Question as to why some records are available and others are not from same source
First, congratulations of completing digitisation!
It has been suggested to me that I contact you with my question. I am puzzled by some records being available while others are not.
Specifically, I am baffled by Coventry Rhode Island land records. I go to “Search”, followed by “Catalog” and then enter the location “United States, Rhode Island, Kent, Coventry” into the search box. I then select “Land Records” and choose “Land records, 1741-1925” from the drop down. I am then redirected to a new screen with 26 “reels”, of which 19 are available anywhere and the remaining 7 are unavailable everywhere outside, including 4 of the 6 “reels” of indexes.
I am aware that various record custodians have placed restrictions on accessibility, but it seems odd to me that Coventry would have no objection to 19 of these records being readily accessible to anyone with a Family Search account, yet the other 7 are not accessible other than at the Family History Library. I cannot view them at home, nor at my local Family History Center nor at my local affiliate library.
I am curious if you can shed some light on this perplexing situation. Thank you
Chris Gallutia ([email protected])
Just another FS user here. Usually, random-seeming access restrictions like this are due to multi-part films (and FS's all-or-nothing approach to access enforcement), but that does not appear to be the case here: the Coventry, Rhode Island land records all seem to be single-part films. I think these must be due to clerical error, because it really doesn't make sense for some letters of the alphabet to be online, but not others, nor for the earliest land records to be restricted, but not the more recent ones.
How to communicate with FS about this probably-error is a different question. I know they cannot currently fix the catalog (something about an update/rework, and no, we don't get it, either), but that shouldn't mean that they can't fix access; I just don't know how to get in touch with someone who has a clue.0
Unfortunately, we do not have a definitive answer to this particular issue that you have pointed out. Our best suggestion would be that you check back from time to time, to see if the situation has changed so that you can have access.0
We sympathize with your frustration. Those 7 records are similar to each other in that they have been digitized, but the digitized records are not available online and the records can only be viewed on a microfilm. If your local Family History Center has a physical copy of the film, it would be visible there, but the Library is no longer sending copies to Family History Centers.
The article "Why are there access limitations on Historical Records?" states: "Most access limitations come from the organization who owns or manages the original historical records. Others are most likely based on local data privacy laws. Limitations determine where and how FamilySearch can make the records available. We do our best to support these agreements and legal requirements so we can maintain the trust of our partners."
There are some additional options. I successfully found Land Records for Coventry in the FamilySearch Images collection. These records are found by clicking on "Catalog", then on "Images" and putting "Coventry, Kent, Rhode Island, United States" as the place, then "search image groups". There are 67 results which include 6 groups of Land Records: 1847-1855, 1832-1839, 1860-1868, 1817-1826, 1819-1843, and 1843-1854. Unfortunately they are not indexed, but hopefully they include the dates you want.
There is also the possibility that some records that are restricted on FamilySearch may be available on one of our partner sites such as Ancestry, Find My Past etc.
Another way to get information from restricted films (when you can't go to Salt Lake City to look at a microfilm) is request help from the FamilySearch lookup service. They don't do extensive research, but if you can give them a film number and an image number or a date, name and place or if there is an internal index, they can make a photocopy and send it to you as an email attachment. The url to the request form is https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=s-7mYddfqkquPGHo3rCbeXDgy5vNu0pJhOnXB8jRDZtUNzlIR1VFVkhEWFNSVVFQNDRTUjdGRzRFVy4u or you can find it by clicking on the ?mark in the circle at the top right of familysearch.org, then clicking on Help Center and putting the keywords "photocopy" into the search bar to get the article "Can I request photocopies of records?" which provides a link to Family History Library Record Lookup Service.
We wish you success in finding what you are looking for.0
Paul W ✭✭✭✭✭
One of the moderators regularly advises that she has passed less straightforward issues to a "specialist team". There must be such a team that deals with the applying / removing of restrictions on microfilm viewing, as circumstances change. Can this not be escalated to whoever makes the necessary adjustments in such cases? Okay, the Catalog can't be amended to reflect any change in the status of these films, but there surely should be no problem in making the films in question generally available for viewing, assuming there are no contractual considerations and the current problem is purely an administrative one.2
I thank all of you for taking the time to respond.
- I have checked back, usually about every other week, for more than two years hoping that the missing indexes at least would suddenly appear.
- It would be a bit much to ask the lookup service to check a dozen or so names in both Grantee and Grantor indexes. As I do not know whether they transacted in land, I do not have specific citations to provide to them for actual land evidence records (deeds and/or mortgages).
- I am over a thousand miles away from both Salt Lake City and Coventry.
- My local Family History Center does not have the microfilm in question.
- The images are from rolls that are freely available.
- They do not appear to be available on any other internet site including the City of Coventry.
It just has struck me as odd that most of the reels are readily available but some are not. Thank you all again for your time and wisdom. Perhaps a specialist team can provide clarification or, better still, make the final seven available.0
I agree with the comments of Julia and Paul above, that this appears to be a clerical error, and the matter should be referred to the relevant department within FamilySearch.
Surely a matter such as this, having been posted in the Community, should be able to be addressed and referred on. I would not classify this as a Catalog error which currently cannot be actioned - as Julia said it is an access problem.1
I too echo the comments of Paul and Julia. We need - it would be useful to all to have - a "bug" board, where we can report such anomalies.0