I have recently been asked a number of questions on how to order Familysearch.org microfilms. Therefore, I thought it would be a good topic to review here. For those unfamiliar with the Familysearch.org microfilm program, here is some background information on the program.
The website Familysearch.org is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). The LDS church has, for religious purposes, been collecting genealogical records for over a hundred years. To copy and preserve the records, as well as to make them better accessible, many records of genealogical value, especially vital records, were microfilmed. The Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City, Utah, has and makes available to all (even non-church members) the microfilms and other resources. Since not everyone has the opportunity to visit the library in Salt Lake City, the LDS church has established hundreds of family history centers throughout the world where they will send (for a fee) many of their microfilms. Most of the family history centers are located in Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints wards or stakes, however, there are exceptions, and Suffolk Cooperative Library System is one of them. The LDS films can be mailed to Suffolk Cooperative Library System, and they will send them to Suffolk County libraries, such as ours.
Before ordering a microfilm, I would highly recommend that you check to see if it has been digitized and available for viewing on the Familysearch.org website. The Latter-day Saints are constantly adding new records to this website. You can easily check this by clicking on “search – records” and looking for the list of those available for the country/region you want. If there is a camera icon next to a record title, it usually indicates the images are there. You should be able to get into it by clicking on the camera. Another method is to search the catalog for the microfilm you need. If it is available online, it will be stated in the notes with a “click here” option taking you to the digitized images.
If you do wish to order a microfilm, you must first create a FamilySearch.org account. Creating an account is free and fairly easy to do. You will find the link (“Free Account”) at the top right-hand side of the Familyseach.org website. When ordering a microfilm, you will need to be logged into your account. You will be given the option of a short-term loan or extended loan. Short-term is for 60 days with an additional 30 days given for shipping. After selecting the loan period, the item will be added to a shopping cart (much like online shopping). The cost of the microfilms in your basket will be shown and when checking out you have the option of paying by credit card or pay pal. Make sure to select the family history center (shown on the upper right side) to which you want your films sent. If you are a Connetquot District resident and want to view the films at our library, you must select Suffolk County Cooperative Library System. They will forward the films to the Connetquot Public Library. How long it takes to receive microfilms varies quite a bit, but it is usually a minimum of about two weeks. If you would like to learn more, there is an online video describing the ordering process, which can be found at https://familysearch.org/learningcenter/lesson/online-film-ordering-ordering-microfilms/697 .