Genetic linkage analysis requires the identification and documentation of large families with many affected members present, preferably in more than one generation. The IMAGE Project has been establishing a population- based Alzheimer disease (AD) registry in the Saguenay - Lac-Saint-Jean region of the Province of Quebec. The population of this region has a well-documented ancestry, with reliable genealogical records (since 1842) computerized by SORER We have recently begun to investigate the pedigrees of selected probands (definite, probable and possible) from the IMAGE registry in order to identify informative pedigrees for genetic linkage analysis. Interviews were carried out with close relatives of the probands (at least one informant per sibship) to identify secondary AD cases. The questionnaires used pertain to the accuracy of genealogical records, to family medical history and to a retrospective diagnosis of AD for people with cognitive deficits. By these means, we have documented a large extended pedigree in which a total of 15 individuals with cognitive deficits were ascertained over three generations. Of these cases, 7 are still living and there is autopsy confirmation in another one. Computer simulations using the program SIMLINK revealed that this is a potentially informative family for linkage analysis. Horizontal extension of the pedigree to second cousins of the proband is now being carried out. This will render the family IMAGE/1 even more informative in genetic linkage analysis studies.