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International Genealogical Index (IGI)

Birmingham Archives and Heritage is now CLOSED until 3 September 2013 when the Library of Birmingham on Centenary Square will open.

Staff are working on our collections to check, document and repackage thousands of items ready for their transfer to the new building during this time. This work will be our major task and consequently we are not able to respond individually to enquiries until after September 2013.

However, if you are specifically requesting personal information held about yourself, a member of staff will contact you to discuss this further:

Email: archives.heritage@birmingham.gov.uk

For all other enquiries, please contact us again once we open in the new Library of Birmingham.

We regret the inconvenience this is likely to cause to our users. A new Library of Birmingham website will be launched soon. Details of the services we will be providing from September will appear in due course as well as contact details for the new Library.

Meanwhile to keep in touch with us, please follow our blog at: http://theironroom.wordpress.com/ and to follow the progress of the new library please see: http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/lob

Usually known as the IGI, this is the index compiled by the Mormons for religious purposes, first published in 1973, and later made available to genealogists.

What does the IGI show?

The IGI gives information about baptisms and marriages taken from parish registers in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and the Channel Islands. A few births and burials are included. It gives:

  • the surname and first names of the person registered.
  • the date of the event; some entries date back to the sixteenth century. There are few entries for records later than 1876.
  • the parish where the event took place.
  • the parents or spouse of the person registered.

It is arranged by county; the old counties, as they were in the 1870s. It is then in alphabetical order of surname. The IGI lists surnames with similar spellings together. Obviously people with the same surname may not be from the same family, although they are listed together.


The index is not comprehensive as the researchers were not allowed access to all parish registers. There is a list of the parishes covered for each county on microfiches in the Archives and Heritage Service. There are few records for Nonconformists and these are almost all prior to 1837. There are very few records for Roman Catholic churches and no Quaker or Jewish records.


The IGI should be used with caution. Some of the information is unreliable.

  • There may be multiple records for the same person, if information about them has been submitted by more than one researcher.
  • Most of the entries relating to records later than 1876 are by individuals, as are some of the earlier entries. These may be difficult to check.
  • Some records include estimated dates, and assumed places of birth. This is sometimes indicated, but not always.
  • Transcriptions are not always accurate, and spellings of surnames may vary considerably. However surname variants are listed together.
  • The IGI use of county boundaries is inconsistent. Smethwick Nonconformist records are included with Birmingham, under Warwickshire. Smethwick Church of England records are with Staffordshire.

It is best to check the original entry in the parish register if possible, as the IGI may be inaccurate.

Using the IGI in Archives and Heritage

The IGI is on microfiche in the Archives and Heritage Service. If you are visiting the library, you will need to say which surnames, for which county, you require. There are a number of microfiche machines available on a first-come, first-served basis. One machine can be booked in advance, by phoning, or in person at the counter. There is no booking charge, and no charge for using the machines. There is an instructions file available giving further help with using the IGI.

  • In the Archives and Heritage Service we have the 1992 microfiche edition.

  • We hold the IGI for the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Caribbean. The index has also been compiled for other countries, and is available in LDS (Latter-Day Saints) libraries, which are listed in the file in Genealogy.
  • We recommend strongly that you check the parish register itself for the complete record, which usually gives more information.

IGI website:


This offers links to several websites; some databases you can search without paying, and some sites which charge for access. The Church of Latter-Day Saints library catalogue is on this website. Birmingham Libraries offer free access to the Internet. Please enquire at the counter to make a booking.


The Archives and Heritage Service has the following IGI records on CD-Rom. Please ask at the enquiry desk:

  • Vital Records Index British Isles

  • Vital Records Index Western Europe

  • Australian Vital Records Index

Archives and Heritage Service
Tel: 0121 303 4217 or 0121 303 4549 or 0121 303 4220
Fax: 0121 233 4458
Email: archives.heritage@birmingham.gov.uk

Please note We are not responsible for the content of other organisations' websites.

Ancestry library edition and how to print from it
Parish Registers - Church of England
Electoral Registers
Black Family History - African & African-Caribbean
Trade Directories
GRO Indexes
CD-ROMs & the Internet for family history
Websites for Family History