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750 million-name IGI upgraded

The International Genealogical Index, a massive database of more than 750 million names, has been updated with additional information on the Church's FamilySearch Internet site.

The International Genealogical Index contains the names of the deceased that have been submitted for temple work, and is the database used to clear names for temple work.

When members process an ancestor's name for temple work at a family history center, this is the database the TempleReady program checks the name against to ensure temple ordinances have not already been performed. Now that it has been upgraded, it will usually be updated at least weekly.

This most accurate-ever version of the International Genealogical Index will also include temple ordinance information, although that is restricted to members. (See related article on this page about how Church members register to have access to this information.)

The online version of this massive index has advantages. It contains some family linked names, which were recorded when submitted.

"There are more than 35 million names in family groups," said Paul Starkey of the Family and Church History Department. "It now shows all events, such as birth, christening, death and burial, when submitted by members of the Church. In the past this information was not published."

Users can easily download and save information from the index into their personal computers into a program such as Personal Ancestral File. The information is received in a GEDCOM file, the kind of file used to transfer information between computers. The database uses some international alphabets as well.

The TempleReady program will still use the CD-ROM version of the IGI to clear names for the temple. However, because the data from the CD-ROM version is more than two years old, members are strongly encouraged to also check the online International Genealogical Index to be sure temple work is not being duplicated.

The addition to this database increases the attraction of the already popular FamilySearch.org site. On Oct. 23, the addition of the U.S. 1880 Census and 1881 Canadian and British census of about 81 million names was announced. Following the accompanying publicity, the daily number of unique visitors increased up to five times, and new site visitors as much as 10 times.

"We have one of the biggest sites in the world," said Lee Eastly, who manages the site. "We are displaying about 10,000 search results per minute. People are looking at more pages. They are staying longer at the site; that shows they are enjoying it more."

Adding the upgrade was difficult at first, he said. "There have been some long hours by the business and technical teams to iron out bugs and make it possible to handle this huge load. And solving the problems on the International Genealogical Index made it possible to have a smooth launch for the census."

Users have been impressed by this database.

Joy Heugly of the East Mill Creek 2nd Ward, Salt Lake East Mill Creek Stake, commented, "This version is so much better than the old Internet version. Not only is it wonderful to finally have access to the old temple records and new updates, but also the flexibility of this program is so much more useful. . . . Now I can do almost everything at home (at 2 in the morning if I want)."

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