Out of their love of ancestry, free Family History Centers have been set up around the world by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS). These centres are of incredible value, and professional genealogists use them extensively, mainly to order precious microfilm that holds a wealth of genealogical data. In this article we’ll reveal our ancestry free secret number three – how to order and use microfilm in researching your ancestry, and it’s free!
Mention the word microfilm and people immediately think of spies and espionage, but there need be no mystery associated with this valuable genealogical resource. More so, after debunking the myth of microfilm, you should have no excuses not to use this effective tool. Unlike the majority of libraries, Family History Centers allow you access to the microfilmed copies of original documents. These are of immense value in searching your ancestry for free, and include BDM (Birth, Death, and Marriage) certificates, Probates, Wills, Tax Records and much more. Free family tree resources such as this are often overlooked by beginning genealogists, but professionals know their true value.Try Ancestry.com and get 14 Days FREE!
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If you haven’t visited a Family History center, you’re missing out on an awesome genealogical experience. Every genealogist, especially anyone who wants to search their ancestry free, should make it a point to visit a center at least once. Many people are timid to go to a family History Center because they are located in the Mormon churches, that’s quite common but it needn’t be a barrier to searching your ancestry. Free yourself from the thoughts of being converted or not allowed entry because you’re not a member. The LDS is very open to outsiders and is exceptionally accommodating to genealogists and those looking to search their ancestry for free. In fact, the church members who man the Family History Centers are instructed not to proselytize while they are there.
There are nearly three million rolls of microfilm held at the main LDS Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and these records are made available to all Family History Centers around the world. These centers are genealogical hubs of various sizes where you can order copies of the original records held in Salt Lake. To order microfilm, you first need to find out where it’s located. You can do this very easily by searching the online catalogue at FamilySearch.org. On the right side of the page you’ll notice a menu with selections for Film/Fiche. Clicking on that option will take you to a search engine in which you simply type a date for the record you seek. This will return every record at every location where documents from that period are held. You then need to order that particular roll of film, so write down the location and catalogue number displayed.
The process for ordering the microfilm that will help you in your ancestor search is quite simple. Once you’ve located the center closest to where you live, you need to go there in person and fill in an order form. Believe me; the effort is well worth it! Remember, these are copies of original records, and will absolutely help to authenticate your family history. The order form is quite small, and you merely need to fill in the catalogue number of the film, where it’s held and what it contains i.e. Tax Records, BDM Certificate etc. Fill in your name and address and you’re done. The center will contact you by your preferred contact method and once it arrives you have access to that film for about five weeks. If you find that you need more time with the film, you can renew it and keep it for an additional five weeks. Renew it a further time, and you can have access until you’re finished with it.
FREE ANCESTRY RECORDS: Little known ways to search your ancestry for free.
Microfilm can be a valuable asset in searching your ancestry. Free family tree resources can yield much information, but others like the microfilm held in the Family History Centers are well worth paying the small fee to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of your family history.
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