Friday, July 22, 2005

Gettin' IGI Wit It - Using Batch Numbers

Anyone wanting to take full advantage of the International Genealogical Index needs to understand batch numbers. Using batch numbers allows you to narrow your search to a specific set of records—say, the marriage records of a certain town.

Take, for instance, the record of my ancestor Moses Dunham's birth in Carver, Massachusetts. The batch number "C500641" is given at the bottom of the page, and if I click on it, I'm taken to a new search page, with the batch number filled in. Searching for "Dunham" now gives me all Dunham births in Carver (or, at least, all those that were indexed in this batch). If I had clicked instead on "Source Call No.," I would have been taken to an entry in the Family History Library Catalog showing the original source for the birth date: the Vital records of Carver, Massachusetts, to the year 1850.

An easy shortcut to finding batch numbers may be found at Hugh Wallis' website, IGI Batch Numbers - British Isles and North America. Find the town or county you want to search, click on the relevant batch number, and you're taken to a search page where you can enter a surname, or perhaps two if you're searching for a marriage. For a more powerful search, simply copy the batch number and paste it into the official IGI search page.

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