The IGI is one of the most useful resources for the ‘armchair’ genealogist. Certain cautions should be used however in drawing any conclusions from the data.
1. The IGI is NOT complete. There are many parishes, even for Devon, which are not covered.
2. Of those parishes that are included – omissions and errors may have been made. Writing is not always easy to decipher, even for the well-trained eye.
3. The majority of the records on the IGI for the UK are christenings and marriages. If you want to ‘kill your ancestors off’ you will have to look elsewhere in the majority of cases.
4. Those christenings and marriages that are included are usually pre-1837, after which the 1837 Civil Registration Index takes over. (There are a significant number of exceptions to this).
5. For records that are found, much valuable information has not been included. (Witnesses, comments from the writer of the original document, whether a child is base born.)
Still, one of the great benefits of the IGI is that it allows the researcher access, in his own home, to millions of records, most of which have been reliably extracted from Parish Records. (I remember being in the Berkshire Record Office in the 70’s and 80’s whilst an LDS representative was faithfully microfilming records). As elsewhere stated, those records that begin with ‘C’ (christening) or ‘M’ (marriage) are taken from the extraction program and not individual LDS researchers working on their own line.