The IGI (International Genealogical Index) is a transcription of parish registers by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The registers were translated and are available online. LDS.org This work is accurate and something that the genealogist can rely on. Christening dates, however, do not reflect the actual date of birth. People had their children baptised sometimes as away from the birth date as one or two years. You may ask why all of the parish registers in the world are not transcribed. This is because of socialism, fascism, communism and religious persecution. Some of you may wonder why we need to be creating a democracy in Iraq. The reason is that the US religious community is not welcome in countries who do not embrace freedom and are frequently kidnapped and killed while visiting overseas. Thanks to Ronald Reagan in tearing down the Berlin wall, the church was able to film some German records. However, this is incomplete because the Russians are still in possession of many German and Polish records. So, what is available to researchers is the records from the Free World. Another resource of the church is the Ancestral File. Please, please use this as a guideline. Both members and non-members submit their gedcom files so that they may be computerized and indexed by volunteers. Then, the computer merges the data (everything being equal). This is why you may see children with the same given name listed several times, but maybe a year or so apart. Assume that there is only one Mary (for example) and go from there in trying to establish a more accurate timeline. I use the ancestral file as worksheets. For one thing, they frequently list a place of origin or birth. This helps me to know where to look next. No genealogy is accurate without a complete documentation, so we must really dig through existing records. It is through the hard, hard work of genealogists that we have gathered, indexed and published as many records as we have.
Jeannette Holland Austin, author of over 100 genealogy books
North Carolina Pioneers