Friday, June 30, 2017
Archion -- The German Ecclesiastical Record Website
Part of the strategy of FamilySearch.org in discontinuing the shipment of microfilm involves a consideration of the fact that many more records are available from other large online genealogy websites. My experience is that many of the records currently in the FamilySearch.org Catalog can be found on other websites. For some time now, I have been compiling a list of Rhode Island resources that I will be reviewing for my own personal family research. Many of the microfilm records listed in the Catalog are now available, some in other formats, from other online sources. I was also very recently doing some extensive research into German language records from Bavaria. There is a long list of these records that, absent the end of microfilm shipping, I would have been ordering from Salt Lake City. Subsequent to the announcement, I began to search for other sources online. A commentator to one of my posts suggested that I look at the Archion.de/en/ website.
Archion.de is a German language website is a cooperative project of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) and the majority of the regional Protestant churches in Germany for digitizing baptisms, marriages, funerals, and confirmations. Their database currently contains more than 20 million pages of church records. However, as a contrast to FamilySearch.org, this is a pricey subscription website. A basic one-year pass to the website which includes a limit of 2000 copies is priced at 599 Euros or $684.09 U.S. dollars at the exchange rate at the time of this post.
This kind of cost illustrates the value of the FamilySearch.org website and reasonableness of the prices on many of the other online subscription websites who have many more records and a wider appeal. On the other hand, this expensive website also provides and explanation as to why FamilySearch.org has been forced to renegotiate some of the agreements it has had for years with the originators of the microfilm records. Simply put, these originators of the records now see that these records have a monetary value and are unwilling to allow FamilySearch to put them online for free.
So, if I cannot get the records from FamilySearch without traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah, there are some alternative available. However, in some cases, these alternatives may be as expensive as traveling to Salt Lake City.