using family history records
without going to salt lake city
december 1, 2013
For you who need information not readily online but cannot go to the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC), the FHL has a free look-up service that might be just what you need. Through their new photo-duplicating service, you can request and obtain the copies by email. It should not take but a few days if you follow the protocol for requesting copies. The service is easy and quick. Using it might eliminate making a trip to research the library in person. This service makes items available to all of us anywhere. The new rule under the new management allows each person to make as many as five requests per week of circulated and non-circulated books and microfilm pages.
You must email the information requested on the Photo-duplicating Request form at https://lds.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_9tdS7lqbTCW30kR. Do not send it by Fax. Provide the book title, page number and call number or the microfilm reel number on which the record image appears. In a matter of a few short days, or a week in some cases, the staff will scan it and email it to you at no charge providing you have included adequate reference information.
Always check the FamilySearch website for digitized books. If they have only digitized the indexes, then request copies of the index pages that contain your ancestor’s surname. If the name were Cager, I would search the index for Cager and any alternate spellings such as Cedger, Kager or Kedger. After finding these names in the index, I would request copies of those particular pages.
Always check Google Books to see if the book needed is there and available free on their site. If it is, just download what you need. If you find a book that might contain your ancestor’s name, look in the index for the name. If it is there, and the book was printed in the last 90 years, it falls under copyright laws and only a word or sentence, sometimes a paragraph, can be displayed. Check the FHL Catalog for the book, https://familysearch.org/catalog-search. If you find it there copy the title, author, page and the call number. This is where the FHL’s free photoduplicating service can help by providing a copy of the page after you provided the name of the book, the ancestor’s name and the page number. There is more on Nathan W. Murphy’s FamilySearch blog about this at https://familysearch.org/blog/en/google-books-free-copies-pages-family-history-library-books/. If the book on Google Books was written before 1923, it is out of copyright. The image is available to you on their site so you will not need to use the free look-up service on FamilySearch.
Another resource for finding books is the free site www.Archive.org. If you find the book, it may be available in PDF format. Text versions may have OCR errors. Be sure and distinguish the free site www.Archive.org from the commercial site www.Archive.com.
You cannot ask the staff to research your ancestor, but if this is what you need, www.Genealogists.com provides this service at $25 per request and you may request their services as many times a week as you want. Their employees are family history professionals that work each day at the FHL. Their turnaround time takes about two days. Submit your requests to http://genealogists.com/FHL.
If you do want in-depth help from a professional researcher and need a guide in making this selection, one is available to you on FamilySearch at https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Hiring_a_Professional_Researcher.
By using the free look-up photo-duplicating service offered at the FHL, you no longer have to wait to search for all your To Do items until you can take a trip to SLC. Using all the resources available to all of us everywhere by making FHL searches such as Google Books, Archive.org, Archive.com, or Genealogists.com available, it is possible to stay at home and receive the information in two days to a couple of weeks. Learn more about the photoduplicating service on the FamilySearch wiki at https://familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Photoduplication_Services.
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Brenda Kellow has a bachelor's degree in history, taught, and lectured on genealogy. Before retiring to publish her family’s histories in 2007, Brenda held certification as a Certified Genealogist and as a Certified Genealogical Instructor. Send reunion announcements, books to review, and genealogy queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org.