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Pacific Island Guide Step 8. Find ancestors on the IGI
Things are changing
The International Genealogical Index (IGI) described in the following article is now part of Family Tree.This program will eventually be available to users all over the world. Please see the nearest Family History Center for help utilizing the Family Tree. The records have also been incorporated into the database at FamilySearch.org. Today, FamilySearch publishes hundreds of collections of vital and church records for many locations throughout the world. Indexed entries from the IGI are treated consistently with other indexed records, published by country or state.
Manually check the International Genealogical Index (IGI)
Performing a regular search on FamilySearch.org will search both IGI indexed records along with more recently indexed records. To search just the entries from the International Genealogical Index, select the “International Genealogical Index (IGI)” collection from the list of historical record collections. From the collection page you may choose to search either community indexed entries or community contributed entries. The International Genealogical Index (IGI), sometimes called the Ordinance Index, is a computerized list of several hundred million names of deceased persons, including many Pacific islanders. For further details, see the following Wiki articles:
Note: Anyone can search the IGI for the name, location, and family relationships of a person.
Special challenges with finding Polynesian names
Because of differences in the way Islanders and Europeans kept track of names, dates, places, and life events, it can be especially challenging to find island ancestors’ names in the IGI. The following are some situations that might occur as we search the IGI, along with some suggestions for remedies.
Different ways of spelling names
Since the languages of the islands were not written until the mid 1800s, spelling was not standardized. Thus, the name Te Aroahenui may be spelled Tearoahenui or Te-aroahenui or Aroahenui or Te-aroa-henui or Te aroa henui. TempleReady can check names in theIGI as exact spellings or as standardized spellings. If we choose standardized spellings, theIGI will drop the spaces and change hyphens to spaces. It will keep the first syllable of the name and sort on it. Thus, Te Aroa Henui becomes Te, which is not helpful in finding duplicates.
- To remedy this, we should search the IGI manually using all the spelling variations we can imagine.
Multiple names for one ancestor
Anciently, Polynesians were identified by only one name. Later, they began adding surnames. Some people were also given an honorary name by which they were known. Thus, it is possible that our ancestor was known by more than one name, any or all of which may be in the IGI. For instance, the name Tangata Tevita Niumeitolu Olakepa could have been submitted as Tangata, as Tangata Niumeitolu, as Tangata Olakepa, as Tangata Tevita Niumeitolu or as Tangata Tevita Niumeitolu Olakepa.
- If we know more than one name for our ancestor, we can remedy this by searching using each name as a surname.
For instance, in the example above, we could search using Niumeitolu, Tangata, and Olakepa as the surnames. We can use this same rule in searching other indexes.
Different dates of birth, marriage, or death for one ancestor
Polynesian genealogies are very accurate about names of people and their relationships through the generations, but since the old Polynesian genealogies were preserved by memory, only the names of persons, the histories and stories, wars and travels, and lines of descent were kept. No specific dates were kept prior to European contact, and even since the arrival of Europeans, few specific dates are available.
Different genealogists or tribal groups may estimate certain lines of a pedigree in a different manner than others.
• To remedy this, search the IGI manually without using dates. If we find someone that looks like they might be a match, we can try to figure out whether or not it is the same person by comparing event locations and checking to see if they have the same spouse, parents, or children.
Different ways of entering the names of places and IGI regions
There are many ways of recording a location. For instance, one person may only include the village, such as ‘Uiha, while someone else may include the name of the island and region, such as ‘Uiha, Ha’apai, Tonga, Pacific Islands.
To remedy this, we should make sure to select the World Miscellaneous region as our region and All Miscellaneous Countries as the country. Also search the Pacific Island region for each name when manually searching the IGI. For Hawaiian ancestors, we should try using the United States as the region. If our ancestor had a surname, we can use the Internet site of www.familysearch.org and choose a generic search. All regions of the IGI as well as Ancestral File and some other Internet sites will be searched. If our ancestor had only one name, this generic search is not available. The computer will ask us for a surname, and if we cannot supply one, the search will not be made.
The ancestor is part of an ancient royal line
If we go back far enough in island genealogy, the same ancestors belong to the Maori, Hawaiian, French Polynesian, Tongan, Samoan, and other island peoples. These same ancient ancestors’ names could be pronounced and spelled differently in Maori, Hawaiian, Samoan, Tongan, Tahitian, Rarotongan, or other languages, even though they are the same person.
Manual Processing Collections, 1949–1981.
Before 1984, theIGI did not accommodate long names, people listed with only one name whose parents or grandparents were also listed with only one name, or estimated dates. Even though people with this type of information were not entered into the IGI, many had their temple ordinances performed, and that information was recorded manually on family group records. This special collection of family group records, called the Manual Processing Collections, 1949–1981, has been microfilmed and stored in the Family History Library. Some of the names now appear on theIGI, but many do not.
- These films are listed at FamilySearch. org 1555385 to 1553391 (7 rolls). These microfilms list people by the island they are from and then alphabetically by surname, more or less. There is no overall index, so we may need to browse through all of the films.
Note: Searching these records is a time-consuming process. However, it may be worthwhile to view these records since they may be written in our ancestors’ handwriting, and since they may provide us with additional information that we would not have had otherwise.
Records processed manually after 1981.
There is also a collection of family group records, mainly of island people, that were processed manually for some records after 1981, and are not yet on the IGI.
- We can view these family group records by calling Debbie Latimer at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City.