Membership Record Number Ending in “A”

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terrysackett
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Membership Record Number Ending in “A”

#1

Post by terrysackett »

This question is only for general knowledge.

I conducted a temple recommend renewal interview today, and the member asked if I knew why her record number ended with the letter “A”. She said no one has been able to tell her the answer, and she was just curious.

When I was a ward clerk 15 years ago I noticed that some numbers were like that, and kind of wondered myself why that was, but I didn’t think much more of it.

She was born in 1937 and baptized/confirmed in 1949, so it wasn’t computer-generated.

Do any of you know the answer?
garystroble
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Re: Membership Record Number Ending in “A”

#2

Post by garystroble »

terrysackett wrote: Sun Feb 13, 2022 5:12 pm This question is only for general knowledge.

I conducted a temple recommend renewal interview today, and the member asked if I knew why her record number ended with the letter “A”. She said no one has been able to tell her the answer, and she was just curious.

When I was a ward clerk 15 years ago I noticed that some numbers were like that, and kind of wondered myself why that was, but I didn’t think much more of it.

She was born in 1937 and baptized/confirmed in 1949, so it wasn’t computer-generated.

Do any of you know the answer?
https://tech.churchofjesuschrist.org/fo ... n+a#p13793
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terrysackett
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Re: Membership Record Number Ending in “A”

#3

Post by terrysackett »

Thanks. Most of that answer on that was over my head, but I’ll go with it the best I can. :D
davesudweeks
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Re: Membership Record Number Ending in “A”

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Post by davesudweeks »

terrysackett wrote: Mon Feb 14, 2022 12:22 am Thanks. Most of that answer on that was over my head, but I’ll go with it the best I can. :D
I think a good short answer might be:
Valid membership record numbers may end with a number or with the letter A. The "A" at the end has nothing to do with the member's status or anything else related to information on their membership record.
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terrysackett
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Re: Membership Record Number Ending in “A”

#5

Post by terrysackett »

davesudweeks wrote: Mon Feb 14, 2022 11:41 am I think a good short answer might be:
Valid membership record numbers may end with a number or with the letter A. The "A" at the end has nothing to do with the member's status or anything else related to information on their membership record.
Sounds good. Was the check digit used in membership numbers before computers were around? Because this member says she has always had this number.
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sbradshaw
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Re: Membership Record Number Ending in “A”

#6

Post by sbradshaw »

From cursory research, it looks like standardized bank account numbers, ISBNs, and UPCs (which are some of the earliest identifiers with check digits) started being used as records moved to computers in the 1960s. If I had to guess, I imagine the Church started using the current membership record number format in the 1970s (but I don't really know).
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Re: Membership Record Number Ending in “A”

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Post by russellhltn »

terrysackett wrote: Mon Mar 28, 2022 2:11 am Was the check digit used in membership numbers before computers were around?
Probably not, but keep in mind that membership records were kept on a mainframe computer at Church Headquarters long before PCs were available.

For that matter, I doubt if there was a membership number before computers. I've seen the hand-written index card from when records were actually kept at the local level. I don't remember seeing any MRN.
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Re: Membership Record Number Ending in “A”

#8

Post by jonesrk »

Looking at my parents and siblings mrns there is a pattern from when they were first assigned. About 1980 the pattern breaks, so I would guess that within a couple of years either way of that is when they were first assigned.
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Re: Membership Record Number Ending in “A”

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Post by russellhltn »

I'm surprised it was that late. I joined the church in the early 80's and made membership clerk not long after. As far as I knew, membership records were printed by CHQ for some time. The special multi-ring binders were pretty old, as was the special OCR font manual typewriter. I think the handwritten index cards went away quite some time before. As in a decade or more.

It's possible that the MRN was re-done to add the check digit some time after the system was first computerized.

Our first ward computer was a PS/2 ValuePoint which Wikipedia indicates was introduced at the end of 1992. So, either way, MRNs with the "A" was there long before ward computers.
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lajackson
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Re: Membership Record Number Ending in “A”

#10

Post by lajackson »

russellhltn wrote: Mon Mar 28, 2022 2:36 pm It's possible that the MRN was re-done to add the check digit some time after the system was first computerized.
My first calling as a membership clerk that involved computerizing records was in 1972. As I was about half way through the process of computerizing a third ward where I lived in 1974, the Church asked us to mail in all of the membership records to headquarters where they would enter them into the system themselves, rather than having us continue to type the information onto Optical Character Recognition (OCR or scannable) forms. I do not remember if the records came back with a record number on them.

Before 1980 membership record numbers were eight digits long and included the A check digit. Membership records for the U.S. (and maybe Canada) were kept on a separate system from records in the international areas of the Church. Some time soon after 1980 the two systems were combined and the first three digits of the now 11-digit MRN were added. I am guessing that was to avoid having to deal with duplicate record numbers and also because there would be a need for more numbers. For a short time, the first three digits of a membership record would tell you where in the world the record was created, but that is no longer the case.
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