LDS Family history and genealogy has become something of a global phenomenon in recent years. Back in the 80’s when I first started performing my LDS family search, the only records that I had access to included death certificates, birth certificates and marriages. Nowadays thanks to the internet we can perform an LDS family search globally and find much more detailed records. So just how do you go about beginning to trace your LDS family history?
One of the first places that many people look to start gathering information on their ancestors is older living relatives. This is sound advice but not everyone is going to be comfortable with making contact with great uncle Herbert who they haven’t seen in over 30 years and then out of nowhere just suddenly turn up asking him questions about his past. Obviously if you were to slowly make contact with your great uncle over time and gradually begin to gather the information you need for your family tree this would be fine, but if you want to get started right away and not wait then you are going to need to look for alternative methods.
Thankfully there are a few things that you can do right now, one of these is to locate and gain access to a local copy of the IGI or the international Geographic Index. The IGI is compiled by the church of the Latter-Day Saints. You can find this in a reference library or if you’re fortunate to have one in your city or town, you can visit your local family history centre. The IGI can now be accessed online and it’s the perfect starting point for performing an LDS family search. The records contained in the IGI have been compiled for decades and it contains millions of records.
The accuracy of some of the records found in the IGI may not be 100% but it’s a perfect starting point for you to cross check information that you have already researched through your LDS family search. Your next ideal step would be to check the government records of births, marriages and deaths in your specific country. You will find that you will be able to find all of the relevant information that you need to order copies of these certificates and in certain cases you can even view them online. Before starting your search it will help to have at least a rough estimate of the year of the event that you are looking for.
The length of time how far back these records go will depend on your geographical location, in the United Kingdom records started be documented in 1837. In the United States there are more variations of the start date of civil registration depending upon which state you require records for. In order for you to trace back further you will need to research thoroughly to find the original records that preceded registration and this is one of the most challenging yet rewarding elements of researching your family tree.