October 20, 2014

Family History Episode 26 – Using Church Birth Records in Family History

Family History Genealogy Made Easy PodcastFamily History: Genealogy Made Easy

with Lisa Louise Cooke

Republished April 8, 2014

Download the Show Notes for this Episode

Welcome to this step-by-step series for beginning genealogists—and more experienced ones who want to brush up or learn something new. I first ran this series in 2008-09. So many people have asked about it, I’m bringing it back in weekly segments.

Episode 26Using Church Birth Records in Family History

In our last episode we covered civil birth records. As promised, in this week’s episode we finish up this two part series on birth records by talking about church birth records. Just like with civil birth records, there are a variety of records to track down. So to help us in the hunt I’m bringing back professional genealogist Arlene Eakle, PhD. She helps us see the challenges we face and the success we can have locating church records about our ancestors’ births.

Read the show notes below for exciting updates to the original conversation.

The first place Arlene looks for church birth records is the International Genealogical Index (IGI).  This database can be found at FamilySearch.org. As you can see below, you’ll see a search tool for just the IGI. Community-indexed IGI is what you want to search: the collection of vital and church records from the early 1500s to 1885.

church birth records, IGI

Unfortunately, the indexed entries are not sourced in this database. Chase down the original source of the record with this FamilySearch tutorial.

Here are 3 tips for searching for church records

1. Search for a namesake of the person you are looking for, particularly if they have a fairly unusual or unique name.  Often times that person will be related and give you a clue as to where to find the other person.

2.  Always attempt to get a copy of the original source for information found in transcribed records or online.

3. When you want to locate a church in the U.S. and determine how to access their records, Arlene suggests using Rootsweb and USGenWeb.  US Gen Web is organized by state, then county.

And here are links to 3 more places to look for your family history:

1. Google Books

2. The Social Security Death Index, or SSDI, which we talk about in Episode of this podcast.

3. Volunteer lookups: Arlene mentions Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness. That site went offline, then was revived, but isn’t exactly the same. Find it listed along with other volunteer lookup sites at Cyndi’s List.

Bookmark and Share

FamilySearch Updates Logon, International Genealogy Index

The folks at FamilySearch.org are constantly tweaking their already-great free data site. The latest update involves two important features:

1. There’s now a drop-down menu for logging on to FamilySearch, which makes it easier to access the settings and source boxes from anywhere on the site. (Why have a log-in on a free site? Because FamilySearch doesn’t own most of its record sets, and those who do sometimes place restrictions on use. Those who log in have access to more records than those who don’t.)

2. That “classic” data set, the International Genealogy Index (IGI), is now fully searchable. From FamilySearch’s home page, just click on “All Record Collections” toward the bottom of the page, then enter “IGI” in the search field. (Why search the IGI? It accounts for about 20% of the 3 billion or so records on FamilySearch.org. Both indexed record sets and user-submitted trees are part of the IGI. The IGI has been around for a long time–long before digitized data sets came into use. The IGI can be particularly helpful if you are reviewing or updating research that was done many years ago and/or may have been submitted by Latter-day Saint (Mormon) families.)

Here’s a new, brief video that will walk you through the updates:

 

Bookmark and Share