you have gathered as much information from relatives as you can, look
for information other researchers may have compiled about your family.
One of the most popular places to start is in the nearest LDS Family History
Center. The Family History Library of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day
Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah is the largest genealogical library in
the world. Its nearly 2500 branches are called Family History Centers.
You can find out if your community has a family history center by looking
in the telephone book under "Churches". The listing for The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints will provide an address and a telephone
number for the local family history center.
FamilySearch provides access to information about more than 300 million
persons in three of its databases: Ancestral File, International Genealogical
Index, and Social Security Death Index. You can also rent any of the
Family History Library's nearly two million rolls of microfilm containing
records from most of the countries of the world. About 100 public libraries
in the United States also have copies of FamilySearch
Ancestral File is a computer database containing information about
some 30 million persons. Each person is linked to a family and through
their family back in time as many generations as family researchers
have provided. Mostly amateur genealogists and family history researchers
submitted these genealogies to the Family History Library over about
two decades (1978-1996). Some of these genealogies extend back into
the Middle Ages and others end by the beginning of this century. Many
persons find ancestors in this file because so many of us are related
to each other. Remember that the pool of ancestors we all came from
shrinks as we go back in time. By the beginning of the seventeenth century,
most of the people on your block are descended from someone in your
ancestral pedigree. Your neighbors are your cousins. The entries in
the Ancestral File normally list the birth/christening, marriage, and
death dates and places for each person in the file. Under the "Sources
Option" (F-9 key), users may also obtain the names and addresses of
the persons who submitted families to the file. There is also a research
interest directory under this option that contains names and addresses
and areas of research interest for thousands of amateur genealogists
and family historians.
The database titled the International Genealogical Index (IGI) was created
in 1969 to record the ancestors of Latter-Day Saints for whom Church
sacraments had been performed vicariously. It became such a key research
tool that many non-Latter-Day Saints began submitting ancestors to receive
Church sacraments to ensure that their ancestors names and data would
appear in the IGI. It also contains data extracted from many of the
original records (births, marriages, deaths, etc.) microfilmed by the
Family History Library since its cameras began copying records in 1938.
Today there are about 240 million entries in the IGI, arranged by world
region. For each person in the IGI, a birth or christening date and
place is normally given and for marriage entries, the names of the spouses,
the dates and places of marriage. The search engine for this database
permits researchers to assemble families by searching for children born
to a specific set of parents.
In the next tip, we will look at two more parts of FamilySearch: the
Social Security Index and Family History Library Catalog.