26
June
2017
|
06:43 PM
Europe/Amsterdam

FamilySearch Digital Records Access Replacing Microfilm

FamilySearch, a world genealogy leader and nonprofit, announced today its plans to discontinue its 80-year-old microfilm distribution service. The transition is the result of significant progress made in FamilySearch’s microfilm digitization efforts and the obsolescence of microfilm technology. The last day for ordering microfilm will be August 31, 2017. Online access to digital images of the world's historic records allows FamilySearch to service more people around the globe, faster and more efficiently. See Finding Digital Images of Records on FamilySearch.org and Frequently Asked Questions

A global leader in historic records preservation and access, FamilySearch and its predecessors began using microfilm in 1938, amassing billions of the world’s genealogical records in its collections from over 200 countries. Why the shift from microfilm to digital? Diane Loosle, Director of the Patron Services Division said, "Preserving historic records is only one half of the equation. Making them easily accessible to family historians and researchers worldwide when they need them is the other crucial component."

Loosle noted that FamilySearch will continue to preserve the master copies of its original microfilms in its Granite Mountain Records Vault as added backup to the digital copies online.

As the Internet has become more accessible to people worldwide over the past two decades, FamilySearch made the decision to convert its preservation and access strategy to digital. No small task for an organization with 2.4 million rolls of microfilm in inventory and a distribution network of over 5,000 family history centers and affiliate libraries worldwide.

It began the transition to digital preservation years ago. It not only focused on converting its massive microfilm collection, but also in replacing its microfilm cameras in the field. All microfilm cameras have been replaced with over 300 specialized digital cameras that significantly decrease the time required to make historic records images accessible online.

FamilySearch has now digitally reproduced the bulk of its microfilm collection—over 1.5 billion images so far—including the most requested collections based on microfilm loan records worldwide. The remaining microfilms should be digitized by the end of 2020, and all new records from its ongoing global efforts are already using digital camera equipment.

Digital image collections can be accessed today in three places at FamilySearch.org. Using the Search feature, you can find them in Records (check out the Browse all published collections link), Books, and the Catalog. For additional help, see Finding Digital Images of Records on FamilySearch.org.

Transitioning from microfilm to digital creates a fun opportunity for FamilySearch's family history center network. Centers will focus on simplified, one-on-one experiences for patrons, and continue to provide access to relevant technology, popular premium subscription services, and restricted digital record collections not available to patrons from home.

Centers and affiliate libraries will coordinate with local leaders and administrators to manage their current microfilm collections on loan from FamilySearch, and determine when to return films that are already published online. For more information, see Digital Records Access Replacing Microfilm.

About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 5,000 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Comments 1 - 20 (83)
Thank you for your message.
Susan Howard
13
January
2018
I am researching Italian records (birth, marriage and deaths from small towns) on the Familysearch site. Most of the records are restricted and have to be viewed at a FHC. However, for the town of Atina there is a sub-section of records with the word Tribunale in front of them that I CAN access at home, e.g., Italia, Frosinone, Atina. Stato civile : Tribunale, 1809-1929. The list below that, Registri dello stato civile di Atina (Frosinone), 1810-1865, is restricted to FHC viewing. Why on earth would the records with the word Tribunale before them be unrestricted? I have asked the Help team but got no proper answer.
Valarie
22
December
2017
I apologize if this has been previously answered directly but, I can't seem to find a direct answer. Like most of non-members we are grateful for he access to the records our public entities have given permission for the church to scan and now digitize. I do understand that some records do have access restrictions. I appreciate the opportunity to visit an affiliate library or FHC. My concern lies in the idea that there is ONLINE access restrictions to public information for non members while members of the church CAN access the information w/ their LDS log in. I can't imagine that the LA State Archives gave permission to scan/digitize public records yet, restricted it to only LDS log in access while denying that same access to non church members. While I hope I am wrongm it feels as though familysearch is becoming much more exclusive or just bad negotiating by the state of Louisiana.
Penny Minter
20
December
2017
I am looking for New York Marriages, 1686-1980. If the microfilm is not yet digitized and microfilm is no longer available for loan, how can I obtain a copy of a record?
Thank you.
Terry Brasko
09
December
2017
Where is my closest FamilySearch affiliate library? I live in Maple Shade NJ. Thanks!!
Carolina Woods
31
December
2017
The nearest one I found to Maple Shade NJ is:

Cherry Hill New Jersey Family History Center
252 East Evesham Road
CHERRY HILL New Jersey 08003-3706

+1 856-795-8841
Hours
T,Th 6:30pm-9 pm; W-Th,Sat 9:30am-2:30pm.
Richard F. Vernon
28
November
2017
Why have I been blocked from accessing my LDS family tree? I have been with you for at least ten years, and have enjoyed being part of it. When you became part of Ancestry.com, I was given the opportunity to remain as an old free member and to continue using it. Now all of the family data is not available to use, and I think that it is unfair for me to not be able to see and use it, or retrieve to save for my family to see. What can I do? I am 84 yrs. old, and have limited income, and would like to at least keep the family info, that I have on family search. How do I do this? Thank you for your interest in my situation.
Paul Nauta
28
November
2017
Richard, You should not be blocked from accessing your FamilySearch Family Tree. I'm wondering if you're confusing FamilySearch.org with Ancestry.com because you of your statement "When you became part of Ancestry.com..."? FamilySearch is not part of Ancestry.com other than we share different types of select data from our historic record collections and tree. I'd suggest you contact FamilySearch Support for the personal assistance you need. FamilySearch Support: 1-866-406-1830. Thank you.
Frank Bax
25
November
2017
It began the transition to digital preservation years ago.

I'm guessing about 10-15 years ago. Does anyone know when scanning of microfilm actually started?
Paul Nauta
28
November
2017
Frank,

FamilySearch began digitizing its microfilm in 1999. Thank you for your interest.
Kieran
22
November
2017
I was wondering if anyone was having trouble accessing family search records that are restricted to LDS login?
As a couple of weeks ago I was able to get a copy of a marriage certificate in the USA which really helped me.
However how all i get is go to a center or an affiliated library.
Just wondering whats going on and should i be able to download images on my Family Search Account.

Thanks
Jenn
13
December
2017
I am having the same problem, I get a pop up notification saying I need an LDS membership number or I need to go to a Family History Library. I dont have a LDS membership number and I Dont have a library with hours near me that works for my schedule. Has anyone figured out how to see these images at home?

Thanks
Valarie
22
December
2017
I hope someone will answer us. Same thing here w/ images. I had a dedicated church member download it for me but, my REAL CONCERN is why some online images are available only to LDS members? For non members it requires a trip to the FHC. I can't imagine a state archive would have knowingly negotiated that only Church members had online access to the public records they let the church scan. I would like to know if this is a new restriction placed by the church. If so, I just would like a direct answer...and hope my state negotiates a lil better next time!
Doyle
16
November
2017
I was wondering if anyone was having trouble accessing family search records that are restricted to LDS login? It tells me to login and after I do so, I'm still locked out? Just wondering if something is changing. Thanks.
Antonio Azzaini
15
November
2017
Hello,

I'm looking for 3 certificates of my great-granfather (born certificate) and great great grandfather (marriage and death). For that i need to have access to the data of Itaqui (Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil) and Alegrete (Rio Grande do Sul, Brasil). If i could download the entire files (books) it would be so much easier to look.

Thanks

Antonio Azzalini
Sue W
12
November
2017
I am wondering if digitized files available at the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah are also available to view at a family history center? Thank you!
Paul Nauta
28
November
2017
Sue, yes, the vast majority of digitized content available through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City should be accessible thru family history centers.
Marilyn Ponting
30
October
2017
I have not heard any thing about digitizing from microfiche. Some of the original church records that I consult are microfiche only.
Paul Nauta
28
November
2017
Marilyn,

