Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Restricted Records on

If you are using the Catalog to assist in doing your research, as you should be doing, you will likely run into the issue of restricted records such as the ones illustrated above. This particular record is entitled, "Bible records from the Newport Historical Society in Rhode Island." If I try to click on one of the images, I get the following notice:

I wrote about this recently in my Genealogy's Star blog. See "What are the "Restricted" Records on" First of all, this is not a new problem at all. Many of the records obtained by FamilySearch and its predecessors have been "restricted" to viewing under some circumstances. I seem to run into such records frequently when doing intensive research. As I stated in my previous post on Genealogy's Star, the restricted records fall into three distinct categories:
  • Records that are only available for review at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, i.e. when the researcher is physically present in the Library.
  • Records that are only available for review when the researcher is in a Family History Center and using a computer connected to the Family History Center Portal.
  • The very small category of records that are only available to researchers who have certain qualifications, i.e. members in good standing of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The records that fall into the third category are extremely limited in number and categories. They mainly deal with records that may have privacy concerns or that pertain to temple ordinances. As I also pointed out in the previous post, there are a number of reasons for the restrictions:
  • Privacy concerns
  • Restrictions imposed by the custodians or originators of the documents when they were obtained by FamilySearch
  • Changes in the laws in the country where the records originated
  • Limitations imposed by the contract role arrangements providing for the use of the records by FamilySearch
  • Copyright restrictions
I am repeating these lists here in order to get the maximum exposure for the reasons for restricted records. There have always been records that were unique to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah and were viewable only there. Even with the extensive online increase in records, there may always be a few that fall into these categories. If you do find a record in this category, I always suggest taking a minute to check the title of the record in a Google search to see if someone else has the records and they are more available to you. 


  1. What about the following message: "Film # 874073 does not exist”? Every film that I have looked up in the past few weeks in anticipation of ordering before the deadline has had this message. There is a book reference but no digital record. Do you have any clue about what is going on?

    Thanks, Mary Herzog

    1. I haven't seen that error message. Do you have a film number I can use to check?

  2. One of our Family History Center patrons ran into a similar problem and asked me for help last week. I forget the exact wording of the message she got when she tried to access the image of an obituary from GenealogyBank via FamilySearch Historical records but I should have been able to access it myself or because we were in a FHC. Neither of us were successful so I called FamilySearch Support for help. In the end, the fix was to clear out the cache and cookies on the browser. After I did that I was able to access the image. I realize this is unrelated to what you are describing but thought it might be useful to others to know this in case they are unable to see an image they should be able to access.

    1. That's really helpful to know. Thanks so much for letting me and my readers know. We hope we can pass this on to those who have the same problem.

    2. Thank YOU for continuing to blog and share your knowledge!