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ENGLISH & WELSH ROOTS - The LDS FamilySearch© Website: Using The Batch Numbers
Article posted: September 17, 1999
By: Fawne Stratford-Devai   Biography & Archived Articles


The LDS FamilySearch© website has brought the search for our roots to a new level by placing the vast resources of the Church online. Heralded as the ultimate genealogical gift to the world, the work of the Church to place their resources online has resulted in many family historians spending a vast number of hours and days and weeks online. This issue of English and Welsh Roots is designed to help focus your search of online LDS resources at the FamilySearch© website by using Batch numbers to more effectively search the International Genealogy Index (IGI©) online. Hopefully this article and the resources listed will allow many genealogists to narrow their search parameters, get more information for the time spent online and ultimately allow you to turn off your computer for a time so you visit your local Family History Centre and order the microfilm of the original records and other resources you have found online.

THE FAMILYSEARCH© WEBSITE:

The FamilySearch website www.familysearch.org/default.asp is fairly well known by online genealogists today with easy to follow instructions and screens. The main screen allows you to "Search For Anscestors" by typing in a first and last name and clicking to search all online LDS information for occurrences of your request. Unfortunately, the most frustrating aspect of this blanket search is the 200 name limit to the results screen. For those searching more common surnames, this limit can be frustrating. However, you can refine your search from the results shown or you can click on the specific choices listed for Ancestral File © search or Family History Library Catalogue © search, web page searching or IGI © searching by specific areas for the British Isles, North America, etc. While each of these sub-searches allows you to refine your online search, you are still quite limited to a maximum of 200 results at any one time.

For more information and explanation about the LDS resources mentioned: Read the earlier English and Welsh Roots column on using LDS resources www.globalgenealogy.com/gazfd25.htm

Mark Howells has a very good site to help researchers getting started and more detailed explanations and tips for everyone wanting to use and understand the resources of LDS Family History Centers. Visit the website at: www.oz.net/~markhow/uksearch.htm

The UK and Ireland Genealogy website also includes some information about the LDS at: www.genuki.org.uk/big/LDS/

The main LDS website offers clear explanations of their history and role in family history research: www.lds.org

WHAT ARE BATCH NUMBERS?

Entries in the Church of Latter Day Saints International Genealogy Index - IGI © - come from two major sources of information:

1. Individual Submissions - Members of the LDS church regularly submit information to the church about families or other specific records. These records are then processed by a computer and a Batch number assigned to them. Often the information has been submitted on an Individual Entry Form or a Family Group Sheet. The entries submitted may or may not tell you the sources the used for the information submitted and do not always include up-to-date addresses or information about the submitters themselves. Each batch number will often have an associated film number assigned to which is the LDS microfilm number containing the image of the original entry form(s).

2. The Name Extraction program - The Extraction Program of the Genealogical Department involves thousands of members of the LDS church, volunteering their time to extract names from parish records and other vital records around the world. The data extracted is then grouped together for processing by a computer. The computer assigns a BATCH NUMBER to each grouping of records submitted. As a result each group of parish records that have been extracted are assigned an overall number. Christening records from the parish are then assigned a "C" at the beginning of the parishes batch number. Marriage records are recorded with a batch number that starts with an "M".

If a batch number has leading letters that begin with an M or a C, it usually means they have been extracted from an original record. The information for that record will also provide you with a specific LDS microfilm number for the complete list of the records extracted for that particular "BATCH" of submissions.

What this means is that a Batch Number can lead you to extractions of your particular surname for specific parish or church records, for a specific type of vital event during particular time periods covered by the extraction. Most importantly, the Batch number will allow you to search the IGI to identify all entries for a specific parish that may be connected to your family names.

Basically, Batch numbers can refine your online search very closely to individual parish event records or other IGI submissions.

HOW TO USE BATCH NUMBERS:

The easiest way to describe how to use batch numbers (and find them) is to take a specific example from my own family records and walk through the steps. We will use my BILLINGTON family as an example. The family were known to reside for many years in Buckinghamshire in the parish of Monks Risborough. Using this example we can walk through the steps.

    1. Go to the main FamilySearch website www.familysearch.org/default.asp click on Custom Search.

    2. At the Custom Search screen www.familysearch.org/Search/customhomepage.asp click on IGI search.

    3. Within the IGI search page: www.familysearch.org/Search/searchigi.asp:

    • scroll down and select the REGION you are interested in searching. In this example we are interested in the ‘British Isles'.

    • enter the name you are interested in locating. For example BILLINGTON. (You can also narrow the search to start with by entering a given name or time period). I also enter Elizabeth which is the name of my direct ancestor.

    • when the search terms have been entered, click the search button.

    4. The IGI results screen in this example displays a number of BILLINGTON entries but I am only interested in the Monks Risborough related entries. Furthermore, I know that my direct ancestor's name is Elizabeth who also had a sister Charlotte. When I click on the result for Charlotte or Elizabeth BILLINGTON Christening entries found in the IGI I discover the BATCH NUMBER for Monks Risborough Christening entries is C109931. With a batch number in hand, I can now refine my IGI search to all occurrences of my BILLINGTON surname within extracted christening records of Monks Risborough Parish Church. - return to the main IGI search screen.

