What information is included in Ancestral File™?

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“What information is included in Ancestral File™?” Ensign, Aug. 1995, 73

Why wouldn’t information submitted to the Church from three-generation and four-generation family group sheets in the 1960s and 1970s be included in Ancestral File™?

Stephen K. Kendall, director of research support services, Family History Department.

At the request of Church leaders, members submitted three-generation family group records to the Church from 1962 to 1965. Then from 1965 through the early 1970s, members were asked to submit four-generation family group records.

During those years, the Church received many duplicate family group records as well as many different versions of the same record. Consequently, in 1978 the Church requested that families verify information about their four-generation records and submit one copy of the family group records and a pedigree chart for the four generations. These post-1978 submissions, rather than the earlier group records, were typed into computers over a period of several years, becoming the basis of Ancestral File.

Ancestral File contains approximately twenty million names linked in family groups and pedigrees. It will be expanded as individuals and organizations continue contributing family history information. Ancestral File is part of FamilySearch®, a computer system that helps members find ordinances and genealogical information on ancestors.

Families that have not submitted updated family group information should submit this information only after carefully verifying data with family members to ensure accuracy and determine whether others have already submitted the information since 1978. Using a personal computer program such as Personal Ancestral File®, members make submissions to Ancestral File on computer diskettes. Ward family history consultants can provide assistance.

Families without a personal computer can submit information using Church-owned computers at meetinghouses and stake centers. Stake and ward leaders have been instructed to install Personal Ancestral File on these computers. If submitting information on computer diskettes is still not possible, families can submit information on paper to Ancestral File Operations, 50 East North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150.

If individuals find information in Ancestral File that does not agree with personal records, they should coordinate corrections with contributors. Sources and reasons must be provided for corrections to be made. In some cases, information that may appear to be inaccurate has been thoroughly documented through extensive research.

Family group records submitted in the 1960s and 1970s are available on microfilm through family history centers and the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Individuals can locate microfilm numbers of the Family Group Records Collections in the Family History Library Catalog™. The catalog is available either on microfiche or as part of FamilySearch.