The pre-eminent source of genealogical information is the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons). There is an online catalogue of this immense library, and there are Family History Centres which are in effect branches of this library in many towns and cities throughout the British Isles and indeed the world where microfilm copies of most of the library's holdings can be viewed. (The method or organization of the catalogue of this library has, incidentally, been taken as a pattern for the organization of much of the information on this server. )

One particularly important information source that has been produced by the Family History Library is the International Genealogical Index (or IGI), now available on line at the LDS FamilySearch site. This contains millions of entries, mainly of baptisms and marriages, many of them taken from parish registers as part of an organized program of careful transcription, others provided by individual and not always overly careful researchers. Although you will need to check the original souces of the information contained in the Index, you will often find that the Index can be a great help to your research. However, its coverage is far from complete, so the fact that the ancestor you are seeking does not appear in the IGI should not cause you to give up. (Note however that the IGI includes essentially all Scottish births and marriages between the years 1855 and 1875, extracted from the civil registration records.)

The LDS also produce a set of Research Guides - introductory guides to the genealogy of various countries and states. These are very well done, and very good value for money. They have the added advantage over many commercially-published introductory texts that they provide indications of the holdings of the Family History Library. They can be ordered via your local LDS Family History Centre, and can be viewed online at the LDS FamilySearch site.

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