Thursday, March 15, 2007

Searching the LDS Member Submitted Databases

When I started my genealogy research in 1988, the LDS Ancestral File database was about the only computer-based genealogy database available, and you could only view it at a Family History Center.

Ancestral File is a database composed of LDS member submissions which provided linked families - in family group sheet and pedigree chart format. As such, it was valuable to me IF the families I was searching for were in the database and IF there was not conflicting data. In many cases, several different researchers contributed data that was not consistent with the data from other researchers. You either tried to figure out which one was "best" or you decided to not trust any of them. In every case, the proper thing to do was to research in other resources to determine the correct family group and pedigree.

Still, the Ancestral File was, and is, a good finding aid - it gives you a start for further research.

The LDS stopped taking submissions to Ancestral File some time ago, but started another database called the Pedigree Resource File. This file shows links only to pedigree charts - no family group sheets.

Both the Ancestral File (AF) and Pedigree Resource File (PRF) databases are on line at Click on the "Ancestral File" or "Pedigree Resource File" links in the left-hand frame.

For my Bresee (and variant surnames) search, I first input Cornelia Bresee to see if my particular one was listed. She was not. So then I input the two "patriarchs" of the families - Christoffel Bresee and Hendrick Bries. They were in both AF and PRF. I traced the families in Ancestral File to the fourth generation where the submitted data ran out. It turned out that there was nothing new for me in either database.

While this search was fruitless for me, a similar search for your elusive ancestors may turn up useful data and research leads for you. I always check Ancestral File and Pedigree Resource File just in case there is a research nugget that helps me do further research.

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