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ENGLISH & WELSH ROOTS - The LDS FamilySearch Website: From Batch Numbers to Original Records.
Article posted: November 5, 1999
By: Fawne Stratford-Devai   Biography & Archived Articles

The September 17, 1999 issue of English and Welsh Roots (Global Gazette Volume III, Number 17) examined the use of Batch Numbers to search the International Genealogical Index (IGI) online through the main Family Search website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Many readers have written thank you emails exclaiming the great resource batch numbers have been in helping them to overcome brick walls and expand their research. At the same time, others have written requesting more information about locating the actual record(s) used for specific Batch extractions. This issue of English and Welsh Roots will use practical examples to help guide researchers from Batch Number entries and other entries in the IGI to the actual records available from the LDS.

Regardless of how much you learn about Batch Numbers or searching the IGI online, the point will come when you will want/need to request the actual record(s) that were used to extract the information found in the batch file. The original records cannot be viewed online. They must be ordered from the Main Library in Salt Lake City on loan to your local Family History Centre. To locate a FHC in your area: look in the white pages under Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. If there is no special FHC listing, call the church on Sunday mornings to inquire about the nearest Family History Center. The locations of Family History Centres can also be found on the main web site for the LDS:

In the April 15th, 1999 issue of the Global Gazette, the English and Welsh Roots column provided an overview of the resources to be found in your local Family History Center (FHC). The article is available online at

    I searched the IGI and found the person I was looking for, Thomas Pitkin, born 7 Jun 1838, Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbright, Scotland. The source info was Batch No. 0970127, sheet 50. I went to my local LDS library and thought they could order in the film for me to view from those details, however, they said I needed a Film No. They looked it up on their CD's and found that the Source No. was 1553434 Type: Film. Now how do I go about ordering the film from those details? The LDS librarians advised me to write to Salt Lake City and inquire as to the film no. that matched the batch no. I have, but I felt there must be an easier way to locate the film No. Please advise me on how to go about this....
A search of the online IGI reveals 2 entries for Thomas Pitkin:

Entry #1:
Sex: M
Event(s): Born: 7 Jun 1838 Castle Douglas, Kirkcudbright, Scotland
Father: Thomas PITKIN
Mother: Sarah HILL
Source Information:
Batch number: 0970127
Sheet: 50

Entry #2: reads as above, however the source information is different:
Source Information:
Batch number: 0970268
Sheet: 0

The International Genealogical Index © - IGI - is an incredible resource now available online through the Family Search © website of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Please remember that the IGI is only an index. Someone has physically entered the information into the index from a source record. No person entering information is perfect - typing errors and omissions are made on a regular basis. In earlier versions of the IGI on fiche, entire parishes were mis-labelled. Many parish records included were based solely on the Bishops Transcripts (which are notoriously incomplete) and were not taken from the actual parish registers. The IGI is NOT the definitive source of information. Researchers must ALWAYS check the source record to verify the information. The IGI is a wonderful tool....a guide or an indicator of where else you can look. If you are not careful that indicator can point you in the wrong direction wasting a great deal of your time.

Most records were not created for the convenience of family historians - they were created for many other purposes; the IGI is no different. The IGI was created for use by the LDS church and its members. In the early days of the IGI most entries were the personal research of LDS church members. As most of us know, personal information is only as good as the person who submitted it. You will sometimes encounter the same individual entered twice - once through the systematic controlled extraction and indexing of original records (such as parish records); and once as a personal entry submitted by a member of the Church. Given a choice such as this - always request the microfilm of the original records to confirm. On the one hand, the microfilm of the original parish register would confirm the accuracy of the entry and you may even find other family entries in the same register. On the other hand, the personal submission will provide you with a family group sheet submitted by what may turn out to be a distant cousin.

Also remember, the coverage of the IGI is far from complete. Many parishes in England did not allow the LDS to microfilm or have access to their records. Just because your ancestor is not in the IGI do not give up. There are many records that have been microfilmed by the LDS and are available for loan to your local Family History Center that are not extracted and indexed in the IGI. Working through the example above will help to illustrate the many resources available to researchers who go beyond the online search results in the IGI.

As the email enquiry states - the local Family History Center provided a source number to our reader: Source No. was 1553434 Type: Film. We can check the online Family History Catalogue to confirm what the source number refers to.

From the Family History Library Catalogue site choose ALL SEARCHES - then FILM/FICHE SEARCH after typing in the source number 1553434 in the box provided on the screen. The search screen reveals the item listed for source number 1553434 are for Patron submitted forms. The notes tell us that researchers should:
    Use the IGI Batch Number Index rather than this record to identify film numbers. Individual entry forms and family group sheets used to submit names to the temples for temple work. Arranged by batch number for the year and date submitted.
The "IGI Batch Number Index" is an old LDS tool which is designed to help you find the sources for the information listed about individuals in the International Genealogical Index - IGI. The Batch Number Index is NOT available online. There is a website however which explains IGI Batch Numbers and the IGI Batch Number Index at:

The initial work to find the source of the original records can be done online using the Family History Library Catalogue.

