Ancestral File

A computerized file of individual and family records, created from records and pedigree charts submitted to the Family History Department of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 1979. The purpose of the Ancestral File is to help people coordinate their research. It is currently available online as part of the FamilySearch web site.

The Ancestral File is a lineage-linked database of contributed ancestors' names. As much as possible, data from various contributors was merged so that Ancestral File would become a single, giant database of the human pedigree. Each person in the file received a unique Ancestral File Number (AFN). However, due to the accumulation of errors and the increasing burden on Church staff to maintain the file, contributions to Ancestral File were closed about 2001. It remains a highly valuable aid for finding ancestors and fellow researchers.

Currently, the LDS Church invites contributions to its Pedigree Resource File, a collection of GEDCOM files. There is no attempt made to link individuals who appear in more than one contribution to the PRF.  Unlike Ancestral File, the PRF makes available submitted notes and source references to other researchers.

The term Ancestral File is a registered trademark of the LDS Church.

Access Ancestral File at: http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/frameset_search.asp

Description from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism:
http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/daily/family_history/Ancestral_File_EOM.htm