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How can I request a record be digitized? (many are still film only)

Hi,
I'd like to request that a certain record that is currently only available on film be added to your list for digitization. Can you tell me how I can request records be digitized?
Thanks!
https://familysearch.org/search/catal...
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  • 1
    Tis gets requested quite often.

    Requests of this nature in this forum raises the awareness about specific records and pushes them up the list of films to be digitized, if they have not already been digitized.

    However...

    Access is controlled by the owner of the records through the agreement reached between FamilySearch and the owners of the originals.

    We do know that there are teams working on the agreements if they did not automatically include unlimited digital internet access.
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  • Tom

    You say, "Requests of this nature in this forum raises the awareness about specific records and pushes them up the list of films to be digitized." Unless you have evidence of this I would not be so sure. In the past, my response from FamilySearch about giving priority to something specific (admittedly relating to another issue) has been that it has its planned work already scheduled for the next 2 to 3 years, so is unable to meet such requests.

    As you know, it is impossible to get estimated times, or other specific detail, regarding its programmes from FamilySearch, so I would think it highly unlikely that we could ever know if such a request had been heeded.

    However, as the expression goes, "there's no harm in trying", so I would not wish to stop gabe snyder in following your advice.
    • There has been at least one of these discussions that I remember where an employee said that just bringing the film to their attention raises the awareness level and can shove the film up the list to be digitized.

      It isn't so much as giving a film priority over others, but more a matter of, "Oh, someone needs to be able to see this film."

      That may not provide the desired results, but at least, the level of awareness has been raised. At the present time, the priority is on those films most often requested.

      In my mind, the bigger problem is that there seems to be no plan in place to help take care of the need to view films while the collection is being digitized. And, as you said, Paul, we are not getting any kind of estimated times/details regarding the actual order or when any given film would be digitized.
    • What about the records from the Turks & Caicos Islands?
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  • Gabe,

    The film you are requesting has been cleared for digitization and is in the queue. I don't have a count of the number of films ahead of it, so I have no idea how many months (years?) you'll have to wait. If you have my luck, there will be 2.399 million rolls ahead of it and it won't be digitized until 2020. But you can take some solace in knowing that it can be digitized and it will be available much sooner than if it were being queued up today.

    Robert
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  • 1
    It would help some of us feel better if there were some sort of "digitometer", prominently displayed in a place where we could easily find it, such as the "search records" page, showing the progress of the digitization project. As a matter of interest, can anyone supply the number of films already processed, as well as the total number of microfilms that exist, as of August, 2017?
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  • 1
    It would be "a first" if FamilySearch did decide to share information of this nature with their patrons!
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  • I’m Frustrated! on this issue.
    1
    Well in that case How do we bring Films to their attention. their is a few I would like to do that to!
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  • S.,

    Official statement: FamilySearch is first scanning the microfilms that historically have been most requested and is considering how to prioritize individual patron requests.

    My opinion: It doesn't hurt to mention films here, but until a process is established, it might have no effect.

    ---Robert
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  • Thank you, Robert, for verifying someone, in FS, is paying attention - and there is an official statement. But many will wonder the source and how to get more.
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  • I’m Concerned
    The films I am looking for is in Italy 1880-1900
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  • **Digitization request**

    Robert Raymond:

    The Cochecho Massacre of 1689 is an important even in U.S. history. The genealogies of the Quaker victims (slain and taken captive), in printed works, have been turned into a farce by at least one (French Canadian) author.

    The Dover Public Library has informed me that they have "Dover Friends minutes which are supposed to include births from 1678-1949" on microfilm. As a French Canadian, I am mostly interested in the earliest reels (up to about 1715), but if an agreement can be negotiated, you probably would want to digitize the whole thing, for the sake of genealogists, as well as historians. :-)

    Marie-Pierre Lessard
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  • Marie, thanks for the suggestion.

    Are you suggesting digitization of an existing FamilySearch microfilm? If so, follow the process explained here: https://www.familysearch.org/ask/sale... Contact FamilySearch with your request using one of the methods on this page: https://www.familysearch.org/ask/help

    Are you suggesting digitization of microfilm belonging to another library? If so, we cannot help you. Ask the intellectual property owner of that microfilm.

    Are you suggesting digitization of original records, not already on microfilm? If so, I can give you guidance on how to request digitization of those records.

    ---Robert
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  • When I did a search in your collections and in the Catalog, I didn't see it, so I don't think that you have those minutes, no...

    >>Are you suggesting digitization of microfilm belonging to another library?
    It's in the Dover Public Library, yes. However, I don't know who the intellectual property owner is...

    >>Are you suggesting digitization of original records, not already on microfilm? If so, I can give you guidance on how to request digitization of those records.

    OK! I would have to ask where the original records are, but please do tell me how to make such a request!
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  • Oh, Robert!
    Can you also tell me if I can submit the resulting digitized content to your collections or catalog? If I can get permission from the intellectual property owner, of course...

    If I am going to pay a lot of money to get something like that done from abroad, it might as well be useable by others in the future. :-/ (If I lived in the U.S., I wouldn't have to consider this option. Interlibrary loans do exit. I am in Europe.)

    Marie
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  • FamilySearch is interested in requests for specific, known record collections of great genealogical value. If you don't know if the records exist, or you don't know where they are, please find them before requesting them. We do not have the resources necessary to investigate general requests such as "birth records for Washington County."

