Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Family History Center Microfilm Ordering Goes Online in Michigan

As a licensed microfilm loan site of the Family History Center (FHC), the Local History department has been awaiting the news that Michigan has been added to the list of states that allows patrons to order their own microfilm online using FamilySearch's Microfilm Ordering service.  The good news came this week.

This means that those of you that have been or are thinking of ordering microfilm on loan into your local Family History Center in Michigan may place the order yourself using a credit card or PayPal. 

Why will the microfilm loan program remain an important part of genealogical research?
  1.  A common misconception about the FHC is that "all of the microfilm is either already online or will be soon."  Due to issues such as copyright, permissions & restrictions, a fair percentage of  the multimillion reel collection won't see the light of internet any time soon, if ever.  In some cases, transcripts of the records have been done, but the images will not follow. 
  2. You've heard me reference the "browse factor" before.  Using the search & locate system of online databases robs us of the ability to browse through records seeking those people whose names may be misspelled or who we may find by accident, what I call "incidentals."
 The negative part of the online ordering system is that it is now the only act in town.  Patrons will no longer be able to order & pay for their microfilm any other way that through the internet.  Some are unwilling or uneasy about using online payment sites.  We're told, however, that there is no work around for this.

The process for online order requires the following steps:
  1. Create an account (click on Create New Account button)
  2. Enter required personal information including an e-mail address, create a login & security key
  3. Confirm your account by checking for the link in your e-mail
  4. Create an Order
    1. Select loan type (short or extended term)
    2. Search for and enter a microfilm number
    3. Add item(s) to cart
    4. When finished go to Checkout where you may review/revise your order
  5. Enter billing & payment information
  6. Read the Microfilm Agreement information and click Accept
  7. Complete your order & print out a copy for your records
Account holders are notified by e-mail at every step of the loan process, or you may track the progress in your account:
  1. When the order is placed
  2. Status of the order, whether pending, processed or backordered
  3. When it is shipped
  4. When the film arrives at your local family history center
  5. When the film has been returned to Salt Lake City
Lastly, for those centers that hold microfilm on Indefinite Loan such as the Van Buren District Library,  we will be able to upload a listing of our inventory by film number so that anyone using the FHC catalog may see that we have that film currently in our collection by selecting Show Locations.

Other states have also gone live with the Online Film Ordering service, so visit the website to learn more.  Patrons with questions regarding microfilm loan to the Van Buren District Library may contact us for pricing and details.

Nameless Picture of the Day
 unknown man
Photographer - Frank P. Ford, Kalamazoo

Can you identify the man in this photo?  Are you familiar with the photographer's name?  Please contact us if you any information and we will publish it in a future blog.  Please include the photo's catalog number with your e-mail.