    5. Within the IGI search page: www.familysearch.org/Search/searchigi.asp:

    • scroll down and select the REGION - eg. ‘British Isles'.

    • enter the name you are interested in locating - in this instance we still want BILLINGTON.

    • under BATCH NUMBER enter the number C109931.

    • when the search terms have been entered, click the search button.

    • the results screen now lists all BILLINGTON christenings that have been extracted for the parish of Monks Risborough.

    • by clicking on one of the entries you can get further information about the microfilm containing those extractions or the microfilm number for the original parish records. In the case of Monks Risborough Buckinghamshire, the LDS have microfilmed the original parish records held by the Buckinghamshire Record Office in Aylesbury. The microfilm is FHL British Film: 919247.

    6. With microfilm number in hand, I can now visit my local Family History Centre and order the microfilm of the original records to verify all information and perhaps find other family entries.

    7. I can now go back and search the IGI for other family names in the same parish.

As you search using batch numbers you will soon learn that some parishes will have more than one number. The larger the parish the more numbers will be associated with it. This is important because it can help you to experiment with your searching by changing the last digit of the batch number to see if there are any more batches for that parish. In the same way, we initially searched for batch entries for christenings (the batch number began with a C). You can also try searching under the same batch number but substituting an M for marriage record searching. When I use this method of searching for the parish of Monks Risborough I discover 4 marriage entries in the parish for BILLINGTONS. All of whom are connected to my family.

HINTS & TIPS

Don't be afraid to experiment when using batch numbers. For example:

    Point Try changing the last digit of the batch number: i.e. C109930, C109931, C109932, etc.

    Point Try the different prefix letters with the batch number you have found: i.e. if we have C109931, try M109931, P109931

    Point Try different combinations of switching prefix codes and the last number: i.e. if we have C109931, try C109930, C109932, C109933 and M109930, M109932, M109933 or P109931. All of these combinations and permutations will not be always be successful However, like most other searching, every now and then you come across a combination or group of records you did not expect!

    Point Frustrations: You can also encounter some frustration when searching. For example you may know there are names in the IGI database that are not showing up when you are searching, one of the most common reasons for this problem is that the "region" locator on the main search screen has returned to the default of "North America". Always be sure and check the region you are asking for each time.

There are other times when the search engine is not working properly. This problem could be due to maintenance or the site being overloaded with requests. Simply come back to the site later and it should work.

BATCH NUMBER CODES

There a number of codes associated with Batch numbers. While we know from our example search that a batch number beginning with C is associated with Christening records, there are other record codes also.

    A. An LDS Temple record of the sealing of a wife to her husband. Access to the temple sealing record is limited to the couple's direct descendants and their spouses.

    C An original or printed record of births or christenings extracted as part of the extraction programme.

    D Deceased members or 110 year suspended file

    E Marriage records from the early marriage record extraction project - these were used by the LDS for proxy baptisms and endowments

    J Extraction project

    M Marriages - An original or printed record of marriages extracted as part of the Genealogical Department's extraction programme.

    The IGI Resource Guide written by the LDS gives the following meanings for letters used as codes in the IGI Events column:

      A - Adult Christening
      B - Birth
      C - Christening
      D - Death or Burial
      F - Birth or Christening of first known child (in lieu of marriage date)
      M - Marriage
      N - Census
      S - Miscellaneous: A miscellaneous event may substitute for either a birth or a marriage.
      W - Will or probate record.

A very useful explanation for the different IGI prefix letters can be found at the following website: users.deltanet.com/~lrawlins/igi.html which can save you a great deal of time wasted on trial and error

FINDING & SHARING BATCH NUMBERS

If you are wondering where to begin to look for batch number, try the new web site devoted to compiling lists of IGI Batch Numbers at: www.geocities.com/Heartland/Trail/8333/index4.html from this site you will also find individual links to :

IGI Batch Number instructions page on Lyle Rawlins website includes detailed help on using batch numbers as well as explanations for the abbreviations you will encounter when using the records. users.deltanet.com/~lrawlins/igi.html

Steve Jackson's Lancashire Family Research website includes an IGI Batch number search form. There is also a downloadable ZIP file containing the batch number information in a text delimited file which can be loaded into any database program or spreadsheet. ds.dial.pipex.com/i3d/LancsResearch/data/igi_batch_search.shtml

Cornwall Batch numbers website by Phil Ellery members.xoom.com/Phil_Ellery/

IGI Batch numbers for Devon by Mick Curtis: village.vossnet.co.uk/m/mjcurtis/igi.htm

Essex Batch Numbers at the LDS IGI Sources page for Essex County: members.tripod.com/~Jan_Hart/essex.htm