Microfiche content is also being digitized. If there are access restrictions, you should still be able to view them in your family history center if that's where you are currently viewing the fiche. Thank you.
Sue Bosevich
28
October
2017
My local library is an affiliate (Athens Regional Library System, Athens GA, USA), but they do not have access, purportedly due to issues with FamilySearch. They have given FamilySearch their IP address, but FamilySearch has not been able to connect them into their system. When it this going to be resolved? I can't help but think that other entire communities are affected by the same issue. In the meantime, we wait, with no other alternative.
Megan Ryan
17
October
2017
How does a library go about becoming an affiliate site?
Joe
18
October
2017
In recent years, FamilySearch has not been adding new libraries to its network of affiliates, but plans to do so in future. We are currently in the process of setting up new digital access to existing affiliates and updating our written agreements with them to accommodate this new access. Once that is completed, it will be possible for libraries to apply to become new affiliates by contacting FamilySearch Support. We appreciate your interest in extending access to family history records to your library patrons.
Donna Tabrosky
11
October
2017
After years of trying to locate my ancestor's hometown in Poland, I found their births on film 1978450. I was going to order the film again to locate marriage and deaths (both are noted as being on the film); however, I just learned that the film ordering service is no longer available due to an increasing number of records being made available online. While it will be convenient to search online, obtaining copies of the actual handwritten page is something I'd rather receive. Very disappointed the films are no longer available for searching myself. However, after searching online for the marriages and deaths for film 1978450, there are none posted yet. Do you know when the full film will become available for searching online?
Joe
18
October
2017
If you have a question about access to digital images for a particular microfilm, please contact FamilySearch Support by going to Get Help and Contact Us on FamilySearch.org.
Kim Knepper
11
October
2017
I would like to know if the Hayes Presidential Library in Fremont, Ohio is an affiliate library? And if so what is the protocol to look at records? Do they have computers set up for public use? Thanks.
Joe
18
October
2017
Kim, that library is not one of the FamilySearch affiliate libraries. To find a family history center or affiliate library nearest you, you can search here: https://www.familysearch.org/locations/. To view records that require viewing at a family history center or affiliate library, you can use one of the center or library computers to look up the records in the FamilySearch Catalog or Records section, as you would normally, and click on the camera icon or browse images link to get to the images. There is no special protocol that patrons need to follow.
Linda
06
October
2017
What a sad decision. It is also sad to experience the Church resorting to public-relations-speak in responding to questions about this decision. If there are truly so few records that have not been digitized, how can it be burdensome to continue to send out those films and fiche on request. Regarding Joe's response to Jeanne (affiliate FS libraries), the most you may be able to find out at the affiliate is that the digitized record is available. You'll probably have to go to a FHCenter to actually look at it. Another blow to family research.
Joe
18
October
2017
In fact, over 99% of the images digitized from microfilm are available in a family history center are available in affiliate libraries. Ideally, all of them would be available in affiliates as well, or even at home, but there are a few contracts that limit distribution to just the family history centers.
Linda Lichtblau
02
October
2017
I would like to find out if there is a record of a birth for Ida Schwartz DOB 9/12/42. Mother's name Dinah Schwartz. Hospital was Unity Hospital located at 1545 St. Johns Place, Brooklyn, NY.

Thank you.
Beverly
29
September
2017
I am sorry to read of these developments, I was always hopeful that in the near future we would be able to down load digital data from your site. It is impossible for personal reasons for me to get to a FHL, and living in a rural area the library is a no no also. Looks like my research is going to stay at the same stage as now.
Paul Nauta
28
November
2017
Beverly,

We are not sure what your concern is. Digitizing the microfilm collection will make them more accessible to more people at FamilySearch.org, not less. Be sure to search the FamilySearch Catalog for digital images in addition to the historic record collections. Thank you.
Matt
19
September
2017
Would you please consider keeping an online running list of microfilm records now accessible online (for at least just this new post-microfilm era)? This would be a nice quick way to determine if records relevant to me have been digitized! And if the list gets too long, maybe you can add filters. Thank you for your consideration!
Joe
18
October
2017
There is a feature in the Catalog (https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog/) that allows you to limit your search to images that are online. In the search options, under Search these family history centers, you can select "Online" and your Catalog searches will be limited to records that are available online.
Jeanne
15
September
2017
I keep reading about affiliate libraries, is there a place to lookup where they may be located? My local FHL is only opened 2 hours 1 night a week. So if I could find a library that I can gain access, I would greatly appreciate the chance to do so. Thank you.
Joe
15
September
2017
Affiliate libraries can be found by clicking on Get Help, then Contact Us. There is a Find a Family History Center search which includes FamilySearch affiliate libraries. You can also go directly to the Find a Family History Center and FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries map search here: https://www.familysearch.org/locations.