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Journey # 27: Micro-films = Macro-frustration (so far)

To date I’ve ordered seven microfilms from Salt Lake City. They are ordered online from LDS’s Family Search website, cost about $8 each (which covers shipping) and arrive at my local Family History Centre within a few weeks. 

I’d been told by other researchers that often the films have never been indexed so is not online at all or there is more information on the film than what has been indexed. Sometimes this information can lead to a breakthrough. So after nearly a year of researching, I decided to take a chance on microfilm — even though the idea of using a microfilm reader brought back nightmares of pre-Internet research.

So I went through my records and found that I had one government birth record but no baptism record online — yet there was a film for the parish records of the correct time period. For others, the online baptism records had only basic information and no document images. I had noticed that parish records that had an image attached, in most cases the image had information that hadn’t been transcribed. Sometimes it was an occupation or an address, but sometimes it was an important name. So I decided to take a chance and start ordering films. 

Following are the results of the films I've viewed so far:
  1. The first film had not been transcribed and the records were not online. I had a civil birth records and assumed there was a corresponding baptism record. found the baptism records I was looking for and it provided a residential location (townland in Ireland) and the names of birth sponsors, like God parents. The location has added to my search criteria but has not actually led to an definitive information. I also checked the film for other family members, and while I found a few records for people with the same name, there was no way to connect them.
  2. On the second film there was no more information than what was in the transcribed online record.
  3. The third film had a residential location that turned out to be a large neighbourhood rather than an actual street, so not super helpful.
  4. The fourth film had no more information than what was in the transcribed online record.
  5. On the fifth film there was an occupation for the father in a baptism record.
  6. The sixth film had no more information that what was in the transcribed record online, and that was for multiple ancestors.

The machine readers at my local Family History Centre can't print at the moment, so the only way to get a copy of what is on a film is to take a photograph of it or write the information down. The first time I discovered this, luckily I had my iPhone, but there were others there with no smart phones or cameras. One time I took photos for another researcher and emailed them to her. I understand that the machines in Salt Lake City can not only print, but have other features including zoom. That would certainly be helpful, if only I could found valuable information to zoom in on. 


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