FAQ for the Pedigree Resource File. (CDs and mailing list).

Welcome to the FAQ for the Pedigree Resource File CDs published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These CDs contain genealogical data submitted by users of the FamilySearch website.

This page also serves as a FAQ for the mailing list at ONElist called PRF-CDs. Subscribe by going to this page

Q: What is the Pedigree Resource File?

A: The Pedigree Resource File is a new lineage-linked pedigree file containing genealogical data. Like the well-known Ancestral File, it contains pedigrees and family group sheet data in electronic form. Unlike the Ancestral File it (1) contains notes and source documentation, which varies in thoroughness, etc., and (2) only contains the data as of that moment. Data is not updated from CD to CD unless the submitter resubmits it for inclusion on anther CD.

Q: How do I submit to the Pedigree Resource File?

A: The only way you can do it right now is to upload a GEDCOM, no matter how large or small, via the 'Preserve your Genealogy' page at the familysearch.org site. Be sure you have a stable connection, as they report about 25 percent of the uploads come up blank. They now have a feature that allows you to track your submissions to the file, and once it is published you will be able to see which CD the submission got onto online at familysearch.org as well.

Q: Since the CDs are made by the LDS Church, is alot of the data submitted by LDS Church members?

Some may assume that because the LDS Church publishes the CDs that the lions share of the data would come from LDS members. In fact it's exactly the opposite. Current information indicates that about 75 percent of the data is not from LDS member sources and submissions but from other non-LDS people who have submitted their ancestors' data. It has never at any time mattered whether a person was LDS or not when it came to accepting data.

What kind of data will I find? What data is usually submitted?

You will generally find pedigrees and their associated group records and notes regarding the sources relied on to a varying extent. You may even on some pedigrees find pictures, video, and even on some occasions sound clips!

Generally, submissions should consist of the GEDCOM of the pedigree and associated group records plus the source notes. You are more than welcome to load the pictures, etc., into the file as well, thus preserving the electronic versions of them. Good idea in most cases in case of a failure with your computer, etc.

Q: What software do I need to create GEDCOMs to upload to the Pedigree Resource File with?

A: Just about all the major software programs, such as Ancestral Quest, PAF 3.1 or higher, Family Tree Maker, Family Origins and several others, can be used to create GEDCOMs that will upload to the file via the familysearch.org site.

Q: How do I know what CD my data got onto?

A: You can now search the database at familysearch.org and as mentioned in response to a previous question you can now find out via a submission tracking feature at the site you will know which CD your submission got on to.

Q: What about the possibility of different people submitting the same data to the file and the two sets of data appearing on the same CD?

A: It is possible that that could happen because all submissions are added to the file in the order they were uploaded. Each individual entry will have a PIN number (all-numeric, unlike the Ancestral File numbers) so you will be able to tell them apart if they are exactly alike. You may find a researcher searching your lines that way!

Tip: When looking on the online index at an entry, click on the submission number, you may find other entries of interest that the submitter made at the same time!

I checked the index recently, and found several lines had multiple entries meaning there were a number of people who had submitted the same data, only with slightly different ways of presenting the information. Some of this had erroneous place names probably due to misreading a county name. You can search the index for a name and find what CDs have that data, then get the discs containing that data, and you will then be able to find out more about that person or persons from the submitter's notes.

You will then know where that data came from, and be able to better evaluate the accuracy of the data. Then, if anything is amiss, you can check things like placenames. (For example. Washtenaw or Washington County, Michigan?--Washington County doesn't exist there!) and determine accuracy. Then, once all is in order, you can submit YOUR version of things to the Pedigree Resource File. Again, this is a preservation file, so it will be very useful to any and all researchers. Who knows what you'll find on your lines from these duplications!

Q: Is there an online index for the Pedigree Resource File?

A: There is an index online now at familysearch.org. It will lag behind the individual published CDs by about two or three discs or so. It is expected that the online index will be updated about monthly or so. The easiest way to find only the index is to go to familysearch.org and click on the 'Custom Search' tab and then when filling out the search form select the Pedigree Resource File as the file to search.

Q: What if I find additional data for my previously-submitted lines or there is data that should be corrected?

You simply submit a new GEDCOM with the additional data and/or the corrected data. It will be put on the next or 2nd CD to come out after you submit or resubmit the data. The LDS Church says it usually takes about 30 to 60 days from the time you submit a file to PRF until it shows up on a CD.

Q: What is the price per CD? How do I get them?

A: The price for each CD is $5 US. You cang et them one of several ways. First, you can go to familysearch.org and go to the 'Purchase Family History Resources' page where you can order them online. Second, you can call 800/537-5951 during business hours Mountain time Monday-Saturday and order them. Thirdly, if you are an LDS member, contact your ward clerk about ordering them. Some LDS wards have a 'distribution clerk', known as the 'ward clerk over materials' who can help you with ordering them. This option is useful for those who do not wish to charge their charge cards or have other unrelated and/or unusual difficulties getting them.

Q: Why are the Pedigree Resource File CDs so cheap?

A: They are so cheap because the LDS Church does not make a profit from their sale. The LDS Church is a nonprofit organization. Besides, they want to make it as easy as possible for members and others the world over to gain access to family history data no matter in what form it is. While most CD products range from $20 to $50 each US, the LDS Church charges only what it costs to manufacture and package the CDs. Right now, it comes in at about $6 to do this.

Q: If I do not order from familysearch.org, what stock numbers do I need to use?

Here are the stock numbers: (individual CDs will only be available while supplies last as they will only be available in sets from here on.

Discs 1-25 are available now as a single set for $63 US. I will post the stock number shortly.

A companion utility that helps PAF 5.0 users find possible matching data, if they have any index CD, is now available as well. It's called 'PAF Companion' and is also available via the LDS Church's distribution centers as well for $13 US.

They are working on filling more discs. After the supplies for discs 1-15 sold singly run out, they will only be available in sets of five.

I'll add the updated info on new CDs as they come available. I project there may be as many as 40-50 CDs by the end of 2001. Also, the Index CD will be updated every five CDs as noted above.

For those LDS members who order through their ward clerk, the clerk will likely need those numbers when preparing the order.

Q: What are the system requirements for the Pedigree Resource File

You need Windows 95/98/NT 4.0. At least 8 MB RAM but 16 MB is better, at least a 4x CD-ROM drive, a VGA monitor at least 256 colors w/video card, and 4 MB free space on your hard drive. There is no MAC version nor is one anticipated.

Q: What about copyright issues?

A: As with anything you submit to the LDS Church, they copyright the data set in order to prevent unscrupulous sales of the data. Also, they never sell your data to other CD publishers or to other non-LDS online sites or otherwise. Copyright in this case is for your protection, you can still publish your data elsewhere or send it to other files, such as Rootsweb's WorldConnect project or even to other online sites. You can still submit it to the World Family Tree as well.

If you have published your data to WorldConnect or another online database, you are also encouraged to submit to Pedigree Resource File. Because of the very low cost of the CDs, they will find a place in the homes of those who otherwise are not online or are unable to or cannot get online. Also because of the price, some libraries may snap them up and add them to their offline collection of CD-ROM databases to search, the same for genealogy societies, clubs, and other similar groups, making the data you submit even more widely available than before, as well as being more widely available than just having it at WorldConnect or FTM or other databases.

Some Family History Centers have them now. Not many at present but more and more are getting them. But those that presently do have them have seen good use of them.

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James Anderson

Provo, UT