website is an extremely useful tool that does not cost a penny to use.
Compiled by the Church of the Latter Day Saints for their own
religious purposes, it includes the International Genealogical Index,
which can be an amazingly important pointer to records that pertain to
your family history, and which can, if used properly, advance your
research in various directions. This article notes a couple of tips
that will help you use the site more effectively.
Be warned though that despite its usefulness, the site can often be
inaccurate, and can in many cases miss out records that are known to
be on the original parish registers from which they were originally
extracted. Also, many pedigrees are uploaded to the site by way of
ancestral files from keen enthusiasts who have made assumptions about
material they have found – often it is completely wrong. If you think
you have found your Scottish tree going back to Robert the Bruce or
William Wallace, you may wish to treat such a find with a great deal
of scepticism. Most people can trace their Scottish families back only
as far as the 17th Century with any real degree of
confidence. As a general rule, place more faith in the IGI, but again,
not complete faith, as the IGI can also get it wrong. Use the IGI as a
pointer however, and it can be an invaluable tool.
When searching for a name on the site, often thousands of potential
names can come up that will take ages to sift through. If you find an
entry that you think is correct, note the batch number on the screen,
and try another name search with this number now keyed in. Further
names will be returned, but only in the parish within which you found
your first hit, making it much more possible to find a relevant
connection to another relation.
If you want to find potential children to a couple, fill in the names
of the parents in the fields on the right hand side of the main All
Resources search screen, but do not fill any other field in on the
page at all. Click on “search”, and if the system has those children
listed, they will appear on a list in the subsequent results field.
Again, the lists are often incomplete, but can certainly steer you in
the right direction to complete your search more thoroughly.
If you find an entry of interest on the site, you can order the
relevant microfilm and have it delivered to your nearest Latter Day
Saints family history centre, for a small fee. Alternatively you can
hire a researcher such as ourselves at Scotland’s Greatest Story
to look up the entries for you. The differences can be amazing with
respect to the amount of information held on the index, and that held
on the original parish register.
For example, on the IGI, my 4xgreat grandfather’s marriage is noted
William Paton, male
Spouse, Christian Hay
Marriage, 07 FEB 1798 Perth, Perth, Scotland
If I look up the original record in the register though, I get the
Perth the Third of February
One Thousand Seven Hundred and Ninety eight contracted William Paton,
Soldier in the second battalion of Breadalbanes Fencibles and
Christian Hay, Daughter to the Deceased Lauchlan Hay, Resident in
Perth, Parties both in this Parish Elder Thomas Robertson
The Persons before named
were regularly proclaimed and married the seventh day of February said
year by Mr Duncan MacFarlan Minister of the Gaelic Chapel in Perth.
From this I
not only learn of William’s military career and his wife’s father’s
name, I also now know that there is a strong possibility that one of
the two (or possibly both) was likely to have been a Gaelic speaker.
Scotland’s Greatest Story
we regularly visit New Register House and other archive repositories
to look at the old parochial registers, precisely to put the flesh on
the bones of a tree that many have tried to establish from the Family
Search website. Within a few hours we can transform your tree from a
collection of empty names to an understanding of the lifestyles that
many of your ancestors had – and when errors do pop up that have
originated from the IGI or the main website, we can put you back on
the correct track!
For more information please visit
www.scotlandsgreateststory.co.uk or contact us at
firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing
Scotland’s Greatest Story