IGI stands for International Genealogical Index. This terminology originally applied to the entire enormous database created and maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or LDS, also known as the Mormons, but now has a more restricted meaning. Please note this page is not an official LDS page.
The Mormons have an extensive program to film vast numbers of old records which are an aid to genealogy. For example, they film records of churches of all denominations, ancient land tax records, military records, shipping lists, census records and so on. Most records are available to all people, regardless of religion, although a few are restricted to LDS church members. Previously, the filming was available in the form of microfilms. However this format is no longer generally available, and microfilms have now all been digitised, although this does NOT mean that all are available to view online. Some records are available to view for free on your home computer, however some records are only available to view at a FamilySearch Centre, or perhaps at a FamilySearch Affiliate Library, while some records are not available to view online at all, for contractual, or privacy reasons.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints or LDS, now has a website FamilySearch. Records may be found mainly in three sections of the website under the category Search, subcategories Records (also called Historical Records), Genealogies, and Family Tree. In addition, details of digitised microfilms may be located through the Catalogue Search, refer below.
Records found in the Historical Records category include index transcriptions of microfilmed records, and are accurate records, apart from transcription errors or omissions. In addition, there are digital pages of images of church, and other, records which have not been transcribed, so it is necessary to browse these collections.
The categories Genealogies and Family Tree contains records and family trees submitted by users. The website states: "Accuracy of the data in these genealogies varies from tree to tree; we encourage you to validate all data". The term IGI is now restricted to a subcategory of submitted records in Genealogies. Some records in Family Tree include Sources, which enables you to evaluate, or check, the source of the information, but some information appears unsupported by evidence, and should be considered speculative.
The transcribed Historical Records deal almost exclusively with Europeans and Anglo-Indians (Eurasians), as they are records from Christian churches.
The details following refer to records from Christian churches.
Update: From 13 December 2017, you need to "Sign In" to the FamilySearch website, in order to be able to Search the records. This link is located in the top right hand corner of the website. Also refer External links, below for details.
Note, even searching the FamilySearch Catalog may produce less favourable results if you are not signed in.
A new website was introduced 28 April 2010. FamilySearch. This is a free website.
First click on Search/Records. To access the India and Ceylon records, then click on the map for “Asia and Middle East” and select either India, or Sri Lanka. Click on "Start researching in India".This will bring you to a Search facility which searches all the searchable databases for India (a handy new feature available from c October 2014). The direct link is India. If you want to search a particular database (for baptisms, marriages or burials), click on "view all collections". India related baptisms, marriages and burials can also be researched by using the left side filter Asia and Middle East . The searchable India records are transcriptions, are described as index records and do not contain images.
- Note: The set of records which comprises the searchable India records are now also available on findmypast, as searchable records with images.
The Sri Lanka page contains the database Sri Lanka, Colombo District Dutch Reformed Church Records 1677-1990 (Alternative catalogue entry). Indexes and images online, and further click though to a FamilySearch Wiki page about these records. Note, the images may take some time to load. Hints for browsing these Ceylon images.
A series of images only (not searchable) (added March 2013), accessible from the India page is India, Gujarat Diocese Protestant Church Records, 1854-2012 Some of the records are in the Hindi and Gujarati languages, but there are some records in English, as evidenced by one of the sample records shown. The Catalogue entry shows some pre 1947 records, but most seem to be post 1947.
A further set of images only (not searchable) was added May 2015, India, Madras Diocese Protestant Church Records, 1743-1990, baptisms, marriages and burials from the Church of South India, Madras Diocese. Catalogue entry. These are the type of records known as Bishop's Transcripts, copies sent by parishes to the Diocesan Office. Hints for browsing these records. Note: The category date range allocated by FamilySeach for these latter records may be very unreliable. As an example for Marriages: 1872 Jul-1877 Jun, page 1 shows some marriages from 1843, and the majority of the records on the first four pages are either earlier or later than the dates specified. Update August 2021: At least some records in this series are being indexed, and in time will be added to the FamilySearch database, and be searchable.
