Ancestral File

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Description and brief history of the Ancestral File product.

A computer file containing lineage-linked names and often other vital information (such as date and place of birth, marriage, or death) of millions of individuals who have lived throughout the world. Names are organized into family groups and pedigrees. To allow for coordination of research, the file also lists names and addresses of those who contributed to the file. Ancestral File, which was created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is available on compact disc and on the Internet.

Records in the Ancestral File were submitted by patrons. Most records were submitted before 1991. Submitters may be identified in the file, however the contact information may be out of date or the person may be deceased.

Data in Ancestral File does not include notes and sources. Submissions to Ancestral File may be merged or combined with information from other submitters. Additions and corrections to the data in the file are no longer possible. Data in the File is unverified and should be used as a starting point for additional research only.

Each record in the Ancestral File is given a unique number, the AFN.  The existence of an AFN would indicate that some or all of the information came from the Ancestral File.  Note that unique numbers may or may not be a single individual.  However, the number is often useful when merging duplicates, because a matching AFN indicates a high probability of duplication.  Some genealogy programs, such as PAF, can automatically merge duplicate AFNs.

To access Ancestral File, either click here, or follow these steps:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the Family Trees link 
  3. Type in your query - the results will include Ancestral File results