Have you ever wondered why the Family History Library restricts access to some microfilms and not others? Robert Raymond, Deputy Chief Genealogical Officer, FamilySearch International’s, explained:

“When FamilySearch negotiates with archives, we attempt to get the widest access possible. Sometimes we stand on our head to get any access at all. The result is a dizzying array of possible combinations of the following:

  • Access to anyone
  • Access to anyone willing to sign in
  • Access at SLC FHL
  • Access at FamilySearch FHCs
  • Access at affiliate FHCs
  • Access to members of supporting organizations (currently just The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints)
  • Access to anyone agreeing not to use the records inappropriately
  • Access in a particular geography
  • Access except in a particular geography
  • Access with message displayed to user.” 1

So what can you do when you’ve hit an access roadblock? Find out how the access is restricted and where it may be viewed. If it’s restricted to only viewing at the SLC FHL, it’s still accessible. Find someone who is in SLC that can pull the film and view it for you. 

  1. Robert Raymond, “Digitized FHL Microfilm,” APG List, 3 Feb 2017. Used with permission.