Further images may be located through the catalogue Search, refer below.
To confuse matters, the (small) number of transcribed records for "other" areas in Asia such as Macao, Singapore, Bencoolen etc available on the FamilySearch website now are not found in the Asia category, but in the “All Published Collections” category, subcategory "Other", in a group of records called "World Miscellaneous" and may be accessed through the following links: World Miscellaneous Births and Baptisms, World Miscellaneous Marriages, World Miscellaneous Deaths and Burials. Included in this group are records from St. Helena, China and a small number from Indonesia, Iran, previously Persia, and a few records from India and Bangladesh.
The FamilySearch website previously described the transcribed records for India as "Index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records" for births and baptisms, marriages, deaths and burials. The current description is "Index based upon data collected by the Genealogical Society of Utah, Salt Lake City". They in fact appear to be based on the India Office church records at the British Library , including the N/5 Indian States records., although FamilySearch has never confirmed this source. However, it appears that the records from the Madras Ecclesiastical Returns - Omissions and Corrections 1777-1884 are not included. Also not included are the N/11 Registrar Marriages series.
Please note that on an individual basis the LDS record does not show all the details available on the original. Also not every India Office church record is recorded in the LDS database. Some individual entries are known to have been omitted, probably due to error. In addition, although in the past for privacy reasons there were no records shown for dates of birth after January-March 1910, or marriages after January-March 1935, (these dates are those applying in April 2010 when the database was introduced and had remained unchanged; Findmypast will generally have later information, which may be full, or limited), at 2020/03/06 it was noticed that records were appearing without restriction, and were available for dates up to c 1948. For alternative records, refer below. Death records are available to 1948. Some of the records contain the description Race: White. This should be disregarded as it is a fabrication as the original IOR church records do not contain a classification for race at all. (The few records that do have a classifation for race use the terminology European not white).
If you are searching for a name which could have various spellings, you can search using a single letter replaced by a wildcard question mark ?, or the multiple character wildcard asterisk * 
Note that the FamilySearch transcribed databases are also available on the pay site Ancestry, (world wide subscription) under the titles "India, Select Marriages 1792-1948"; "India, Select Marriages, 1792-1948"; "India, Select Deaths and Burials, 1719-1948". These records are transcriptions without images. The privacy restrictions appear to be the same as the FamilySearch restrictions.
As mentioned above, the set of records which [apparently] comprises the FamilySearch transcribed India databases (being India Office church records at the British Library) are now also available on Findmypast, as searchable records with images.
To find out details of digitised microfilms, use the FamilySearch catalogue, or reach the same link from the FS Home Page/Search/Catalog. Additionally there is now a Catalogue link on each Location page (introduced 2018/03). Those digitised records which are viewable online in some way contain a camera icon. Some digitised microfilms of Church registers in India are available to view on your home computer. However, if the microfilmed record originated at the British Library, the digitised microfilm must be viewed at a FamilySearch Centre, or possibly at a Family Search Affiliate Library - check the details in the Catalogue entry for the microfilm number, but make sure you are previously signed in, as different information can be displayed depending on your sign in status.
There is an alternative way of locating some (but not all) digitised microfilms, through FS Home Page/Search/Images. Explore Historical Images enables a Search by Place, or the Advanced Search includes more options including DGS number, (described below) but not by a person's name. The records available are those that may be viewed on home computers without any restriction, so excludes any records originating from the British Library.
You can view all online data at FamilySearch Centres (also known as Family History Centres) (FHC). Check whether you can book a computer at the FHC. A personal "Sign In", as above, is required at a FHC.