If you ever wanted the library catalog for the most extensive collection of family history books, films, fiche and other research tools - the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) is it! This catalog is the key to unlocking what records from around the world are available at the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Records listed in the Catalog - both microfilm/microfiche of original records and secondary sources can be borrowed from the main library in Salt Lake City to the local FHC. Records in the Catalog are generally filed by locality where the event took place and then the type of record available. For example, Canada--Ontario--Vital Records--births 1869-1901.... Try finding the locality you are interested in and then look for records such as vital or civil registration records (births, marriage and death records) cemetery, census, church, probate (wills) emigration and other records.

Much like any library catalogue there are listings by:>
    Author: listing books by author's last name.
    Title: listing books/films/videos/etc by title.
    Subject: listing topics like emigration, immigration, passenger lists...
Plus - the Family History Library Catalog adds two more important listings: Surname and Locality.

Why use the Family History Library Catalog?
Researchers can use the FHLC to determine if the library in Salt Lake has the microfilm or microfiche for a particular book or record available to order and view at your local FH Center. There are usually more than 5,000 items added to the collection every month and for this reason the catalog is updated. Most experienced researchers order microfilms on a regular basis, by using the FHLC to find the correct film numbers or fiche numbers, etc.

Many of the books in the main FH Library's surname section have been microfilmed. The 200 most used reference works are already on fiche at your local Family History Center under the Special Collections I & II classification.

Although a question about a Scottish record, the PILKIN example submitted by the Gazette reader provides an opportunity to search the Family History Library Catalog online to find the microfilm number for the parish records from which the PILKIN entry was extracted. Regardless of the locality in which you are researching, the process and results are the same. To find the parish records search the catalogue based on the place name:

From the Family History Library Catalogue sitechoose PLACE SEARCH

Enter Kirkcudbright, Scotland (click the search button)
Two entries are returned:
Scotland, Kirckcudbright and,
Scotland, Kirckcudbright, Kirckcudbright
Choosing the first entry reveals a screen listing a wide range of resources in the main library for Kirckcudbright Scotland; including biographies, cemeteries, census, church directories, church records, indexes and much more.

Work through the list of sources provided, keeping in mind that the entry was from a parish record (church record). Under the entry - CHURCH RECORDS - INDEXES - another screen reveals an entry in the catalogue for the INDEX TO OLD PAROCHIAL REGISTERS, Kirkcudbright County, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Family History Department. A further click of the record refines the search to such detailed information as the format of the indexes being a Manuscript on 14 microfiche published by the LDS (Genealogical Society of Utah) circa 1990. They are also known as the O.P.R index or old parochial registers index. A further click of VIEW FILM NOTES button reveals the details of the microfiche and their catalogue numbers so you can order the fiche on loan to your local Family History Center.

Under the entry CHURCH RECORDS - INVENTORIES, REGISTERS, CATALOGS a listing is revealed for an excellent resource compiled by the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society (Added Author) The Counties of Kirkcudbright and Wigtown showing overall dates of old parochial records : held in Edinburgh and available worldwide on microfilm. The map is not available for loan to your local Family History Centre put could be purchased from the Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society.

By returning to the main search results screen and clicking on the second Kirkcudbright entry: SCOTLAND, KIRCKCUDBRIGHT, KIRCKCUDBRIGHT another screen of resources is listed. Choosing the link for CHURCH RECORDS provides a screen that allows you to see what is listed for Church of Scotland Parish Records. CHURCH OF SCOTLAND - PARISH CHURCH OF KIRKCUDBRIGHT entry available as Microfilm of original records (Books OPR 871 ; vols. 1-3.) in the New Register House, Edinburgh, on 2 microfilm reels (35 mm). Follow through the entry by clicking the VIEW FILM NOTES button to reveal the actual microfilm reel numbers: Baptisms, 1743-1854 Marriages, 1743-1854 Burials, 1783-1792, 1826-1853 are found on FHL BRITISH Film 1068032 Items 3-5 and Baptisms, 1706-1708 FHL BRITISH Film 889489 Item 4.

The results of your search in the online catalog will now allow you to visit your local Family History Centre and request a loan of the microfilm.

To recap the basic steps:
  • Search by place.

  • Refine your search based on the type of record you are looking for.

  • Always click the VIEW FILM NOTES button to find the actual call number of record or resource so you can order it on loan to your local Family History Centre
The lesson to be learned from the above example is simple - the main Family History Library Catalog online offers a variety of both primary and secondary resources for specific localities that are quite staggering. Use the opportunity provided by the online catalogue to write down the call numbers or film numbers for the sources you are most interested in pursuing and make a trip to your local Family History Centre to order the resources on loan. A volunteer at your local Family History Centre will call you when the film or fiche arrive and you can arrange a time to view the records at the centre.

Once an entry has been located in a batch file (using the batch number) there is a additional option available to researchers who do not want to have to go through the catalogue and request the film on loan - and then wait for the film to arrive at their local Family History Center.

