Locating "microfilm only" microfilms at FHCs-Please bring back location of microfilms to catalog!!!
Before the recent "maintenance" to the FamilySearch website, if you encountered items in the Library Catalog that were on microfilm only (not available digitally, even at an FHC), there was a "Location" drop down box above the Film/Digital notes and in that drop down box, there would be a list of all the Family History Centers that had microfilms for that resource at their location. This allowed you to either go to a nearby history center that had the film, or contact those family history centers and ask if someone would search the film for you, or in some cases, arrange for the film to be temporarily transferred to your history center so it could be viewed and then sent back. Since the site maintenance was done, this Location box has been removed from the library catalog. How are we supposed to find those films now!? Please bring back this Location option in the library catalog! And please, don't say that the main library is now offering look-up services when something is on microfilm only so the location is not needed! For those of us who don't already know what is on the microfilm, how are we supposed to ask for a lookup!? Is a volunteer going to go through all 3000+ images on these films and write down every record that includes my surname, send it to me, and then go back and get everything I need from it? That's unrealistic and unlikely to happen. I'm incredibly frustrated with this change, as many of the Italian towns in which I research have records between 1911-1929 that are only on microfilm. Please bring back the location option in the library catalog!
I think the above feature vanished long before any recent maintenance. It has not been available to me for a while, maybe a couple of years.
There is one thing you can do. If you go to the Catalog Search https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog, under availability click on Family History Center, then scroll down and select your desired Family History Center. Then Search for a particular microfilm number. This will tell you whether that particular Center has that particular microfilm, but you will not be able to see what Centers hold the microfilm.
In practical terms fewer and fewer Centers hold microfilms and/or have microfilm readers that still work. This problem will only worsen as microfilm readers break down and cannot be repaired.0
I know the feature was there during the pandemic, in May of last year, because I used that feature to contact a History Center in another state that had a film I needed. My history center has about 800 films for Italy that I ordered over the years, a lot of which are now microfilm only.
Thank you for suggesting the work around, I can try that and you are correct that microfilm readers that work well are getting hard to find. Luckily, the one at mine still works and I've become a pretty good repair person over the years too. I still hope they restore the location feature though, because using the example in the picture I included, there are at least 20 history centers that had films for that town I was looking in in 2020, and it's a little bitty town in Sicily!
Thank you for your response!0