30
August
2017
|
10:15 PM
Europe/Amsterdam

UPDATE: FamilySearch Digital Records Access Replacing Microfilm

testThursday, September 7, 2017, marks the closing of an 80-year era of historic records access to usher in a new, digital model. FamilySearch is discontinuing its microfilm circulation services in concert with its commitment to make billions of the world’s historic records readily accessible digitally online. (See FamilySearch Digital Records Access Replacing Microfilm). As its remaining microfilms are digitized, FamilySearch has provided additional information to users of its historic microfilm program.

FamilySearch, a global leader in historic records preservation and access, began microfilming historic records in 1938. Advancements in technology have enabled it to be more efficient, making an unbelievable tide of digital images of historic records accessible much quicker online and to a far greater customer base.

FamilySearch released a list of helpful facts and tips to help patrons better navigate the transition from microfilm to digital.

QUICK FACTS AND TIPS

  • Patrons can still order microfilms online until Thursday, September 7, 2017.
  • After film ordering ends, if customers need access to a particular film yet to be digitized, they can express interest to have it added to the priority digitization list by contacting FamilySearch Support (Toll Free: 1-866-406-1830).
  • All of the microfilm rented by patrons in the past 5 years have now been digitized by FamilySearch—over 1.5 million microfilms (ca. 1.5 billion images).
  • The remaining microfilms are being digitally scanned at a rate of 1,000 films per day and are projected to be complete by 2020.
  • New digital images are available as they are scanned in the FamilySearch.org Catalog.
  • Films currently on loan in family history centers and affiliate libraries are automatically granted extended loan status.
  • Affiliate libraries now have access to nearly all of the restricted image collections as family history centers.
  • Visitors to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City will still be able to order needed microfilms to use during their research visits.

HOW TO FIND DIGITAL IMAGES ON FAMILYSEARCH

Digital image collections can be accessed today in 3 places on FamilySearch.org, all under Search.

  • Catalog. Includes a description of all the microfilms and digital images in the FamilySearch collection. This is where all of FamilySearch's digitized microfilm and new digital images from its global camera operations are being published. A camera icon appears in the Catalog adjacent to a microfilm listing when it is available digitally.
  • Records includes collections that have been indexed by name or published with additional waypoints to help browse the unindexed images.
  • Books include digital copies of books from the Family History Library and other libraries, including many books that were previously copied to microfilm.

For additional help, see Finding Digital Images of Records on FamilySearch.org, or watch this how-to video “Where are the digitized records on FamilySearch?

“FamilySearch is committed to meeting customers’ needs as much as possible during this transition to digital access,” said Diane Loosle, FamilySearch’s Director of Patron Services. “We really appreciate the wonderful feedback we have received since the initial announcement. It is helping us better facilitate customer experiences during this next phase.”

Loosle said FamilySearch's over 5,000 family history centers will continue to provide access to relevant technology, premium subscription services, and digital records, including restricted content not available at home. Centers have the option to return microfilm that is available online or otherwise not needed. As more images are published online, centers may reevaluate whether to retain microfilm holdings.

See Frequently Asked Questions: Digital Access Replacing Microfilms for more information.

