Ancestral File

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Ancestral File is a computerized collection of genealogies that links families into pedigrees, showing ancestors and descendants. It contains information for about 40 million people from throughout the world. It shows individuals’ names, family relationships, dates and places of birth, marriage, and death. Ancestral File was created from thousands of user submitted pedigree charts, family group sheets, and GEDCOM files. Submissions were merged to eliminate duplication and submitted corrections were applied to eliminate errors.
  • The current site contains 40 million, 5 million more than the previous website.
  • Information is not displayed for living individuals, including submitters.
  • Pedigree charts will soon be supported.


Tips for Searching Ancestral File

If you have not been able to find what you are looking for, consider the following:

  • The name of the person you want may not have been contributed to the file, or the person may have been living when submitted.
  • The person you want may have been submitted to another program, such as the new FamilySearch Tree, or the Pedigree Resource File (PRF).
  • The person may be listed more than once, each time with different information. Look at the information available for each search result.
  • The name may be listed in a different way in the file.
  • The spelling of the person’s name may be unexpected. Perform the search with Exact matching turned off.
  • There may be other unexpected information. Look for variations in names, dates, and places.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I contribute to Ancestral File?

Submissions are no longer accepted for Ancestral File. New family history databases should be submitted to the Pedigree Resource File.

How do I correct errors in Ancestral File?

Corrections are no longer accepted for Ancestral File. Corrections should be made to the new FamilySearch Tree.

How accurate is Ancestral File?

The information in Ancestral File is a composite of information from many different contributors which may include some discrepancies and duplication. Some people may have contributed incorrect or incomplete information. Errors may have been introduced when paper submissions were typed into the computer. FamilySearch does not verify the accuracy of information in Ancestral File.

Are living people included in Ancestral File?

Ancestral File does not display information about living people. People born less than 95 years ago who do not have a death date in the file are considered living.

How do I contact submitters to Ancestral File?

For privacy reasons, the online version of Ancestral File does not display personal information about submitters. Instead, Ancestral File displays an identifier composed of parts of submitters' names followed by 7-digit numbers. The CD-ROM version and previous online versions of the Ancestral File displayed submitter names and contact information.

The DOS version of Ancestral File, where available, includes contact information for submitters. The DOS version is currently available on four computers on the 3rd floor of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and in FamilySearch centers.

What is an Ancestral File Number (AFN)?

An Ancestral File Number was assigned to every record that was published in Ancestral File. If you know the Ancestral File Number, you can use it to search the Ancestral File for the individual. You can also search the new FamilySearch Tree using an Ancestral File Number.