UPDATE: FamilySearch Digital Records Access Replacing Microfilm
Updated: 1 February 2020
Thursday, 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
- If customers need access to a particular film yet to be digitized, they can request to have it added to the priority digitization list by contacting FamilySearch Support (Toll Free: 1-866-406-1830).
- The majority of FamilySearch's vast microfilm collection (2.4M rolls) has now been digitized and are available online.
- The remaining microfilms (less than 350,000 rolls) are being digitally scanned and are projected to be completed sometime in 2021.
- Newly scanned and available digital images can be viewed using the FamilySearch Explore Historical Images feature.
- Visitors to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City can continue to order needed microfilms, not available digitally online, to use during their research visits.
HOW TO FIND DIGITAL IMAGES ON FAMILYSEARCH
Digital image collections can be accessed today in 4 places on FamilySearch.org, all under Search.
- Records includes collections that have been indexed by name or published with additional waypoints to help browse the unindexed images.
- Explore Historical Images is a new tool that enables users to search billions of unindexed digital records in FamilySearch's quickly expanding digital image collections. This is the best to start to search all of FamilySearch's digitized microfilm and new digital images published online daily from its global camera operations.
- Catalog. Includes a description of all the microfilms, books, and digital images in the FamilySearch collection. A camera icon appears in the Catalog adjacent to a microfilm listing when it is available digitally.
- 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.”
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 continue 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.
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.