edition of the Church’s Ancestral File, a computer database of family history information, has been released with 9.6 million names on a series of compact discs.
According to David Mayfield, director of the Family History Library, the new edition represents a 43 percent expansion over the previous 1990 version. The new file also features two additional aids—one for compiling and printing descendancy charts and another for making corrections to the database.
For family history workers at the Family History Library or at any family history center that has Ancestral File, a simple function key can access the descendancy chart information. Up to five generations of descendants can be viewed for any one name.
The corrections feature in the improved Ancestral File allows patrons to correct information that is inaccurate or incomplete. Corrections can be made for names, gender, dates, or places. Multiple listings or entries for the same person can be merged into one. Family members can be added, a new family record created for a person already listed in the file; a person can be linked to a family; and a submitter’s name and address can be changed.
The corrected information is saved on a computer disk and submitted to the Family History Department, which will include those changes on future editions of Ancestral File.
Only the most recent changes for a particular record will appear on the Ancestral File screen; therefore, persons making corrections are encouraged to coordinate their efforts with other family members, Brother Mayfield noted.
When corrections are made, the reasons or sources for the corrections are listed in the file’s “History of Changes” section, Brother Mayfield explained. Corrections can only be made using Ancestral File at a FamilySearch computer in the Family History Library or at a family history center. Personal Ancestral File, the Church’s software for home computers, can be used to submit new information to Ancestral File.
In addition, the corrections file also allows someone to register an interest in a particular individual, which enables researchers to contact each other to coordinate research efforts.
Records in Ancestral File have been compiled since 1979. The records have been computerized and linked according to lineage, thus forming Ancestral File.
Ancestral File is a component of FamilySearch™, a set of computer tools available at the library and at family history centers. Besides Ancestral File, FamilySearch includes the Library Catalog, the International Genealogical Index, the Social Security Death Index, and the Military Death Index.