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Name Extraction Programs

(Note: All questions concerning Family History or Genealogy should be addressed to The Genealogy Lady at the New Jerusalem web site.) To find a family History Center in your area, call (U.S.) 1-800-346-6044 or visit

by Kahlile Mehr

Name extraction programs sponsored by the LDS Church are based upon the doctrine of salvation of the dead. Names, dates, and places are the key elements in precisely identifying individual ancestors. Name extraction consists of systematically transcribing this information from original vital records. Church members perform temple ordinances for those whose names have been thus identified.

The Family History Department of the Church (formerly the Genealogy Department) initiated the first name extraction program, called Records Tabulation, in 1961. Department employees extracted data primarily from filmed copies of English parish registers. In 1978 the Church deployed name extraction to stake centers, the new program being called Stake Record Extraction. Since that date, name extraction is done by local Church members. Besides records of England, those of Mexico, Germany, Scotland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark have been heavily extracted. From 1961 to 1989, over 100 million names were thus copied.

The department begins the extraction process by sending a microfilm to a stake. Extractors transcribe the desired information onto cards. Data entry workers at regional centers input information onto computer diskettes. To ensure accuracy, two transcriptions of each entry are made and compared to find and resolve discrepancies.

Names derived from the name extraction program are listed in the Church's International Genealogical Index. The sources from which the names have been extracted are listed by locality in the Parish and Vital Records Listing. Alphabetized printouts of the names extracted from each source are also prepared and made available for research through the Church's main Family History Library in Salt Lake City and branch family history centers around the world.

The department increased its name extraction efforts in 1986 with the introduction of the Family Record Extraction Program. This differs from the older program in that a paper photocopy of the original record is given to extractors and they transcribe the information in their homes at their convenience. The extracted information is "data entered" at the stake center by means of a personal computer and submitted on diskettes to a central data base in Salt Lake City.

(See Daily Living home page; Family History home page)

Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol. 2, Name Extraction Program

Copyright 1992 by Macmillan Publishing Company

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