The American Genealogical Biographical Index (AGBI)


While researching one of my lines this morning I came across a source I haven’t encountered before – The American Genealogical Biographical Index (AGBI).  I was surprised to see that the Ancestry articles I found in my Google search was dated 1999. How could I have missed this source?

The Ancestry article provided a few excuses and made me feel a little better.  I’ll just take their word that the index has a reputation for being a New England only Index.  As an index with 6 million names and supposedly little duplication with other major indexes, it was surprising that few libraries would subscribe to such a source. According to Ancestry only two LDS family history centers had subscriptions to the index (Sacramento and Gridley, both in CA) as of 1999.

What is it?

An index of over 850 separate sources, with access to every name (not just HOH), it is also often lineage-linked. It’s owned by the Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown, Connecticut, which previously published the index online exclusively through Ancestry.com. In 2007 FamilySearch partnered with the Godfrey Library to provide free access to the index at all of the LDS family history centers.[1] Each entry of AGBI has the following parts:

  • Surname
  • First names
  • Birth year
  • State of residence
  • Biographical data
  • Citation

As of 2009 the AGBI was reportedly being pulled from Ancestry and moved exclusively to the Godfrey library’s online subscription service, Godfrey Scholar.[2] I was able to search the index by name and view images of the pages in Ancestry just today, but wasn’t able to access the content. The Godfrey library provides a form to make a lookup request and, for a fee, photocopies of the search results will be provided.  Lucky for me I live in Sacramento so I can make a trip over to the regional family history center and see what this source has for me to discover.

1. See Eastmen’s Online Genealogy Newsletter
2. See FamilySearch Wiki

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About Kevin

Im a husband, father of 4, amateur genealogist, technophile, attorney, gardener, and boy scout leader. I've taught several free courses for beginners on family history. I enjoy connecting with other genealogists & helping people discover their ancestors.
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