Access to Digitized Records When Local History Records Are Not Open Due to COVIDduring the sht
I'm beyond frustrated! When the service was still available, I had three rolls of microfilm with Italian records sent to my local Michigan Family History Center. When COVID caused them to close, I have not been able to search the records. Now I see the records have been digitized but it has the camera with a key above icon which indicates that the digitized images can only be viewed at a local history center! Ugh! They are still closed (I've called all of them within a two-hour drive from my home) and they don't even answer the phone! What good are these digitized records if they cannot be accessed!?! I would like to recommend that during the shutdowns of our local family history centers due to COVID, that Family Search open access to the digitized images online from their website. Ancestry has been very generous during COVIC and opened up access to their Library Edition for any library patron to use from home. Please, please Family Search, help us out!
I have sent a private message.0
Unfortunately this isn't possible. Access to records is governed by contracts, and these contracts don't make exceptions for pandemics. If FS provided access from home when the contract says they are to be accessible only at FHCs, they would face legal consequences and lose the trust of archives and record owners across the world.
Have you tried clicking on the camera/key icon? Not all restricted records are only accessible from FHCs. You will see a message after clicking explaining how you can view the records. Some are also accessible from Affiliate Libraries. Have a look at this map: https://www.familysearch.org/fhcenters/locations/ to see if any are near you.
When records are only accessible from FHCs, it is often because they are on a subscription website. So try looking at the FamilySearch Wiki, asking in this forum or even contacting the record owner to find out which (if any) other website has the records.1
I am having the same problem.... No access to records except online and then you cannot access the original which is what I would like to do. I volunteered as a transcriber and arbitrator for many years and spent many hours at the library on Santa Monica Blvd but since I am not able drive to L.A. now, I would like to visit the Family History Center in Simi Valley. I have called many times and no answer. I have emailed and no answer to my emails either. I can understand the concerns with the pandemic, but please at least have the courtesy to let us know what is happening. When we go online we are told to visit one of the libraries to access the microfilms but we obviously are not able to do that. Would you let us know when you might be open again? Thank you.1
Reopening of FHC is determined by the local leadership of the Stake, local and State governments. each Center may have a different opening schedule.
Priesthood direction for family history centers • FamilySearch1