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 (20)
Thank you for your message.
Diane C Loosle
17
November
2017
Gene. I am happy to know that you listened into the interview which I gave. The microfilm that you mention was already digitized at the time that you requested it, however, it had some issues with rights restrictions which needed to be resolved before it could be published. The good news is the film of interest is available digitally as of two days ago through the FamilySearch Catalog viewer. Another thing that I mentioned in the interviews is that even though we may digitize a film, we may not have the rights to make it available due to data privacy or other rights restrictions. Data privacy laws change overtime, necessitating our pulling back records that were previously available. In some cases other rights restrictions mean we cannot share the records digitally. Many of you may have noticed a new icon in the FamilySearch Catalog which is a camera with a key over it. That icon means that there is a restriction that only allows the images to be viewed while in a FamilySearch Library, Family History Center or Affiliate Library. There are even a few images which are not available to Affiliate Libraries due to rights restrictions. If that sounds complicated, it is. You can imagine the mammoth task of reviewing 1000s of contracts which govern our microfilm collection. This takes time. So please have patience. Also remember that the films are still available in locations at FamilySearch Libraries, Family History Centers and Affiliate Libraries. The FamilySearch Catalog let's you know where you can find a copy of the microfilm.
Phillip Lambert
13
November
2017
HELP. Im at the FRC in Temple View Fosters Rd, Hamilton, New Zealand. I cannot figure out how to view the restricted digital images of the digitized microflim. No one in the center knows how to access them either. The IP Address for this center is 118.92.57.58. Does that help?
Gene Zubrinsky
09
November
2017
In an August 22 interview, Diane Loosle, Director of Patron Services for FamilySearch, said the following: "You know if you think about how long it took to get a microfilm to be delivered to you once you ordered it, you can think about it’s kind of the same time frame when it might then be available to you digitally." She also said that the rate of digitization is 1,500 films per day; this page says 1,000. Either way, it's difficult to comprehend why my six-weeks-old (September 27) digitization request for _Baptismal Records of the First Congregational Church, 1710-1820 [Middleborough, Mass.]_, FHL microfilm no. 945018, still fails to show up in the catalog as fulfilled. The typical turnaround time for film orders was a couple of weeks. What, please, is the story? Thanks.
Carli McK
27
October
2017
Are Slovakia Church records not "available online" able to be viewed at a FHC? Nothing indicates such, but I am curious. Thank you.
George Bauer
16
October
2017
I have been in family search for a long time. I have been indexing for a while and when it came into family search I have run into a problem. I don't know how to find where you submit after you have completed a batch. Do I have to update family search or where do I go to find out where it can be or is it done automatically?
Vic Piper
11
October
2017
I have been unable to view the early census records recently. Is this just a problem or are these records now restricted?

Andrew
07
October
2017
Can you clarify HOW affiliate libraries provide access? I have spoken with my local affilitate library on multiple occassions now and no one can seem to tell me if a special login and password are required to access the catalog to view the restricted files. Can I use my own computer as long as it is connected to the affiliate library's network and/or is this integrated with the Ancestry Library Edition in any way?
Joe
18
October
2017
Affiliate library access works via an IP address authentication. Once access is in place, then images that are authorized to view in an affiliate library will be visible without any login or other step required by patrons. Instructions were sent to affiliate libraries in August to contact FamilySearch Support to provide this information. If your library does not have access yet, please invite them to contact FamilySearch Support to request it. They can find the contact information under Get Help > Contact Us on FamilySearch.org.
Charlie Purvis
01
October
2017
Has familySearch changed their protocol. Images that I have accessed in the past are now locked and tell me that I must go to a Family History center. to
Images Available
To view these images you must do one of the following:
Access the site at a family history center.
Access the site at a FamilySearch affiliate library.
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QV14-DSZV


Chris
08
October
2017
I think this is a sad change. I was excited for the digitizing of these records to make research easier from home. Unfortunately, I see images from older digitized sets that are still online, but newer additions from the same archives are locked. Clearly a move to keep people visiting in person. I would also suspect that FamilySearch and Ancestry have teamed up on this one, as you can pay for an Ancestry subscription to view a great many of the same microfilms (I noticed many of them appeared on Ancestry first: ex. the military church records for Belgard, Germany).
Joe
18
October
2017
FamilySearch strives to obey all laws and restrictions regarding records. The goal is to make records available as widely as possible, within the limits of contracts with record custodians and applicable laws. FamilySearch periodically reviews its contracts and current laws to ensure that we remain compliant. In many cases, such reviews result in images becoming available that were previously unavailable, or in increasing access to images. In some cases, we may determine that a contractual or other legal restriction requires more limited access, such as requiring access in a family history center. When such conditions are found, FamilySearch updates the access to the images accordingly.
Louis Giles
21
September
2017
Has Family Search considered including in the catalog the title of record series which have been filmed/digitized but are not yet available to the public due to contract restrictions? I believe this would be useful to researchers to know that such records do, at least, exist and at some point will be made available.
Joe
26
September
2017
Thank you for the suggestion. The FamilySearch catalog does includes all of those titles. However, there is currently no way to tell the difference between a title that has been digitized already but is restricted and a title that has not been digitized yet. In most cases, there is a microfilm or book copy available, at least at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and possibly at other centers as well.
RAYMUND JOVY SUGAY
07
September
2017
Sir/Madame:

Can you help me find details of my great-grandmother Irene Bundalian Sugay?
The only details I have are DOB: October 19, 1883, RIP: February 19, 1960.
She gave birth to a son with the name Julio Sugay, DOB: May 22, 1904, RIP: August 23, 1969.
Julio was abandoned by his father and sources have told me that hi father's name is Jose Mercado.

Will this info I wrote help me finding my ancestry?

