Ancestry.com. Biography & Genealogy Master Index (BGMI) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.Original data: Gale Research Company. Biography and Genealogy Master Index. Detroit, MI, USA: Gale Research Company, 2008.
Millions of Americans have been profiled in collective biography volumes such as Who's Who in America and Women of Science. The Biography and Genealogy Master Index was begun in the 1970s to index these names to aid researchers. The text has been updated periodically since the first edition appeared in 1980, most recently in 2008. The index, compiled by Mirana C. Herbert and Barbara McNeil, concentrates heavily on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition to providing the individual's name, birth, and death dates (where available), the source document is included. Sources for this index vary from Who's Who of American Women and National Cyclopedia to American Biography to Directory of American Scholars and American Black Writers. This database is an essential tool for locating persons who appeared in a "Who's Who" publication in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.