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Family Search announces the end of its microfilm services

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Family Search has today announced that it is to end its 80-year era of historic records access with the closure of its microfilm services, as part of a commitment to bring in a 'new digital model'.

Family Search began microfilming historic records in 1938, however advances in technology have enabled it to become more efficient, making digital images of historic records accessible online to a worldwide audience.

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All microfilms which have been used in the past 5 years have now been digitized by FamilySearch—over 1.5 million microfilms and moving forward, the remaining microfilms are being digitally scanned at a rate of 1,000 films per day, with an estimated completion date of 2020. New digital images are available as they are scanned in the FamilySearch catalogue.

How to find digital items on Family Search

Digital image collections can be accessed today in 3 places on Family Search, all under Search

  • Catalogue. Includes a description of all the microfilms and digital images in the FamilySearch collection. This is where all of FamilySearch's digitized microfilm and new digital images from its global camera operations are being published. A camera icon appears in the Catalogue adjacent to a microfilm listing when it is available digitally
  • Records includes collections that have been indexed by name or published with additional waypoints to help browse the unindexed images
  • Books include digital copies of books from the Family History Library and other libraries, including many books that were previously copied to microfilm

Diane Loosle, Director of Patron Services at Family Search, said: '“FamilySearch is committed to meeting customers’ needs as much as possible during this transition to digital access. We really appreciate the wonderful feedback we have received since the initial announcement. It is helping us better facilitate customer experiences during this next phase.”

(Image coypright Family Search)

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