Sincerly
Joe
26
September
2017
Raymund, The Newsroom can't help with specific research queries. If you need help with research, you could try going to the Get Help link on FamilySearch.org or one of the FamilySearch Genealogy Research Community groups on Facebook.
charleene Rae Neibaur Nance
06
September
2017
I've helped digitize many records. Thankfully some of them have helped me find names and dates. Most information was available in my family records but having the original docs is much better. Thanks.
Bob
06
September
2017
I have ordered film 836090 within the past year and it has not been digitized. When will the land revision books for Ireland be digitized?
Ted Godwin
04
September
2017
Last December 2016 I was able to view the images of the Derbyshire England Parish Registers online at home but now I need to go to a Family History Centre or affiliate to view them. Why and what has happened in the meantime?
Chris
08
October
2017
I would like an answer to this as well. Ted raised a really good question that still hasn't been answered in a month.
Joe
01
September
2017
Caitlin, the microfilms ordered in the last 5 years have been digitized and the vast majority are online. However, there are some restrictions preventing digital access to a portion of them which FamilySearch is working to resolve, including the films you mention. These requires careful review of contracts and in some cases may require negotiations with record custodians. FamilySearch is working to make all of the digitized films available insofar as possible, at least in family history centers and affiliate libraries, and at home where possible.
Caitlin
01
September
2017
I disagree with the statement "All of the microfilm rented by patrons in the past 5 years have now been digitized by FamilySearch". I have ordered microfilm of "Registri ecclesiastici di Sasso di Castalda (Potenza), 1630-1855" several times over the last couple of years, and those are not, as of this writing, available digitally. While I understand these things take time, it's a bit disingenuous to say "all" when you mean "most".

I will say, though, that I do appreciate the digitization efforts. I only wish there was a way to access them outside the family history center, as the hours there are clearly not meant for second-shift workers. Even a short-term payment option would be nice!
Joe
01
September
2017
FamilySearch's goal is to make records available to everyone insofar as possible. Indeed, sometimes contracts with archives or other partners limit the ability to do so. FamilySearch is making every effort to reduce restrictions through ongoing negotiations. It may actually not be helpful for patrons to contact archives to request access on FamilySearch's behalf. The video mentioned by Janett is a good overview of the issues involved with records access and ways you can actually help. Another challenge is that currently FamilySearch does not have a way to manage digital access by a specific geography. Thus, if image access is restricted in one area, the same restriction applies globally. FamilySearch is working on a technical solution to this problem, so that greater access can be given in the geographic areas where it is allowed. The technical issue is rather complex, so it will take some time to implement a change, but it is a priority to solve.
Mary Jane Rettig
01
September
2017
I was not aware that records from Bremen, Germany could not be accessed from home. A problem. I also cannot access Italian record l need from home. Upon visiting my affiliate library the records were water damaged, very blurry. No way to focus. The volunteer in charge was ill. The other staff could not assist me. Very disappointed. The libraries have restricted hours. Must now wait until next week.
Janett Call
31
August
2017
This is a very nice article. Addressing many issues concerning microfilm, digitizing and historical records . I have always appriciated the following video that I believe answers at least part of the questions that were asked in the comments section; http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1535624901001?bckey=AQ~~,AAAAsMO7iuE~,0a6boL_aMzQgoEJ3wzvtylILvDOCfrMr&bctid=1538962288001
Linda
31
August
2017
Why are some images only available to church members even at the local FHC? If you look at the film description of some, it states that the images are restricted to church members in Germany. But, even at the FHC in the US, it only allows church members to view them. So non-member researchers who come to a local FHC cannot view the images on the computers.
Louise
31
August
2017
I, too, would like to know why records for Bremen, Germany are NOT available from home. There is NO stipulation that they are restricted for viewing anywhere. They are, however, available at my local FHC but ONLY with the logon of a church member! I need to be able to view the actual record, not someone's interpretation of same.
Katie
31
August
2017
I believe FamilySearch wants everything to be available to everyone, but sometimes archives and/or governments will not let FamilySearch digitize the records and make them available to everyone. It's this record custodian or government entity who causes the restriction, not FamilySearch. So... I suppose you could contact the record custodian to see if they'll reconsider their contract, or, if it's a government/legal issue, you could reach out to your government representatives.
Miriam Francisquini de Souza Antão da Silva
31
August
2017
Bom dia, quero parabenizá-los pelo belíssimo trabalho, graças a Deus primeiramente e a este trabalho de vocês, estou encontrando registros dos mus antepassados. Muito obrigado à toda equipe.

Abraços.