|Microfilm rolls stored in cabinets at the BYU Family History Library|
Just to make sure you know what I am talking about, here are some images for reference. By the way, images of both microfilm rolls and microfiche are very uncommon on the internet. This is a roll of microfilm.
The Brigham Young University (BYU) Family History Library has more than 300,000 rolls of microfilm. It also has an uncounted number of microfiche for research. These resources are stored in large, specialized filing cabinets in the main area of the BYU Family History Library on the 2nd level of the Harold B. Lee Library on the Brigham Young University campus (Lee Library).
Both of these extensive collections of microforms are cataloged mainly by film number. So, interestingly, this huge collection of microforms (both microfilm and microfiche) are searchable and stored on the shelves only by a unique number. So how in the world do you find anything? That is a very good question.
So even though you are doing research in the BYU Family History Libary, it is still necessary to refer to the FamilySearch.org Catalog. However, not all of the microfilm in the BYU Family History Library is in the FamilySearch.org Catalog. Where do you begin?
First, I suggest searching in the FamilySearch.org Catalog. For example, here is a screenshot of a search for Huntingdonshire Church records in the Catalog.
This item is on six microfiches in the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Does BYU have this item? You can see if the item is cross-referenced to the BYU Library from a pull-down menu. This item does not have such a menu and so you should then search in the Lee Library Catalog. Copy the title of the item and use the title as your search term in the Lee Library catalog.
It does not appear that the item is in the BYU Family History Library. Here is another example also from Huntingdonshire.
In this example, there is a pull-down menu and the item is in both the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah and a few other Family History Centers around the world, including the BYU Family History Library. I should also note that the little magnifying glass indicates that there is an index of the contents of this microfilm online.
In some cases, it is necessary to physically visit the Library to determine if the items you are seeking are available. Now, to carry the example on further, you should search for Ramsey Marriages in the BYU Lee Library Catalog. Now, I did not find anything with that title, but what I did find was a collection of records about one of my ancestors who happens to be the one I am researching in Ramsey, Huntingdonshire, England.
This is an excellent example of why you keep searching in any library's collections. I did not know this item was in the BYU Special Collections Library but I found it by cross-searching in both catalogs. Also, it is a good idea to extend the search further in WorldCat.org and on Google. You might just find another format or item that has the same information.
The previous posts in this series.