Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I had a strange request the other day about IGI records. Someone assumed the Library had them all on fiche. It appears there was some confusion as to what the IGI numbers actually were.
IGI stands for the International Genealogical Index, which is a partial index to vital records from around the world. It is one of the world’s largest collection of genealogical records. Information comes from individual research and original records. The majority of the names are from records of people who lived between 1500 and 1885. The index contains:
The names of millions of deceased persons from throughout the world.
Dates and places of births, christenings, marriages, and other events.
Latter-day Saint ordinance information.
Some of the information may have come from microfilm copies of the original records. Because the original records may have been updated by the record custodians, you may find additional, more accurate information in the original records. You may also be able to obtain official copies of the original records by contacting the appropriate record custodian.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often referred to as the LDS) has made the International Genealogical Index (the "IGI") available on the internet at
http://www.familysearch.org/ and provided a very effective searching capability. However, it is not always easy to locate your ancestors (even if they are there in the IGI) using the search mechanisms provided at that site. This is because a search by last name only is not permitted unless you search within a single batch of records at a time or, at minimum, across the entire country (not even a single county let alone a town). If you have a rare name this might be OK but what if you are looking for Smith or Jones?
There are the standard warnings about relying on the IGI - as with any secondary source it should only be used as a finding aid and the primary source material should be referred to for definitive information. There ARE mistakes but, nevertheless, used properly it is indispensible.
The LDS has organised the records in the IGI into 'batches'. These batches relate to how and when the information was extracted from source material. This is where Hugh Wallis comes to the rescue at his site
http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~hughwallis/IGIBatchNumbers.htm , but more of that another time.

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Monday, June 2, 2008


Have you noticed while researching your family history that in Australia we refer to Births, Deaths and Marriages, with these life events in alphabetical order, while in other places such as the UK, they refer to Births, Marriages and Deaths, in chronological order of the life events. What difference does it make?

Well it could make a quite a bit of difference if you are trying to find websites, but have inadvertently put in the letters the wrong way round.

Have you checked out http://www.ukbmd.org.uk/ for UK births, marriages & deaths? Does it come close to http://www.bdm.nsw.gov.au/ NSW births deaths & marriages?

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New records on Ancestry Library

You can now search NSW Assisted Immigration Passenger Lists 1828-1896 and NSW Unassisted Immigrant Passenger Lists 1826-1922 on Ancestry Library. While it makes searching a lot easier, just using a name search, there is still not a lot of information there, especially in the Unassisted Immigrant Passenger lists, where first names can be hard to come by.

Early immigration records can be challenging at the best of times. Convicts are reasonably easy – there are plenty of records for them – after all it was somebody’s job to keep a watch on them - but free settlers are a different kettle of fish. Because free passengers paid their own way, the authorities weren’t terribly interested in them and during the 1850s with the influx of people during the gold rushes, they actually stopped collecting names and just counted heads.

Assisted immigrants fared better in terms of records. They had to meet specific qualifications in terms of health, age and occupation, which in turn required record keeping. Another category is ‘Crew’ – the marines/soldiers and crew needed to manage prisoners, or man ships on the journey here. Assuming they didn’t jump ship, change their name or give false information about themselves, records exist for ship’s crew.

Don’t forget your local archives authority – in NSW indexes can be found on-line at http://www.records.nsw.gov.au/archives/indexes_online_3357.asp

There are also British Army WWI Service Records; England and Wales Births, Deaths, Marriages to 1983 uploaded onto Ancestry library.

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