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 (76)
Thank you for your message.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Peter
10
September
2017
Is familysearch catalog offline, I get message that technical difficulties are being experienced for the past 24 hours.
Joe
12
September
2017
There was some site maintenance being done over the weekend that caused some temporary issues. The FamilySearch Catalog and other site features should be working OK now.
Waterford City
07
September
2017
Re: Affiliate libraries access to digital images - I received an email with instructions on how affiliate libraries can gain access to digital images. However the list of numbers to call did not include a number for Ireland. I am the coordinator for Waterford Libraries in Ireland which is an affiliate library. Can you please give me a number to call or an email address to send the relevant library IP addressed to.
Etta Cowman
Joe
12
September
2017
Etta, we are sorry the number for Ireland was not included in the email. The number to dial in Ireland is 00-800-1830-1830. You can also go to FamilySearch.org, click Get Help and Contact Us and find the current number for your country, as well as a way to contact us via email or chat.
Anne Giles
02
September
2017
Re: Affiliate libraries access to digital images - is there an Australian contact number for FamilySearch support? I am the coordinator for the LDS films for the Western Australian Genealogical Society - we haven't heard anything yet.
Joe
03
September
2017
An email was sent to affiliate libraries with instructions on how to obtain access. If you did not receive it, perhaps you can check your junk mail. In any case, the number to call in Australia is 1800-083-293. When prompted, select "family history center support" in the recorded menu, or ask an operator to connect you to family history center support.
James Francis
01
September
2017
Hi
Would you please film 2299695 and 2299696 and 2299502 and 2299503
James
Joe
03
September
2017
Through Sep 7th you can still order microfilms via the online film ordering system at www.familysearch.org/films. If you would like to suggest a film to be added to the priority list for digitization, you can do so after Sep 7th by contacting FamilySearch Support. (Click on Get Help, then Contact Us and use the Send a Message, Live Chat, or Call Us feature.)
Debra Dudek
31
August
2017
Our public library is a FamilySearch Affiliate Library. We have been loaning out microfilm for several years, and our patrons really enjoy this service. In light of the microfilm service coming to a close, is there an opportunity for our library to apply to be a FamilySearch Center where our patrons can access digital images of genealogical materials which are not available to the public? It is quite a drive for our patrons to visit an LDS Center with these services.
Paul Nauta
31
August
2017
Debra,

Affiliate libraries now have access to nearly all of the restricted image collections as family history centers. If the affiliate's status has not been expanded to this extent, they need to contact FamilySearch Support for instructions. Toll Free: 1-866-406-1830.
Clare Dickinson
31
August
2017
I am researching my family history based in the UK and keep coming up with FHL numbers which do not appear to have been digitised as there are no images that are available. Now that you no longer offer the microfilm ordering service how am I supposed to view these records, travelling to SLC is not an option I'm afraid. Very frustrating that I cannot see records which for other ancestors they are still available in the UK either in the National Archives or in local parishes. Clare
Joe
03
September
2017
FamilySearch is working to complete the digitization of the microfilms by 2020. Through September 7th, you can still order microfilms. After microfilm ordering ends, you can contact FamilySearch Support to suggest a film to be added to the priority list for digitization. Until it is digitized, another option is to check other family history centers or FamilySearch affiliate libraries do see if they have a copy of the microfilm. In the FamilySearch Catalog, select a family history center under "Search these family history centers", then search for the film number you are looking for to see if they have it. Another option may be to find a researcher or volunteer who can visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City for you.
Anthony
30
August
2017
Just wondering, what is the reason for making certain digitized records only viewable at Family History Centers and affiliated libraries? Thanks!
Paul Nauta
30
August
2017
The most common reason for restricted access/viewing through a family history center or affiliate library is that the microfilm may have a contractual, data privacy, or other restriction preventing access. FamilySearch is making every effort to ease restrictions, which is dependent on decisions of record custodians and applicable laws. FamilySearch strives to obey all laws and restrictions regarding records.
Some records are limited to viewing only in a family history center and some are restricted from any access. Microfilms that previously were restricted from circulation will remain restricted from access in digital format until legal conditions change.