February 14, 2002
Q: Can anyone tell me what type of information is on the IGI records for christenings in England in the mid-1800s? I am trying to decide if it's worth ordering the film in from LDS or is the info that is listed just parents names and christening date. -- Marie
Decoding the Batch Number
The online entries in the IGI give you not only the batch number and source sheet, but also the film number. Even with this information, though, it is still a good idea to understand where these records are coming from.
If the entry in question has come from a patron submission form, then you will find more than one entry on the form. Patron submission forms are either the original special form that allowed for five entries or a family group sheet.
If the entry was on a patron submission form, you can expect to find spaces for the name of the individual, the dates of birth (or christening) and death, the place of birth (or christening). The name of the parents, whether or not the parents are deceased. While not always filled out with useful information, there is also space for the sources used for the information. Many of them will list something like "family sources," but sometimes you will find that the individual has include original records, perhaps even the microfilm number of the records if they are available on microfilm.
Patron submissions have also been sent using a standard family group sheet. Over the years they have gone from all handwritten to some computer generated forms. Since they are family group sheets, you'll usually find additional information on the parents and perhaps also siblings. Like the patron submission forms, you may find information as to sources used.
Extraction entries come from the extraction program. Original records such as birth records, christening records, and marriage records have been used. Extractors pull out the pertinent details for the birth or marriage event. The entry information is then extracted by another person and the two entries are compared by yet a third individual.
Extraction entries take out the middle man in a way. You are taken directly to the original document. Of course, this means that you need to do a little research on the record type used, and remember that information may change depending on the period of time in question.
For the mid-1800s in England, if the christening record came from one of the Church of England parish churches, then you may pick up a little additional information about the parents. The forms used included the name of the church, the date of the event, the name of the child being christened, the name of the father, the name of the mother (sometimes the maiden name). You will also learn the place of residence of the family at the time and sometimes the occupation of the father. Finally, you are sometimes provided with the name of the minister who officiated.
Once you have determined where the entry in the IGI came from, you can better evaluate if the film is worth ordering. I usually find that I order the original records, even if it will not give me any more on the entry. This is because I have sometimes discovered additional family members or another entry on the film that supplied me with the place of birth for the parents or some other identifying piece that leads me farther back in my research.The Complete Idiot's Guide to Online Genealogy, now in its second edition. She is the author of four how-to guides on Family Tree Maker. In late 2001, she wrote The Genealogist's Computer Companion. She is a contributing editor to Biography Magazine with her "Celebrity Roots" column and a contributing writer to The History Channel Magazine. Her latest book is Finding Your Famous and Infamous Ancestors. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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