    To allow us to evaluate an opportunity for digitization of original records, provide this information to begin the process:

    - Name and address of the repository
    - Name of the record custodian
    - Title of the collection
    - Collection identification number
    - Geographic coverage of the collection
    - Date coverage
    - Size of the collection (typically, linear inches)
    - Record type and description

    FamilySearch focuses on genealogically-rich materials like church, civil, and census records. Especially valuable are register-type records like censuses that give names and vital facts and relationships for dozens of people on a single page. A single page of church records might document a half-dozen vital events with facts and relationships of perhaps as many as six relatives. A single civil record might document one or more events and mention several relatives; for example, a death record may document, birth, death, and burial and specify names of parents and informant.

    Other record types are considered on a case-by-case basis. We consider these and other factors:
    - What is the number of unique names, dates, places, and relationships per page?
    - Are those named in the records already named in FamilySearch Family Tree or our existing historical records?
    - Can those names, dates, and places be acquired more efficiently using other records?
    - Does FamilySearch have a camera and a camera operator available near the location of the repository?
    - Is that camera needed for higher priority projects?
    - Are the records at risk of destruction?
    - Will the repository give us permission to publish the records for free for anyone to access?
    - Do the laws allow the records to be published?

    If you or anyone else knows of a record collection that you think we would want, let me know.

    --- Robert
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    • Hi, Robert Here is a set of records I would love to see digitized. Here is the information:

      Repository: New York Public Library
      Title: Notes for a history of Washington County, NY; manuscript
      Location: SASB Manuscripts & Archives Rm 328
      Call No. MssCol NYGB 18065
      Coverage Washington County, New York
      Dates covered ca 1845-
      Description .4 linear foot 8 vol. 1 box
      Source MSS 2008M27

      This is a link to the manuscripts https://catalog.nypl.org/search~S1?/a...

      My Notes: These manuscripts have been indexed in The Fitch Gazetteer: An Annotated index to the manuscript History of Washington County, New York in 4 volumes by Kenneth Perry. Also, NYBG did microfilm of 7 volumes of the manuscripts. During the microfilming, a number of pages were missed.

      Thanks,
      Ann Gilchrest
    • Ann,

      Thanks for your request. It is a good example of the level of detail we need. I have passed it on to the New York strategist for consideration. I cannot comment on acquiring particular records. We have learned from the past that it sets unrealistic expectations, some that are never met.

      On a related note, everyone may be interested to know that our cameras generally travel to the records, rather than bringing the records to the camera. The camera apparatus is rather large and involved. The camera operator must uproot their lives and find new places to live. We often wait for some time before visiting a place, accumulating a list of records to be acquired there. We may never see a sufficient volume at a place to justify moving the camera there. Contract negotiations may or may never be successful. It is a complicated and lengthy process. We are experimenting with new equipment and new processes that may speed this up, but it may be at the expense of quality. These experiments are ongoing.

      ---Robert
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  • >> If you don't know if the records exist, or you don't know where they are, (...)

    This is probably a form answer, but just for the record, I do know where they are. It's a set of specific reels of microfilm at the Dover Public Library, which I specificalled named above. I didn't ask about the location and the ownership of the original records, though!

    OK, that's a great set of criteria. I can ask those questions.

    Thank you so much, Robert!
    ---
    One last question, if I can bother you: "Dover Friends minutes which are supposed to include births from 1678-1949". This must correspond to many different reels. I expect to find original information that I haven't been able to find elsewhere in the first few decades, and I could look at a few local inhabitants trees to see when they tend to hit walls and engage in massive speculation, but it's too complex for me to figure out if the later years (e.g. 1850 to 1900, or 1900 to 1949) have such original content. I don't know the U.S. records well enough to determine something like that.

    If the original owner is willing, would would want to do the whole set of reels once you get started? Or would you prefer to keep it small and stick to early American history? I am thinking that getting permission in itself is such a milestone that it might merit getting it all done in one go, but you know what works best.
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    • This comment was removed on 2018-09-14.
      see the change log
    • While my situation is not regarding Friends' minutes, it is similar. I am trying to locate the original Presbyterian Church records for a Church that was merged into another congregation. I contacted the historical society that would normally have those records, but they reported that they did not have them. They did, however, given me a name and address of where the records might exist. Something like that may involved some of the volumes of the Friends' minutes.
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  • The questions about records of the Society of Friends, the Presbyterian Church, and more often that you might think, Washington County, New York, are perennial favorites, going back at least 50 years to the days when I was just beginning in genealogy.

    They are hard questions, because the records themselves were inconsistently kept and were not created in a way that encouraged centralization or accountability.

    It has also been noted, that whatever the Presbyterians were doing in the early days, for the most part, they weren't writing it down. And for Washington Co., NY, it is the familiar story of the "county historians", or even the "town historians", whose records may still be in someone's barn. I'm not making that up, I had correspondence involving that situation only a couple years ago.

    The institutional response always emphasizes the ultimate goals of record preservation and perfect digitization and indexing. However, in real life, achieving these goals for some collections has been elusive. There are just too many complications involving logistics, disparate requirements, wishes, or goals of diverse institutions or stake-holders.

    I say, put down your stakes ! -- and see what you can do on a less grand scale! For example, it is now entirely feasible for a dedicated amateur armed with nothing more than a little digital camera to produce perfectly legible photographs of whole volumes of medieval records, in just a few days, and without special lighting or other apparatus. The results will almost certainly be better than the old microfilms! I know this because one of my distant cousins has been doing this for years, in various archives in Europe. It is also perfectly possible for an amateur to abstract records of this sort and make indexes available -- not perfection, but a feasible way to make the records accessible.

    I'm waiting for the arrival of a new generation of archivists who have grown up with the internet and who believe that any information worth having should be on the internet. Also needed, it turns out, is a new generation of bureaucrats and bean-counters who share this idea. I hope I live long enough to meet them!
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