This website has maintenance done in the middle of the night Utah time, when it may be unavailable, or perhaps partially available when it may become unreliable when searching. Come back another time. (Utah time is UK time less seven hours)
If you have found a transcribed record from the India Births, Marriages or Burials on FamilySearch, as stated previously please be aware that this is not a full record. It is recommended that you view the original entry from the microfilm quoted. This will almost always contain occupational information which may provide a valuable clue for the location of further records. In addition, you can check that there have been no transcription errors. Information about microfilms/digitised microfilms may be found in the Fibiwiki article FamilySearch Centres. In addition there is a new (c 2021 May) FamilySearch service, about which conflicting information has been seen, but possibly may be relevant to obtaining a copy of India related records, being the Family History Library Record Look up Service - note however the online form requires an image number which generally is not available from the FamilySearch record, but there is conflicting advice about whether the image number is essential. Note also that there is an alternative way to obtain a copy of a record, as most of the record images are now available on the pay website Findmypast. If the image is available on Findmypast, this may be the most convenient method for many people. If the image is not available on Findmypast, and the Family History Library Look up service is not applicable, and a FamilySearch Centre, or if applicable a FamilySearch Affiliate Library, is not geographically convenient, there is the option to request a copy from the British Library (fee applies), (which may be the cheapest option for some people, noting that at times the India Births, Marriages or Burials images have not been available at FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries).
Using LDS microfilms
Note: Microfilm ordering ceased September 2017. Most digitised microfilms of records from the British Library are currently available for viewing on a FamilySearch computer at a FamilySearch Centre, or possibly at a FamilySearch Affiliate Library. Some microfilms of Church registers filmed in India are available to be viewed on your home computer. Access the microfilms though the FamilySearch catalogue (ensure you are signed it to FS, or results could vary), and click on the camera icon for those records which have been digitised. Note however, at 2019/03, there may be problems with the access of both catalogue information, and the databases, see FamilySearch Centres for more details. Please take this into account when reading the Fibiwiki pages below.
When a microfilm has been digitised it is also, in addition to the microfilm number, allocated a DGS number, referred to as a Digital Folder number. The latter number appears to becoming the main reference number for a record set. (The URL for a record set has the format (at 2021/12) https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/007251509 where the last number is the DGS number, from catalogue entry. The format including an image number (example image 45) is https://www.familysearch.org/search/film/007251509?i=44, where the last number is one less than the actual image number).
- Note comment above there may be problems with the access of both catalogue information, and the databases.
- Instructions on how to use the microfilmed copies of the Ecclesiatical Returns and their indexes at an LDS Family History Centre. Read these instructions if you are searching for records which are not shown in the online indexed records on FamilySearch because of privacy reasons. Note however the records sent to England declined in number from the early 1930s with relatively minimal numbers in the 1940s.
- A list of all the microfilm numbers for the LDS copies of Bengal church records.
- A list of all the microfilm numbers for the LDS copies of Madras church records.
- A list of all the microfilm numbers for the LDS copies of Bombay church records.
- A list of microfilm numbers of registers from churches throughout India, except the Portuguese colony of Goa. These are records which are not covered by the APAC holdings. The majority are Roman Catholic churches but also included are records from the Church of Scotland in Bombay and Madras, together with some Syrian and Armenian churches and a few miscellaneous entries.
- A list of microfilm numbers of registers from churches in the former Portuguese colony of Goa
- Lists of microfilms of European church records in India that do not fall under the usual three Presidencies. These include Native States, some Catholic records and post-Independence church records and "Madras Ecclesiastical Returns - Omissions and Corrections 1777-1884"
- Contains microfilm numbers for the three Presidencies and explains how LDS batch numbers can help you search, especially if you are researching unusual names which may have various spellings.
- IOR Marine records on LDS films
- Also see
- Bengal Army, Madras Army, Bombay Army for information about microfilm records relating to these Armies
- L/F/10 Records of Service 1702-1928 and Biographical Records (IOR O series) for information about microfilms relating to the Uncovenanted Civil Service.
- Additionally, many other Fibiwiki pages contain information about microfilms.
Unfilmed church, or other, records
Should you wish to suggest to a church, or other repository, that they enquire whether FamilySearch is able to digitise their records, the link Archives Department Information provides details, and gives an email of [email protected] as "Contact Us" applicable for archives, churches, and other record custodians. Note Family Search has priorities.
