It is not generally understood that the records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints include many different categories and have a broad reach; well beyond the membership of the Church. Many of the records fall outside of the categories normally attributed to "church records" for genealogical research. Often, the records are dismissed as "user contributed" and per se unreliable. In taking this position, genealogical researchers are overlooking a huge, accessible collection of records that are usually overlooked.
Some of these records have been digitized and are now available on the FamilySearch.org website such as the vast online resource known as the following:
Family Group Records Collection, Archives Section, 1942-1969." Images. FamilySearch. http://FamilySearch.org : 16 May 2017. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, compiler, Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah.
But other collections are available only on microfilm. The Brigham Young University Family History Library (BYU) has a huge collection of LDS records, some of which are unique. The earliest Church records are referred to as the "Nauvoo Records." Compilations of these records have been done by the former Brigham Young University professor, Susan Easton Black in collaboration with her husband Harvey Bischoff Black and others. Here is a list of the publications, all of which are available at the BYU Harold B. Lee Library including the Family History Library.
Black, Susan Easton. Inscriptions Found on Tombstones and Monuments in Early Latter-Day Saint Burial Grounds: Nauvoo, Illinois (Joseph Smith Homestead, Pioneer Saints Cemetery on Parley Street); Mt. Pisgah, Iowa; West Bank of the Niobrara River, Nebraska; Winter Quarters, Nebraska. Place of publication not identified: publisher not identified.
Black, Susan Easton, Harvey Bischoff Black, Brigham Young University, and Center for Family History and Genealogy. Annotated Record of Baptisms for the Dead, 1840-1845: Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois. Provo, Utah: Center for Family History and Genealogy, Brigham Young University, 2002.
Black, Susan Easton, Harvey Bischoff Black, and Brandon Plewe. Property Transactions in Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois and Surrounding Communities (1839-1859). Wilmington, Del.: World Vital Records, Inc., 2006.
Black, Susan Easton, and George D Durrant. Alphabetical Compilation of Deaths and Burials, Nauvoo, Illinois, 1839-1846, 2015.
———. Latter-Day Saints in Hancock County, Illinois (excluding Nauvoo) and in Lee County, Iowa (1839-1846), 2015.
———. Methodist Church Records Nauvoo, Illinois: Transcription Microfilm #G43984 1311783. S.l.: s.n., 2015.
———. Nauvoo United Lutheran Church Records, Nauvoo, Illinois. S.l.: S.E. Black & G.D. Durrant, 2016.
Many of the early historical records of the central part of the United States are intertwined with Mormon history. As the members of the Church researched their ancestors, documents, letters, manuscripts, and journals were donated to the BYU L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library.
The BYU Family History Library has an extensive collection of microfilm that includes many of the early Church records, including some that have yet to be digitized. The earliest records were included in a collection called the Temple Index Bureau (TIB) Endowment Index: 1842 - 1969. These records have restricted circulation. However, beginning in 1969 the Church began to create the Computer File Index (CFI). In 1981, it was renamed the International Genealogical Index (IGI) and contains records from 1969 to about 2008. The IGI is particularly useful for researching English parish records. The IGI has now been put online on FamilySearch.org.
There are a number of Family Group Records Collections. Some of them, as I mentioned above, are available online, but most are still only available on microfilm. The BYU Family History Library has a huge collection of these microfilmed records that include the Family Group Records. Here is a summary of each of the collections at the Library.
- From 1914 to 1960, the Church collected LDS Church Census Records, the microfilm of these valuable records are scattered in the BYU microfilm cabinets. Individual film numbers can be determined by searching in the FamilySearch.org Catalog.
- From 1924 through 1962 microfilmed copies of the Family Group Records submitted to the Utah Genealogical Society called the Patron's Section were microfilmed in 1950. These films are available at the BYU Family History Library.
- In 1962, the Patron's Section was re-microfilmed and records from 1950 to 1962 were added.
- The members of the Church were asked to submit their 3rd and 4th Generation Family Group Records and Pedigrees to the Church beginning in 1962 and continuing through 1979. The years in the collection include 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1972 - 1974, 1974- 1975, 1976-1976, and 1978.
- Patron submitted genealogies on paper were contributed between July 1979 and 1996, these are arranged by submission and sheet number.
- The Pedigree Resource File (also partially on FamilySearch.org) is an actively growing collection of member and public submitted genealogies that began in 1999.
The L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library (located downstairs from the BYU Family History Library) has some major collections. Stay tuned for additional posts.
Please see the previous post in this series.