In Bryce Roper's presentation this morning at the St. George Family History Expo he talked about Family Search's Record Search.
Record Search is a site with digitized and indexed records from the Granite Mountain Vault just outside of Salt Lake City. The Granite Mountain Vault has one of the largest collections of microfilm and microfiche in the world. Collections include information from all over the world. Record Search gives access to these digitized and indexed records.
If you have used Record Search, you probably have found that there are some records that only have the index, some have index and images, and others only have the images.
You may have noticed that sometimes there is a link taking you to a different website such as Footnote or FindMyPast to view the image instead of viewing it on the Record Search site. The reason some things are not available on Record Search, but rather an affiliate site it because Footnote may have digitized the image, while FamilySearch did the indexing. Instead of both of them doing the exact same work twice, they have joined together in things like this to create indexes and digitizations for quicker access.
When I first saw links to other websites like this I was pretty surprised. As most of us know, FamilySearch is an organization part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and so they don't charge for their records for profit like companies like Footnote and Ancestry.com do.
Last month at the Mesa Family History Expo Bryce mentioned the fact that "one day" these images and documents that are linked from Record Search to Footnote and other affiliate sites would be free for "FamilySearch Members". This information got me pretty excited, and I'm sure the same thought was going through everyone else's head at the same time - What exactly is considered a "FamilySearch Member"?
According to Bryce, they are still working on the "exact" definition of a "FamilySearch Member", but he did tell us the general definition. To be a "FamilySearch Member" you must fall under at least one of the categories below:
- A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
- Anyone who uses Record Search at a Family History Center
- Anyone who uses Record Search at the Family History Library
- Anyone who has registered to be a FamilySearch Indexer and meet certain requirements(I think this is where Bryce was talking about the fine tuning as to the definition of a "FamilySearch Member". Indexers have to index a certain amount or be an indexer for a certain period of time. The amount and time has not been specifically defined yet)
Back in Mesa, Bryce said that this will happen within the next few months, but didn't give a date. When I attended his class this morning I wanted to ask him if there was an update to when this is going to be available. According to Bryce as of this morning, they are hoping they will have this access available by the end of April in their "new release". He didn't mention really what all was included in that release, but after he mentioned that I thought that NGS is at the end of April as well, so I am thinking that this "new release" including the access to these records will be announced there at NGS.
Bryce did say that this is not a definite date, but it makes sense that they would be announcing it at NGS. Hopefully we will hear a little more about his before that time.