- FamilySearch Free Sign-in Offers Greater Subscriber Experiences and Benefits FamilySearch. Beginning December 13, 2017 a sign in will be required to Search historical records. Contains details about registering with FamilySearch.
- A researcher, in the Family Search Feedback Forum topic Just Keep it Simple for basic research purpose Please! wrongly thought it was necessary to submit family tree details, as part of the sign in process, but this is not required. getsatisfaction.com, now archived.
- FamilySearch Wiki page FamilySearch Genealogy Research Groups. Includes FamilySearch Community Groups and associated closed Facebooks groups. To register with the FamilySearch Community Groups, you need to be signed in to both FamilySearch (initial registration required) and a separate section of FamilySearch, FamilySearch Community (separate initial registration required, which requires agreement to certain conditions). Details of FamilySearch Community however do not appear to be available until after you have registered, however see the following video provided by FamilySearch. Note, (at 6 July 2020) if you access the Community Groups through the FamilySearch Wiki page you can read posts without registration, however if you access through the drop down menu at the right hand top of the FS webpage, you cannot.
- "New: Online Genealogy Consultations with Family History Library Experts" 30 June 2020. FamilySearch Blog. Currently there is no specific category for India, but you could enquire whether the category British Isles includes the British overseas.
- Literary Donations to FamilySearch familysearch.org
- Some large FamilySearch Centres have scanners, where you can take material to be scanned.
- The Office of the CGO (Chief Genealogy Officer) [FamilySearch] by Dennis Brimhall May 20, 2013. FamilySearch.
- "The Art of Searching on FamilySearch: Finding Elusive Records on FamilySearch" 2018 aucklandlibraries.govt.nz.
- "Finding Elusive Records on FamilySearch" February 27, 2018 FamilySearch blog
- FamilySearch Learning Center/Help aids.
- Classes in the Learning Center FamilySearch Wiki. The results may be re-ordered alphabetically, or numerically by ID number.
- Family History Library/Learning
- Help Center page tag Webinars and Classes which at 2021/09/16 had some videos not listed on the previous Wiki Page.
- Past Sessions of RootsTech for 2022 and 2021 (at time of posting 2022 April). FamilySearch website. Prior years are no longer available, due to the belief the sessions were out of date on the technology being taught. Rootstech is the FamilySearch annual conference.
- Loulie Genealogy. LDS - Asia & Middle East - Sri Lanka/Colombo Rootsweb India Mailing List 16 February 2011, archived. Also Loulie Genealogy. Dutch Records - Colombo Sri Lanka Rootsweb India Mailing List 26 November 2019, archived.
- Cheryl. Baptism records - Madras Presidency Rootsweb India Mailing List 11 November 2016, archived.
- World Miscellaneous Births and Baptisms, Coverage Table (FamilySearch Historical Records) FamilySearch Wiki. Retrieved 18 January 2020.
- Clark, Noel. Notation against burial index record Rootsweb India Mailing List 13 October 2010, archived.
- Email to User:Maureene dated 20 July 2011 indicates two brothers, Joseph Thorpe, 18, who died 23 Dec 1853 and was buried in the "Old Cemetery" at Guntoor, Hyderabad Residency and George Benjamin Thorpe, 23, who died 29 Jun 1858 at Jaulnah , who appear in the Omissions Film for Madras Burial (“film B265”) are not included in the Family Search data.
- Murphy, Sylvia. India bdm on FamilySearch Rootsweb India Mailing List 30 April 2010, archived.
- Searching with Wildcards in FamilySearch FamilySearch Blog
- "FamilySearch’s Strategy to Help Preserve the World's Archives" 20 April 2018. familysearch.org, now archived.
Raymond, Robert. How can I request a record be digitized? (many are still film only) FamilySearch Feedback Forum. If necessary, scroll down to post dated 13 September 2018, archived.