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June 27, 2017

No More Microfilm Ordering from FamilySearch

 On September 1, 2017, FamilySearch will discontinue its microfilm distribution services. That's right - no more ordering film into a local Family History Center.

Before readers react in horror, remember that FamilySearch has made good progress (over 1.5  million films done to date!) on digitizing its microfilm collections, and is continuing to digitize them. Once digitized they are put online.

There are many genealogists, like me, who have NEVER had access to microfilm loans due to no nearby FHC, nor have we been able to access them in Salt Lake City (due to travel and/or expense). But the world has not ended, and we have been able to make great progress on our genealogy.

I'd also like to remind those who think the sky is falling that FamilySearch records are FREE. It surprises me to see complaints about a free service as I am now seeing on Facebook as genealogist are learning of this policy change. We should all be thanking FamilySearch profusely for even creating the microfilms and then working on digitizing them.

And I know I'll get some flack for saying this --- but --- as much as I love genealogy, as much as I am absolutely addicted and obsessed with it --- it's not truly that important in the overall scheme of things. Finding a cure for cancer - that's important. Feeding hungry children - that's important. Figuring out how to have peace in the world - that's important. My suggestion is that we all keep it in perspective.

Just my personal thoughts on this.

Read the full explanation of this policy change on Family History Microfilm Discontinuation


Pamela Wile said...

I think most of the people who are commenting really do appreciate what FamilySearch has provided over the years. However, just because a service is free, doesn't mean we can't express our opinions if we don't like something. I see complaints about Facebook everyday. They are discontinuing a service that many people have depended on for a very long time. I know the source of blank microfilm is drying up, but I still don't see why they are discontinuing the rental of films they already have. They don't have to provide film for those already digitized and they can remove from service the films as they are digitized. If this has been coming, why did they only give three months notice?

I, personally, don't rent their films. I've never been able to rely on the FHL in my area being open so I never got used to using the service. However, I do think some of the complaints are legitimate - free or not.

Lorine McGinnis Schulze said...

Pamela, I completely understand why many folks are dismayed. But the comments and reactions are extreme - many are acting like it's the end of the world.

As for only 3 months notice, I am told that FamilySearch warned this was coming over a year ago. I have not verified that this is correct though

And I disagree with any complaint about a free service. If it's free just thank whoever is providing it and don't demand more. Just my opinion. And that includes Facebook, Twitter, my Olive Tree Genealogy website, and all the other free services out there!

Darlene Girard said...

As an LDS church member, I can tell you we knew about this 10 years ago. No date was given then, BUT it was, at the time estimated that the online digitization of the microfilms would take upwards of 12 or 15 years.. it has only taken 10 years to get as many as are in there now.. billions of names. All the microfilms will be available free,online, thanks to almost 180,000 volunteers indexing, transcribing, and arbitrating.

Anonymous said...

Well said Lorine. I feel the same way and am very thankful for all the free sites and their information. Thanks to the volunteers as without them we wouldn't be so knowledgeable about our ancestors. Thank you for all the information you post! Have a good day! Judy