Sunday, July 2, 2017

Goodbye, FHL Microfilm Rental!


So another technology bites the dust...

If you haven't seen the latest news about renting microfilm for use at local Family History Libraries, then you need to check out this link NOW.

I don't rent as much as I used to because the records for the areas where I do the most research are online at FamilySearch or it just never will be and I've had to rely on methods other than microfilm.  My last film request was in March and I've been going through my pending projects  to see if there's any films I'll need soon. Of course, I can't predict the need of the next Client.  Genealogy Murphy's Law will result in a new Client meeting on September 1st for a microfilm need that I wouldn't be able to obtain.

My advice if you're planning to rent is don't delay - you've only got 2 months left and  most likely will be a flurry of activity on the shipping side.  After you get the email from Salt Lake that your films have shipped, make a note to call your local library a few days later to verify the films have been received.

A colleague has concerns that not everything will be available online due to legal agreements previously made with the record holders.  That means, waiting patiently until 2020 will still not allow you to view the films online.  In those cases, you'll have to either travel to Salt Lake or hire someone local to do a look up for you because those films will not be shipped locally any longer.  If your research is extensive and you're on a budget, it would probably be best for you to do the research in person.  My favorite time to go is late winter into early spring as it's not so busy.  I'm thinking I may skip the NGS Conference next year and travel to Salt Lake instead.

If you can't make a trip and need to hire someone, I'd highly recommend asking your local genealogical society for referrals.  If they haven't used anyone, then check out the Association of Professional Genealogist's site.  APG members sign an ethics agreement and in the unlikely event your have a problem, you can reach out to APG for assistance.

I have such mixed emotions about the end of microfilm.  I'm not sure what my attachment is; I sure didn't shed a tear when the world moved from Beta, 8 tracks, my Garmond GPS, or hardwired phones.  Maybe it's because I have so many memories of so many places and so many finds that make me a tad sad about the demise.  Perhaps it's becoming one with the record in a dimly lit room and the comforting whirring sound of the machine as I rewind it speedily.  I'll miss sharing in a happy dance when the stranger sitting next to me makes a phenomenal find.

Of course, there's so many reasons why this move is a good thing.  It's just, well, like the old song says, "Breaking up is hard to do..."  RIP Microfilm Distribution.  1859* - 31 Aug 2017.

*Based on the first patent issued to Rene Dagron


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