FamilySearch issued a news release on June 25th that was a good news-bad news story. The news was not unexpected, it was only a matter of time. The end of microfilm has been predicted for years. Microfilm and microfiche has become harder and harder to purchase. Most of the manufacturers have stopped producing microfilm and microfiche so the companies and non-profits that release information on film have been forced to abandon the media.
The bad news is FamilySearch will discontinue its microfilm distribution services September 1, 2017. The last day to order microfilm will be on August 31. The change is the result of significant progress made in FamilySearch’s microfilm digitization efforts and the obsolescence of microfilm technology.
- Online access to digital images of records allows FamilySearch to reach many more people, faster and more efficiently.
- FamilySearch is a global leader in historic records preservation and access, with billions of the world’s genealogical records in its collections.
- Over 1.5 million microfilms (ca. 1.5 billion images) have been digitized by FamilySearch, including the most requested collections based on microfilm loan records worldwide.
- The remaining microfilms should be digitized by the end of 2020, and all new records from its ongoing global efforts are already using digital camera equipment.
- Family history centers will continue to provide access to relevant technology, premium subscription services, and digital records, including restricted content not available at home.
The good news is FamilySearch plans to digitize all of its microfilms by the end of 2020. But that requires patience, and genealogists are not the most patient.
To date, more than 1.5 million microfilms have been digitized by FamilySearch. The remaining microfilms should be digitized by the end of 2020, and all new records from its ongoing global efforts are already using digital camera equipment.
Family history centres will continue to provide access to relevant technology, premium subscription services, and digital records, including restricted content not available at home.
According to FamilySearch’s news release: “When approved by priesthood leaders, centers may continue to maintain microfilm collections already on loan from FamilySearch after microfilm ordering ends. Centers have the option to return microfilm that is available online or otherwise not needed. As more images are published online, centers may reevaluate whether to retain microfilm holdings.”