Using the LDS Genealogy Website
The LDS genealogy website is an invaluable resource for any budding, or veteran genealogist. A visit to their home page at familysearch.org will reveal a wealth of family search resources in an organized, uncomplicated format that is relatively simple for a beginner to follow. To begin with, you can merely type in your ancestor’s name in the LDS genealogy search box to see if any information on them already exists in the database. In the rest of the article I will discuss the various tools that exist to aid researchers, and also how to navigate around the LDS genealogy website.
Starting Your Family History on the LDS Website
The best place to begin searching your family history using the LDS genealogy website is on the homepage under the section Start Your Family History. Underneath this title, you will notice a highlighted link that says get started. Clicking on that link will bring you to a page with all the information you’ll need to begin building your family tree. There is a useful guide on how to begin a family search, as well as some examples of the various records you may encounter on your genealogical journey. Overall there are over a billion records contained in the database, and they are all available to you compliments of the LDS. This genealogy website is probably the most comprehensive resource for anyone considering establishing a family history.
The History of the LDS Genealogy Website
With such a vast database and the assortment of tools it contains, the LDS genealogy website is of immense value to researchers. The main component of the LDS database is known as the International Genealogical Index, and it was begun in 1894. It now contains records of millions of people dating back to the 1500’s right up to present day. Though the older records usually reveal very little information of any genealogical worth, it does show the vastness of the material available to anyone using the LDS genealogy website.
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Originally the creation of the index was the sole effort of the Mormon Church, however now anyone can enter information into it. For this reason the user is urged to be cautious when entering sourced data into their family history, as some entries have been found to be inaccurate. Mainly the index contains information on Baptisms and Marriages from vital records belonging to the LDS. The genealogy website has since grown to contain several hundred million names of people around the world, though with so many people entering data it is wise to be aware of the possible duplication of records.
The IGI (International Genealogical Index) is now composed of:
- Over 2 million rolls of microfilm
- Over 700,000 microfiche
- 310,000 books
- 4,500 periodicals, and
- 700 electronic resources
These genealogical records contain information on people from; Great Britain, the USA, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Africa, Europe and Australia and New Zealand, and is accessible on the LDS genealogy website here: https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/International_Genealogical_Index_(IGI)
Using the IGI on the LDS Genealogy Website
As is standard with any LDS genealogy search related tools, the IGI comes complete with a Help section on how to use it. It's really quite simple, as you basically need to:
- Type in a person’s name. This can be a first name, last, or both.
- Optional - Type in any other information you have available. (Location, date of birth etc.)
- Optional - Select an event (birth, death, marriage, baptism) from the person’s life and enter the date.
- Select the region where the event took place. (Country)
- Begin your search by clicking the Search button.
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As an example I searched only using my surname and region (Canada) and came up with 258 sources. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a first name, the search engine on the LDS genealogy website won’t allow you to type in any regional information other than a country name, so I had to weed through the full 258 returns to find any for Ontario. The good thing about the IGI is that it returns alternate spellings for names, such as Alexander for Alex and such. Overall the IGI on the LDS genealogy website is a valuable tool to begin a family search, why not begin yours today?