Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Restricted Documents on FamilySearch Stopping Research


Every one of the image collections in this list is restricted from viewing outside of a Family History Center. In fact, this screenshot was made using a computer in the Brigham Young University Family History Center but I was not signed into FamilySearch so the collections are still restricted. If I click on one of the camera icons, If I try to open the individual collections, I will automatically be taken to a sign-in page and after signing in, I can see the images. 

If I cannot travel to a Family History Center, I am out of luck. I am finding that nearly all the records on FamilySearch from Latin America, Spain, and Italy are restricted. For the past few months I have been acting as a consultant online with FamilySearch patrons on Zoom from the Spanish speaking countries of  Latin America including South America, Central America, Mexico and Spain (with a few Brazilians included). Most of these patrons are also looking for Italian records which are also restricted. Because of the pandemic, their number one issue is that the documents they need to do their family history research are restricted. However, most of the patrons live in the larger cities and there are often multiple Family History Centers in their area. 

I understand why some of the records are restricted, but I don't understand why nearly all the records are restricted. The records on FamilySearch are usually restricted due to restrictions imposed by the original archive or repository where the records were digitized. The reality of records is that many  governmental agencies make money by producing copies of the records in their collections. Some records can also be restricted due to privacy issues or cultural and religious restrictions. Many of the records on the website were microfilmed long before computers and the internet existed and the original agreements have to be renegotiated. However, this does not explain why almost all the records in countries such as Italy and Uruguay are restricted. 

Fortunately, I live close to and volunteer in the Brigham Young University Family History Library and nearly all the records are available on their computers. For those who are frustrated about the delay in opening Family History Centers, I suggest calling the centers directly to see if someone can open the center for a limited purpose of searching for records. 

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