Access to records
BC (Before Children) I was able to order films which where sent to my local Family History Society. However, I'm now a sigle parent and work full time and find the times availble on the weekends don't suit very much. On top of that with the various lockdowns and rules it makes going to the family history society very difficult.
Is it posiible that people could pay say $5 for access to a microfilm and search it from home for a period like previous (a month).
A van Helsdingen ✭✭✭✭✭
There are two issues involved here. The first is that it is now too expensive for FamilySearch to send microfilms to different Family History Centers (FHCs). The second is that contracts between record owners and FamilySearch set rules for how records can be published. When FamilySearch signed contracts decades ago and was given permission to microfilm records, in most cases it agreed to send copies only to FHCs and other libraries. Therefore your idea of paying to have records sent home is not legally possible.
FamilySearch could during future negotiations over contracts ask record owners to allow them to let people view the records from home for a fee. However FS has a long history of being free to use, so this would be a major break with tradition. This would also mean that the likes of Ancestry.com and FindMyPast would now view FamilySearch as a competitor, and the partnerships between FamilySearch and those companies would have to end.
There is a lookup service: https://www.familysearch.org/wiki/en/FHL_Lookup_Services where you can ask the FHL in Salt Lake City to lookup a record on a film.0
Welcome to the "Community.FamilySearch" Forum.
I am just another 'lowly' User/Patron ...
Just in passing ...
And, many of us, totally understand, your predicament ...
That Said ...
Short Answer: 'No', unfortunately, NOT - it is NOT that simple.
IF, the "Record" (be-it an, "Index"; and/or, "Image") CANNOT be 'viewed'/'access' from one's "Home"; whether, that be an Icon, of a, "Magnifying Glass"; or "Camera"; or, "Film Reel"; or; just "Blank" (ie NO Icon); THEN, there MUST be, some ("Level") of "Restriction", place upon that "Record", by the "Record" Custodian.
'FamilySearch', is a FREE; and, non-commercial, Website, that is NOT about to change ...
'FamilySearch', would NOT, want to be involved, in paying (or, having to pay) 'Royalties' to "Record" Custodians.
As, has been the case for the entire COVID-19 Pandemic.
Nothing, has; or, will, change, in regard to the access to "Restricted" Records/Images, other than possibly being made available at:
(1) the "Family History Library" (FHL), of the Church, in "Temple Square", Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; and/or
(2) any of the "Family History Centres" of the Church, anywhere, around the World; and/or,
(3) sometimes, any of the "Affiliate" Libraries, anywhere, around the World.
The "Reason" being, that there are TOO MANY "Record Custodians" involved; and, consequently far TOO MANY and various, "Contractual Arrangements/Agreements" between, 'FamilySearch'; and, those many various "Record Custodians".
Unfortunately, the various, "Contractual Arrangements/Agreements", would not have had, provision for anything, such as, the problems/issues caused by the Worldwide, pandemic of COVID-19.
It is easy, now, in hindsight, to sit back; and, 'question', why not; but, such is life.
NOT that, that would have made much difference; as, I am certainly many of the "Record Custodians", would not have been too keen on allowing such anyway - even, in the pandemic.
There are far too many "Commercial" interests involved (ie. Fee/Pay/Subscription Websites).
Here is a "Knowledge Articles", in 'FamilySearch':
Restricted records during COVID-19 outbreak
The OLD (Version) "Search" (Records) page/screen used to have this "Banner":
Unfortunately, the NEW (Version) "Search" (Records) page/screen, DOES NOT, still have that "Banner".
Question: Have you considered, the FREE "Look-Up" Service, provided by the FHL, in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA?
Can I suggest that you my like to avail yourself of the FREE "Look-Up" Service, provided by the Family History Library (FHL), in "Temple Square", in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
Here are a couple of Articles, with links to, that FREE "Look-Up" Service
New Library Lookup Service—For When You Can’t Visit the Family History Library
Family History Library
Family History Library Record Lookup Service
I hope, that the FREE "Look-Up" Service may be of some help/assistance.
Here are some MORE "Knowledge Articles", 'FamilySearch':
What are Notes or Film/Digital Notes in the catalog?
Where it states, among other things:
- Format—icons to indicate ways to view a recordMagnifying glass indicates that some portion of the item is indexed.
- Camera allows you to browse digitized images.
- Camera with a key explains viewing restrictions.
- Film reel indicates that FamilySearch has a physical version of the material—a microfilm or microfiche. The record custodian denies user access to the digital images.
- No icon means FamilySearch lacks a physical copy and the record custodian denies user access to the digital images.
Why is no camera icon showing for a digitized microfilm in the catalog?
Why do some indexes have access limitations?
What are the image restrictions in Historical Records?
Why did some historical records disappear from FamilySearch?
I know, that these certainly does not help/assist; but, I hope, that this may provide you with, some additional, insight; and, perspective.
As has been alluded to by other commenters, FamilySearch discontinued microfilm lending four years ago now. As a partial substitute, they have now finished digitizing all of their microfilms. Whenever contracts and privacy laws allow, the digital images are made available online, but some things can only be viewed at an FHC or affiliate library, and some things cannot be viewed digitally at all. In the latter case, the Family History Library's Lookup Service can sometimes provide images, but there is definitely a chicken-and-egg problem when dealing with unindexed records.
Hopefully, FS will eventually be able to wrangle better contracts with record custodians, allowing for online access to all records that could formerly be viewed on loaned microfilms, but we're not currently there yet.1