Through your local Family History Center there is a form to request 'COPIES' of specific entries. Be very specific though, -- make sure you state you want EITHER the copies from the extract batch file OR the copy from the original parish register microfilm. The request can be made without supplying the parish register microfilm number, but make sure you check with the local Family History Center to confirm this. The last time I used this option, the cost was $2.00 US for 8 copies (8 separate entries/photocopies). The price for copies may vary depending on the country you are requesting them from. Check with your local Family History Center for confirmation.

Resources for further information:

Online Resources:
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:

There is also a tutorial to help researchers better understand "the largest collection in the world". Visit the following website:

The UK and Ireland Genealogy website also includes some information about the LDS at:

Terry Morgan provides a website introduction to Family History Centers at:

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

If you are wondering where to begin to look for BATCH NUMBERS, try the new web site devoted to compiling lists of IGI Batch Numbers at: from this site you will also find individual links to :

What is the IGI: Learn more about the IGI at the following website:

IGI Batch Number instructions page - Lyle Rawlins website includes detailed help on using batch numbers as well as explanations for the abbreviations you will encounter when using the records.

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.

NOTE: to date I have been unable to locate a central website for North American Batch Numbers. If such a resource exists, or if one becomes available, please let me know so it can be highlighted in a future issue of English and Welsh Roots.

Published Resources:

Your English Ancestry, A Guide for North Americans - Revised Edition by Sherry Irvine. In particular appendix A: The Family History Library Catalog and appendix B: The IGI.

Tracing Your Family Tree - by Jean Cole and John Titford. In particular chapter 6 which discusses the I.G.I.

Making the Most of the I.G.I. - by Eve McLaughlin.

FamilySearch on the Internet By David Hawgood - New, basic little guide to using FamilySearch on the Internet. This little book guides you through the best methods of getting data from the site. 1st edition 1999. (Editor's note: This book is on order and will be at within 10 days. If you want a copy contact and she can researve one for you.)

Whether you are searching for data online, through local family history societies or on other electronic products, please remember there is absolutely NO substitute for verifying the information in the original records. All indexes, databases and other publications should be used as pointers to original records which you must access at some point to ensure the accuracy of your research.

Always remember, your research is the legacy you leave to others - verify all information you find!

Rights and Use Information: International Genealogical Index is a registered trademarks of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Family History Library Catalog, and Family History Center are trademarks of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Take a Virtual Visit to the UK through the British Government's web site in Canada, operated by the British High Commission in Ottawa

Child Migrants to Canada: ( Canadian Home Children ) From the middle of the 19th Century and up to the late 1960s some 150,000 children were emigrated from the United Kingdom to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and some other former British dominions or territories. The emigration scheme to Canada came to an end during the 1930s. Migration schemes were run by national voluntary organisations, and were sanctioned by laws passed in both the UK and Canada. Learn more about Child Migrants and the recommendations for a central database of information in the UK to help trace and access the personal details held in the records of the sending agencies at:

Canadian Home Children: Search the online database at the National Archives. Special thanks must be given to the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa who are working with the Archives ot make this resource available. Volunteers are locating and indexing the names of Home Children found in passenger lists in the custody of the National Archives of Canada which will continue to be added to the Archives' website:

Glossary of Diseases: Ever wondered what those strange diseases were that you find listed on death certificates and other sources? Check out the glossary of diseases at: . Don't miss a wonderful complementary site of Colonial Diseases & Cures at:

Additional information about searching your English and Welsh Roots is available online FREE from The Global Gazette. The following articles can be viewed online at the website address provided for each:

English & Welsh Roots: Getting Started.
Global Gazette - Wednesday, February 24, 1999. Volume III, Number 04.

Getting from Here to There: Passenger Lists.
Global Gazette - Wednesday, March 17, 1999. Volume III, Number 05.

Family History Centers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS).
Global Gazette - Thursday, April 15, 1999. Volume III, Number 06.

Government Records of Births, Marriages & Deaths: Civil Registration in England & Wales:
Part 1: Global Gazette - Thursday, April 29, 1999. Volume III, Number 07.
Part 2: Global Gazette - Friday, May 21, 1999. Volume III, Number 08.

Parish Records in England and Wales.
Global Gazette - Friday, June 11, 1999. Volume III, Number 09.

Census Records 1841 - 1891:
Part 1: Global Gazette - Friday, June 25, 1999. Volume III, Number 10.
Part 2: Global Gazette - Friday, July 11, 1999. Volume III, Number 11.

LDS 1881 UK Census CD-Rom: Problems & Solutions.
Guest author Barney Tyrwitt-Drake.
Global Gazette - Thursday, August 12, 1999. Volume III, Number 13.

English & Welsh Databases & Indexes.
Global Gazette - Friday, September 3, 1999. Volume III, Number 15.

The LDS FamilySearch Website: Using Batch Numbers.
Global Gazette - Friday, September 17, 1999. Volume III, Number 17.

The Marriage Records of England & Wales: A Comedy of Errors Continued.... Guest author Michael Whitfield Foster.
Global Gazette - Monday, October 4, 1999. Volume III, Number 19.

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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