help for us old folks
edited September 28, 2020 in Suggest an Idea
Manfred Gross said: first and foremost, a big thank you to FS for all the years you have helped me finding records to my family history. Now to my idea to solve my problem. I am now in my 80's and can't get around like I used to, so going to a family search center is pretty much out of my realm. In my earlier days I was able and visited the Sandusky,Oh center; I was fairly new to genealogy and did not fair well ordering films that helped me in my search. However, I was able to help other visitors with translations and was very welcomed there. I even helped indexing, but with my move to SC into an area with no internet I had to stop that too. Last year, after having a Satellite service with limited access for a number of years, I have now a fiber optic line at my home which has helped in using the internet fully. Now to my request, would it be possible to let people access the records from home, let's say maybe after the age of 75 or so? without having to drive miles and miles to do the same at a center, where the hours are limited? Please pass this idea on to your elders for considering, it sure would make this old man happy. Thank you all, Manfred A. Gross
Cindy Hecker said: The reason some records can only be viewed at Family History centers is governed by the contracts between who holds the records and FamilySearch. The goal of FamilySearch is always to make the records available to as many people as possible but the record holders get to say who gets to see their records. Sometimes they limit what we view to an index, sometimes they limit for how long we can see them and sometimes it is only at a Family History center. Each record has a unique contract. I do not think the age of the person which cannot be easily verified will play into contracts on records.0
Jeff_Luke said: The ages of church members are easily verified when using their member record number as their birth date is tied to their account, and fraudulently modifying a member record would be fairly difficult.
Contracts are just agreements. You never know what someone would be willing to agree to until you ask. Familysearch could ask to modify contracts or make the request when new contracts are made or renewed.0
A van Helsdingen said: Differing restrictions based on age are to the best of my knowledge not currently used by FS. I think there would be two main problems
1. Verifying age: 2/3 of FS users are non-LDS according to a staff member here recently. FS has to trust that the age they input is incorrect, which of course is not satisfactory if age determines access to records.
2. Law/Morals: FS and record custodians already find themselves frequently criticized and at risk of legal action because of contracts that give Latter Day Saints more access than non-LDS. Discrimination on the basis of age would also lead to similiar criticisms and legal problems. And would any record custodian, especially if they're a government, actually be happy to do this? This would give them a poor impression with younger genealogists and voters.0
Jeff_Luke said: Do members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints get access to more records than non-members? I thought all records were equally available to any user of familysearch?
There is access to more records at family history centers than there is from home, but the family history centers are open to anyone, member or non-member alike.0
A van Helsdingen said: For some records Latter Day Saints get more access, but since 2019 FS has changed the messages that appear to non-LDS when trying to access restricted records and have deleted many of the mentions of this on the Wiki, therefore many non-LDS are not aware of this.
For example, Church Records from a number of areas and Christian denominations in Germany are Latter Day Saints only. Non-LDS cannot access these records under any circumstances, even when at a FHC.
More common are records that Latter Day Saints can access from any computer, but non-LDS can only access from a FHC and/or an Affiliate Library. Examples include UK Censuses.0
Paul said: As has been explained, differences on the basis of whether you are a member of the LDS Church or not have proved controversial enough, so to have age as a sole factor is just not implementable.
There are so many reasons why people can't get to a Family History Center: young but housebound with serious illness, extreme travel sickness and agoraphobia being amongst medical reasons - but how about living hundreds of miles from the nearest one, perhaps even further? I'm not a great traveller myself (nor that young, either!), but wouldn't expect any exceptions in this matter.0
Jeff_Luke said: Thanks for the response. I didn't know that.0
Jeff_Luke said: Yes. It is not easy for many people to use the family history centers regularly. Even though I have a couple of family history libraries within 15 miles or so of my house, it is difficult for me to get to them during the hours that they are open because of my job.0
A van Helsdingen said: The whole purpose of restricting records to FHCs is to make it harder to access the records. In many cases, the record custodian has a subscription website that they want you to use instead of viewing the records for free via FamilySearch.0
Jeff Wiseman said: I think A van Helsdingen is correct. A big chunk of members of the church will use the FS site and won't pay elsewhere, so other pay-for sites aren't so worried about losing sales to those members. However, the church can make deals with those providers where the church membership might provide indexing for some of that other site's digital images, and then in response, the other provider will allow the images to be available to church members.
Now we have a lot of non-members here who have helped with indexing, but trying to write specific exceptions into contracts to allow these people to have "special access" to records restricted to only church members could be extremely difficult, especially when those other providers consider all of those non-members as potential revenue for their companies. Furthermore, on such a high level, it is far easier from a legal standpoint to contract between the company and the "church" (which is defined as the full membership--i.e., everyone with a membership number in the church)). Adding exceptions for "x" and "y" and "z" persons becomes very impractical.
BTW, there are also records that even members cannot see online and they are required to go to a FHC in order to view them. Again though, those restrictions are still set by the record custodians and not the church.0
A van Helsdingen said: All the contracts I have seen have been between the custodian and FS (formerly GSU), and have not involved the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.0
Jeff Wiseman said: That is likely true about the contracts being with FS. But I'm not sure that you can conclude that they "have not involved the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints".
But I'm not sure it makes any difference anyway. All funding and required mandates come from the church and the board that the church leaders have to direct where FS goes. Also I don't think that would reduce any of the complexity of trying to write in exceptions to the contracts for non-members or the ramifications of FS insisting on having those exceptions written in (i.e., the potential disagreement of the document owners to share ANY of their images to an organization that would make them available for free to potential paying customers of the record custodians)
Whether it is the church itself, or an organization representing the church, the issues would seem to still be the same.0
A van Helsdingen said: I don't want to religate old debates, but I would point out the "Premier User" feature that existed during the early 2010s and which I suggested could be reintroducted. https://getsatisfaction.com/familysea...
FamilySearch would administer the scheme, which allows both Latter Day Saints and non-LDS to gain the status of "Premier User". Record custodians do not need to be concerned about the details, just the number of Premier Users there are. If the number of Premier Users became too large, the criteria could be changed to reduce the number of people who qualify as a "Premier User", and thus keep satisfied the record custodians who want as few people as possible viewing their records on FS.
And I would point out that the reason FS can claim it is fully funded by the LDS Church is because it insists that all non-LDS donors donate through the "LDS Philanthropies" fund. To say that FS is fully funded by LDS members is false.0
Stewart Millar said: A clarification to the above mention of the "LDS Philanthropies" fund . . . this is also open to LDS members to contribute to any of the ten educational, humanitarian, or church related funds - one of which is FamilySearch . . . and I would expect it to be of significant interest to LDS members with excess wealth where they are assured that 100% of their contribution goes to the nominated fund - a feature not given for normal chuch contributions by members other than for the Humanitarian fund.0
Jeff_Luke said: I read the discussion on the Premier User feature. That idea (or some other implementation that provides increased access to non-member participants) seems like a good idea to me.
I hope that some progress can be made to help 'reward' non-members who have volunteered their time and effort to index or contribute in other ways. People who are actively building the tree by adding new people and sources are providing a great service too.0