Early Church Information File (ECIF)

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Online Records[edit | edit source]

What is the Early Church Information File?[edit | edit source]

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The usage of "Mormon" and "LDS" on this page is approved according to current policy.

The Early Church Information File  (ECIF) is an alphabetical card index of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) along with some of their neighbors. It focuses most on the years from 1830 to 1914. This file indexes over 1,200 sources which have an abundance of entries for Latter-day Saints. The ECIF contains 1,091,919 cards. Each person found in the ECIF is listed on about one to a dozen-or-so cards. Each card for an individual cites a different source document. Most source documents contain further details about that person. Cards for any one individual may be scattered under variations of his or her name. This file contains cards for most, but not all, Latter-day Saints from 1830-1914.

These cards were originally preserved on 75 rolls of FHL Films 1,750,655 to 1,750,729. These microfilmed card images are now also made available on the Internet via a FamilySearch Historical Records  collection mislabeled as Utah, FamilySearch, Early Church Information File, 1830-1900. The card images on this free Internet site can easily be browsed in alphabetical order, but the names on the cards are not computer indexed.

This file is certainly not limited to people from Utah. The index is international in scope and should be among the first sources checked when searching for Latter-day Saint ancestors or their neighbors living in areas heavily populated by Latter-day Saints such as the United States Mountain-West. It indexes information from sources like:

  • Latter-day Saint membership records.
  • Ward histories.
  • Family histories.
  • Local histories.
  • Journals.
  • Collective biographies.
  • Priesthood records.
  • Missionary records.
  • Periodicals.
  • Cemetery records.
  • Immigration records.
  • Marriage records of Utah and some of Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Illinois, and California.

Several major indexes are also referenced in the Early Church Information File. For example, the card in example three refers to Mormons and Their Neighbors, an index to hundreds of books and microfilms. Other indexes in this file include:

Entries in the file often refer to an event such as a person's birth, marriage, or death. Entries may also refer to a biographical sketch. The Early Church Information File  usually gives a person's name, the date of the event, and a source reference and library call number for the source. The original record may supply additional family history information as well.

How Can The ECIF Help You?[edit | edit source]

You can use the Early Church Information File  to:

  • Help you simplify your genealogical research by quickly identifying useful sources.
  • Identify possible family connections.
  • Find birth, marriage, and death information.
  • Find the names of an ancestor's relatives.
  • Locate individuals in a specific geographic area.
  • Obtain useful biographical information.

What ECIF Does Not Include[edit | edit source]

The Early Church Information File does not include:

Getting Started[edit | edit source]

Four Steps to Follow When Using the Early Church Information File:

Step 1. Select the microfilm numbers you need[edit | edit source]

Microfilm numbers for the Early Church Information File  are listed in this FamilySearch Catalog link. Names are listed alphabetically by surname and given name. For example, if you want to find index references to Perrigrine SESSIONS, the catalog shows you would look in microfilm 1,750,712.

Note that names that begin with Mc or M' are filed as if they were all spelled with Mac. For example, both McGhie and M'Ghie are filed as if spelled MacGhie. Abbreviated names like St. John are filed as if they were spelled out, for example, Saint John.

Step 2. Locate the name in the index[edit | edit source]


Once you have located the appropriate microfiche, or film, locate the name you are searching for in the Early Church Information File. Names may be typed in any order, but the cards are always arranged alphabetically by surname. For example, a name may appear as Perrigrine Sessions or Sessions, Perrigrine. An individual in the Early Church Information File  may be listed on one card or on many cards depending on how much is written on the individual and how much of that material has been indexed.

On the right are three example cards found in the Early Church Information File for Perrigrine Sessions.

Step 3. Interpret and copy the information[edit | edit source]

Study and copy the information shown in the Early Church Information File. Although cards may appear in a variety of formats, the name is always near the top. Call numbers for sources listed on the cards are usually on the left or at the bottom of the card. Most sources are described in detail.

Step 4. Obtain the source[edit | edit source]

If you are at the Family History Library, use the call number listed in the Early Church Information File  to find the actual source. If the call number is not listed on the card, refer to the section below titled "Can't Find The Source On The Card?"

