IGI Batch Numbers
Overheard in GenForum, July 1, 1999
Q: How do you find out what the source is for a particular batch file or film in the IGI? -- Linda
A: One of the most important things to remember when working with the International Genealogical Index is its reason for existing. It is an index of temple ordinance work completed by LDS members on behalf of deceased ancestors. LDS members believe that families are eternal and that they are linked together even after death. However, for that connection to take place, it must happen here on earth. As a result, LDS members do temple ordinances by proxy on behalf of their ancestors.
As you can imagine there is the possibility for duplication in this effort as John who lives in Massachusetts works on his Robert ADAMS and a couple of years later, James out in California discovers he connects to that same Robert ADAMS. So off he goes to do the same work.
The International Genealogical Index was created to help avoid duplication in what the LDS feel is a most important work that needs to be done here on earth. This index contains several hundred million names of deceased individuals for whom LDS temple work has been done. However, genealogists quickly discovered that this index was a great tool to help in pin pointing the birth or marriage place for some of their ancestors as well.
The International Genealogical Index(r) includes the names of several hundred million deceased individuals worldwide.
What Does an IGI Entry Contain?
Entries in the IGI are not grouped together in family units or in lineage's such as a pedigree. Each person is a separate entry and will have the following information:
- Name of the individual
- Name of the parents or spouse
- Event type (e.g. birth, marriage, census, will)
- Event date
- Event place
- Source batch number
- Source information
Is That All There Is?
While the CD-ROM version of the IGI offers you a great deal of information about the entry, there are still reasons to return to the original record in most cases. However, if you are using the online version of the IGI, you do not have access to the source information. How do you know what you have and where the information is from?
Decoding the Batch Number
The best way to understand where the record is from, is to learn what the various batch numbers stand for. Back in the old days, before computers in the Family History Centers, we relied on a microfiche version of the IGI. Once you had the entry you were interested in, you then had to convert the batch number to an input source number (which was usually the microfilm or microfiche number where the original source could be found). This fiche is the IGI Batch Number Index and it is still available at your local Family History Center even today. It is a valuable tool when trying to understand the origins of any entries in the IGI.
Below is a table that details the beginning character or characters to a batch number and an accompanying description for batch numbers beginning with those letters or numbers.
- A : LDS temple sealing, only available in Special Collections. Original record open only to certain LDS members
- C : Birth and christenings from LDS extraction work - records usually on microfilm
- D : Patron notification, should have another Batch number listed, which is the one you would actually concentrate on
- E : Marriages from LDS extraction work - records may be available on microfilm
- F : Family group records that are available on microfilm
- H : LDS church membership records of deceased individuals
- J, K : Birth and christenings from LDS extraction work - records may be on microfilm
- L : LDS temple originated record
- M : Marriages from LDS extraction work - records usually on microfilm (with the exception of M17 and M18)
- M17, M18 : Early LDS temple sealing records
- P : Births and christenings from LDS extraction work - records may be on microfilm
- T : Information comes from family group records, work done by the special groups, such as work on Royalty, and information from the Temple Records Index Bureau (TIB)
- 0000001 to 0000023 : Patron submissions to temples outside the United States
- 500: Similar to F above, family group records
- 60 to 68999999 : Patron submission that were automated through PAF
- 694: Early LDS ward and branch records available on microfilm
- 6940405 to 69449426 : Card index to early LDS ward and branch records
- 69407: Early LDS ward and branch records from Scandinavia
- 69409: Family group records
- 696: Records not open to the public
- 725: Marriages from England indexed by J.S.W.
- 744: Several extraction projects
- 745, 754 : Extraction from statewide vital records indexes
- 766: Patron submissions on Marriage Entry form or entries from extraction (requires the 766 Batch Cross Index to get the actual batch number)
- 8-4 to 8-9 : Patron submissions
Once you have the film number, you can then use the FHLC on CD to search for the actual record by using the Film/Fiche number search option. You cannot type in the batch number and get the film number. At the present time, that is not an available option.
Rhonda R. McClure is a professional genealogist specializing in celebrity trees and computerized genealogy. She has been involved in online genealogy for fifteen years. She is an award-winning author of several genealogy how-to books, including The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, The Genealogist's Computer Companion, and Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
See more advice from Rhonda in her columns Expert Tips, Tigs and Trees, and Overheard in the Message Boards.