Monday, June 26, 2017
Microfilm Distribution by FamilySearch to End
If you have been reading my blog posts for a while, you know that I have been speculating about the end of microfilm as a technology. Well, the time has come. FamilySearch.org has announced the end of microfilm distribution to take effect on September 1, 2017. The last day to order film will be August 31, 2017. I suggest reading the entire announcement here at this link.
From the announcement, it is evident that there will be a "lag time" between the cutoff date and when all the microfilm is digitized. A word to the wise would be to make sure that your local Family History Center will still support microfilm research after September 1, 2017, and also order in the microfilm you might need before the cutoff date.
I should also mention that the extensive microfilm collection at the Brigham Young University Family History Library will still be available, but I must assume that even BYU will not have the ability to order film after the cutoff date. I imagine that the onsite microfilm collection at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah will also be available after September 1, 2017, but that is an unanswered question.
One serious issue concerns the digitization of the remaining microfilm. Some of the microfilmed records were obtained when online digitized records were science fiction and the "owners" of the images may not be cooperative in allowing the images to be freely available. We already encounter a number of "digitized" records that are only available in Family History Centers or even restricted to viewing in Salt Lake at the main Family History Library. I suspect that this will be a much more expanded problem in the future. I know that negotiations for online access to the existing records are an ongoing problem and challenge.
I guess it is time to write about the future of Family History Centers again also.