Kent Batch Numbers: www.rootsweb.com/~engken/batchnumbers.txt

London (Middlesex) Batch Numbers: home.clear.net.nz/pages/nzsoghamilton/londonmain.htm

Manchester Batch Numbers: home.clear.net.nz/pages/nzsoghamilton/manchester.htm

Surrey Batch Numbers: www.alphalink.com.au/~isanders/sub_pages/Batch.htm or try the New Zealand Society of Genealogists list at: home.clear.net.nz/pages/nzsoghamilton/surrey.htm

Warwickshire Batch Numbers: www.geocities.com/Heartland/Trail/8333/warwickx.html

The New Zealand Society of Genealogists - Hamilton Branch website also includes many helpful links and lists of Batch numbers at: home.clear.net.nz/pages/nzsoghamilton/batchnumbers.htm

There is also another way to find Batch Numbers on the LDS FamilySearch website:

    Point From the Custom Search screen, select Family History Library Catalogue.

    Point Select a geographic place to search by entering the location you are interested in (such as Buckinghamshire or Buckingham)

    Point When the search results are shown, select Church Records - Indexes

    Point Choose a church you are interested in and then click on the View Film Notes which will tell you what records the LDS has available and for which years.

    Point Now click on View Title Details and you will be given a Batch Number. However, it does not always look exactly like the batch numbers we have discussed. You must convert the number to the form we have been using for searching with batch numbers. To do this simply remove the hyphen in the number. If there is no letter prefix in the number, put an M or a C in front and try searching using the variations discussed previously.

Please consider sharing the Batch Numbers you discover in your search with other researchers.

PARISH LOCATIONS

When searching the IGI it is also important to search surrounding parishes. You will also encounter parish names that you don't know where they are located. In these instances please remember there are many online websites to help you to locate parishes.

Point The Parish Locator website at: www.dmbennett.freeserve.co.uk/ParLoc.htm where you can download the free UK Parish Locator program.

Point UK and Ireland Genealogy - Genuki: www.genuki.org.uk/ The premier website for researching in the United Kingdom. Most Family History Societies have very helpful pages - including lists and information about the parishes in their counties. There is extensive information for all areas of England and Wales.

Point Multi-Media Mapping uk5.multimap.com/map/places.cgi An interactive atlas of Great Britain. Enter the name of a British city, town or village to get a clickable, zoomable, detailed map.

Point Church location database: www.genuki.org.uk/big/parloc/ The church location database was developed from one originally provided by Gerry Lawson, containing information about the location of over 14000 churches and register offices. You can search it via the web and even ask for all the other entries within a specific distance. Alternatively you can download a copy of the database.

Point The Church in Wales: www.churchinwales.org.uk/This website provides basic factual information about all Welsh parishes (ancient and modern), with e-mail addresses and URLs where available.

Published resources for locating parishes and places include the following classic tools:

Point The Philmore ATLAS and INDEX of Parish Registers by Cecil Humphery-Smith. The atlas is the classic reference work for family history. Contains maps of the counties split into parishes and ecclesiastical divisions. Also contains lists of the availability of the parish registers for each county. This is a priceless reference book for anyone researching in England and Wales. globalgenealogy.com/334046.htm

Point Parish Maps of the Counties of Great Britain by The Institute of Heraldic and Genealogical Studies. These are individual large copies of the maps incorporated into the Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers. globalgenealogy.com/ihgsmain.htm

PointA Genealogical Gazetteer of England. by Frank Smith The only book of its kind, this indispensable reference tool with its 17,000 entries is designed to facilitate research by giving the names and descriptions of places in England as they existed prior to 1831, giving location, ecclesiastical jurisdiction, population, and the date of the earliest entry in the registers of every ancient parish. globalgenealogy.com/2185450.htm



Please remember that the IGI is an index like any other index - it is created by individuals. While it is an absolutely incredible resource, no extraction or transcription is perfect. Use it as a pointer only and ALWAYS followup by checking the original records.When ever you find information on the IGI you will want to use the batch and film numbers to order the original records and check the entries yourself.

Your research is the legacy you leave to others - verify all information you find!




EXTRA BITS:


While cleaning out my bookshelves and filing cabinet I found a 1997 pamphlet from the British Tourist Authority roughly 16 page pocket leaflet entitled "Tracing Your Ancestors". It is a great pamphlet written in plain language. I received the pamphlet from British Tourist Authority Office in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I understand the pamphlet is also available by phone enquiry and by mail.

The main British Tourist Authority's US gateway to Britain can be found online at: target="_blank">www.usagateway.visitbritain.com/ . Take a virtual tour of Britain, order free brochures online and much more!

The main website can be found at: http://www.visitbritain.com.



About Fawne Stratford-Devai
Fawne Stratford-Devai's work on Land Records and early Ontario records is well known in the genealogy community. A published author of several Canadian and UK research books, she has also contributed articles to the Ontario Genealogical Society's newsletter "Families" as well as writing for the online family history newsletter the "Global Gazette". Biography


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