View Full Version : Always double check

Megan Roberts
13-05-2013, 3:31 PM
I know that many people rely upon the IGI for their research, but as the vast majority of my research is in Wales, I have always treated it with great caution, because of it's "blanket policy" of assuming that up to a certain date that patronymic naming applies across the board, and this is just not true. It depends upon the family.

That said, of course its a great pointer if you are not able to see the original records yourself, either on-line or at a library or research centre.

In the last few days, I have been comparing previous early/tentative research using the IGI, with the actual records that are now on line with FMP, and am really disappointed to see how bad the IGI can be, and this has nothing to do with the records being from Wales.

I expected to find transcription error, all sites have them. I did not however, expect to find pages of records missing, or half a page missing. It's almost as though someone went for a coffee and then didn't look where they had got to previously.

I have also found incidents of dates being transposed - so 1821 becomes 1812. Now many of us won't search that wide a range of dates.

So my advice to anyone thinking, well I have the IGI so why would I need to try and see (or even pay to see) the original, there is no substitute for seeing the original yourself.

Peter Goodey
13-05-2013, 3:46 PM
An index is only ever a finding aid pointing you towards a source. It's the source document that people should be working from.

14-05-2013, 9:56 AM
Although I use it frequently I have long-regarded the IGI with great suspicion. I liken it to following the sign out of London which says "A1 North". It points you in roughly the right direction but it won't get you to Blackpool.

I have recently used it to locate a burial in 1942 and it pointed me to a burial in Lincoln. As I live here it was easy to research and easy to find that the burial did not take place in Lincoln. It took place in Ropsley near Grantham. I suppose this was a partial transcription by someone with no local knowledge and that Lincoln actually referred to Lincolnshire.

All the best,
Malcolm Webb
Lincoln UK