If you are not at the Family History Library, you may be able to get some books through interlibrary loan at a local university or public library. For information on obtaining addresses of libraries and using interlibrary loan, see United States Archives and Libraries.

Can't Find the Source on the Card?[edit | edit source]

Updated Call Numbers. About 80 percent of the sources in the Early Church Information file have a valid call number listed on the card. Some sources that list only a book number are now available on microfilm. Also, some call numbers have changed. Check the FamilySearch Catalog to find an omitted or updated call number. "H.O." (historian's office) call numbers are outdated numbers of the Church History Library (CHL). Ask a CHL librarian to help identify the referenced record.

Missing Call Numbers. About 20 percent of the cards in the file do not list a call number for sources they reference. This section explains how to find most, but not all, of the missing call numbers.

1. County Marriage Records. About half the cards without call numbers are from county marriage records. Most of these marriage records can be found in the FamilySearch Catalog by doing a Place Search and reviewing the catalog entries for Vital Records (marriages).

NOTE: Cards listing the source as Utah County Marriage Book 8 from November 1919 to 1938 are really for Sanpete County marriages. They are located on FHL Film 481512.

Marriage records for three counties indexed in the Early Church Information File  are not available through the Family History Library. You must contact the county clerk for the county marriage records of these counties:

    • Lemhi, books 2-3 (Idaho)
    • Lincoln (Wyoming)
    • Weber (Utah)

2. Nauvoo Baptisms. If a card does not have call numbers but includes the phrase "Bapt. Nauvoo" or "Nauvoo Bapt.," it refers to the records of baptisms for the dead. If you are at the Family History Library, locate the records on microfilms in the FamilySearch Catalog under the title: Baptisms for the dead 1840-1845. Regardless of your location, locate the records online in the 7 volume set, Annotated Record of baptisms for the Dead, 1840-1845 : Nauvoo, Hancock County, Illinois.

3. U.S. Ward Records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The following table lists most, but not all, ward records for which call numbers are not provided on the ECIF cards.

Welsh Branch Records  are listed in the Place Search  of the FamilySearch Catalog by the town name. Look for:


4. Patriarchal Blessings are available only to direct descendants. Write to

Historical Department Member Services
50 East North Temple Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84150

5. Priesthood Records are no longer available at the Family History Library. The following Priesthood Records are now preserved at the Church History Library:

    • Source Listed       FHL Film Call Number
    • 1 C Seventies 179954
    • [Quorum Number] Seventies 179953
    • GR Seventies Book B 179953
    • Seventies Book B 179953

Other priesthood records with the following phrases in the lower left-hand corner of the card have always been found only at the Church History Library.

    • High Priest
    • High Priest B
    • High Priest W
    • H O High Priest
    • Re Bap 1808 - Catalog number changed to CR 100 591. Volume 1808 is found in box 1, folder 1. This volume has been digitized and is available via the Church History Library catalog.
    • Seventies Book A

Can't Find a Name?[edit | edit source]

Before concluding that your ancestor's name is not in the Early Church Information File  or in records of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, consider the following:

  • The name may be spelled or listed differently (for example, Anne instead of Ann; John A. instead of John Andrew).
  • The name may be listed under a nickname or middle name (for example, Bill instead of William; Ann instead of Mary Ann).
  • A woman may be listed under her maiden or her married surname.

The ECIF does not include every name in the sources it indexes. Search the records in which a person's name should appear for entries that may have been accidentally omitted in the index.

The index does not include all Latter-day Saint sources. For example, the Scandinavian LDS Mission Index is not included. See Tracing Latter-day Saint Ancestors for additional Latter-day Saint records and indexes to search.

Records of Latter-day Saint ancestors are often found in non-Latter-day Saint sources such as vital records. Study the Wiki research article of your ancestor's country of origin to learn about other records that may mention your ancestor.

More Information about the File[edit | edit source]

  • Generally the quality of indexing in the ECIF has been excellent. Over the years, however, the amount of data placed on the cards has varied greatly, ranging from listing only the name, date, and page(s), to capturing most of the data in the source.