Tuesday, February 2, 2010

What are Ancestral File Numbers?

For my students in both of my Internet and Genealogy classes:

An Ancestral File number is a unique number allocated to an individual under the Personal Ancestral File or PAF software.

An Ancestral File Number (AFN) was intended to be a unique identifier for each individual who has a record in the Ancestral File format, but the number isn't always unique, since many individuals have been assigned multiple AFNs through the years, making it confusing for those doing research. AFNs are used as a genealogical indexing tool by the LDS Church. AFNs consist of four capital letters or digits, a dash, and then two or three more capital letters or digits. An AFN does not contain any vowels (A, E, I, O, U, or Y). An example is 1BS3-9X1. AFNs can be searched online at the LDS genealogy website, FamilySearch.

Using the Google search engine you can enter an AFN, sample below, to search all records for someone on Familysearch.

site:familysearch.org 8XJF-4B