Learning to Use the IGI
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“Learning to Use the IGI,” Ensign, Apr. 1997, 71–73

Learning to Use the IGI

Brother Jones was researching his pioneer ancestors. He had prayerfully searched his own family records and used the Ancestral File to see what he could find on a distant uncle, Joseph Grant, who had not joined the Church. Ancestral File had listed Uncle Joseph but not his wife and children. Now Brother Jones was anxious to see if the International Genealogical Index® (IGI) would contain any information on this family.

He prepared for his visit to the stake center FamilySearch® workstation by asking his ward consultant for information about the International Genealogical Index. He learned that the IGI contains names of deceased persons who have had temple work done for them. The current edition includes the 1993 IGI, which contains about 200 million names, and the 1994 Addendum, which contains an additional 40 million names. More than 30 million names are due to be added to the Addendum soon.

He learned that some names in the Addendum are the same names found in the Main IGI but may show additional ordinances. He also learned that persons who were members of the Church in their lifetime were less likely to be found listed in the IGI; therefore, he should carefully consult family records and Ancestral File to help determine if temple work has already been completed for these persons so he knows not to resubmit their names.

Brother Jones learned that he could access the IGI by selecting a search and typing in a name. He could choose to look at the information in three ways: (1) Individual Search, where the ordinances of baptism, endowment, and sealing to parents are listed; (2) Parent Search, where records are arranged by names of parents and often list together the brothers and sisters of a family; or (3) Marriage Search, where marriage sealing information is found. The Individual Search and Parent Search use the same records, but Marriage Search retrieves a different set of records.

Brother Jones chose the Parent Search. First, he looked for Joseph Grant as a child with his brothers and sisters. This was information he already knew, and he used it to become acquainted with using the IGI. He pressed the F8 key and typed in the names of the parents: Joshua Grant and Athalia Howard. Since Athalia was often known as Thalia, he knew he would need to make additional searches for variations in the way her name was listed. Brother Jones did not see Joseph in the Main IGI, so he pressed the F9 key and switched to the Addendum, where he found more than one record for Joseph Grant.

Brother Jones was excited to see the information displayed before him. He also looked for records with the father’s full name, Joshua Grant, and only the mother’s given name, Athalia, where he found a record for Joseph’s sister. He looked for records with the father’s name and with no name in the space for the mother’s name, where he found a record for Joseph’s brother. Then he looked for records with the mother’s full name in the principal search position. This could bring up records in which the father’s name was listed with a different spelling, such as Jos. instead of Joshua.

Next he looked for Joseph Grant as a parent. He typed Joseph’s name into Parent Search. Since he did not know the name of Joseph’s wife, he could not type it in. He looked for the places of birth and dates of the children to see if he could identify any likely candidates. Then he scrolled through all of the listings for Joseph Grant as a father, but he did not find anything helpful.

By pressing the F7 key, he could transfer to the Marriage Search section and search for possible marriage records for his Uncle Joseph. Again, he did not find anything helpful. By pressing the F9 key, he could go from the Main IGI to the Addendum, and he looked in both. He found nothing.

Having exhausted his options using the IGI, he was now ready to extend into original research on this family. He turned to his ward family history consultant, who helped him develop a research plan.—Elizabeth L. Nichols, Salt Lake City, Utah