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FamilySearch HQ - Free Family History Library Look Up Service

How often have we found an index record or transcript of a record at and wished we could view an image of the original? Well wishful thinking is largely at an end with the announcement today of a free Library Look Up Service at that genealogy mecca, the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City (which owns

Above: Family History Library in Salt Lake City

How does the service work?

Provided you have a free account with FamilySearch, you can lodge an online request form to seek a copy of the image of the original document.

Make no mistake, this is not a free research service. You still need to do your homework and know exactly what record you want. As you will see from the online request form, you need to provide sufficient information for the Librarians and volunteers to hone in on the right record.

Above: Information required in the online search form for a digital record.

Can I get a copy of a book from the Family History Library?

The FHL Library Look Up Service does include books. However, it is important to know that if the book has not already been digitized, there could still be copyright restrictions on the publication, and you will be restricted to an extract.

Requests for a copy of a page or pages from a book are submitted using the same online request form mentioned above. The top part of the form is for Film/Digital Folder (DGS) Requests and the second half is for Books.

Above: Information required in the online search form for a digital record.

Can I get a copy of non-English language records?

Yes. The FHL Library Lookup Service is available in 15 languages and can help you access various records from countries worldwide.

How long will it take to process my copy request? advise it will typically take a few weeks "depending on the volume of requests being handled at a given time". However, I think we can reasonably expect them to be overwhelmed with requests, at least in the early days of this service. But, hey what do you want for nothing? Being able to get an image of the original record is the main thing.

As always, genealogists and family historians owe a huge thank you to the FHL for their efforts in making their vast collection available free of charge to researchers. This new free service is an outstanding contribution to the genealogy world and one which I expect will be well used by researchers worldwide.

Happy ancestor hunting.


Your Family Genealogist

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