Any advice on how to get access to Familysearch records only viewable in the Utah Library?

+9 votes
I have hit a roadblock with my polish ancestors. All the records I need from the towns of my family’s origins have been digitized by familysearch. However they are all under “restricted access” and only viewable at the FHL in Utah. I do not live anywhere near Utah. Since familysearch does not send microfilm copies anymore I cannot get a physical copy of the records shipped to me either. Is there any way that one can get access to these records without flying to Utah?
in Genealogy Help by Anonymous Przybylek G2G2 (2.4k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith
If your local Seventh Day Adventist church has a research room, they may be able to help you.  Once I wished to view a film, and the local center, got it from Utah for a very reasonable fee (was $8, I think) They kept it for a month and I was able to go and use it several times, making copies of what I needed.
FamilySearch is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, popularly known as Mormons, not the Seventh Day Adventists.

The "research room" you refer to are Family History Centers. Their microfilm ordering service stopped in 2017 and records are now only available digitally.
Thank you for the correction - it has been many years, since I sought their research help, and the memory retrieval did indeed flub up my attempt to recall the formal name to the Mormons. . Sometimes my mouth and fingers work independent of the brain.
Some of the records are kept in a nearby mountain vault.  If you are at the Salt Lake library they can have it moved to the library for the time you are using it,

3 Answers

+6 votes

I use FamilySearch regularly and encounter restricted records all the time. These restrictions are due to agreements between FamilySearch and the archive who owns the records. 

I don't believe there are any digitized records on FamilySearch restricted to the FHL only. Records can only be seen at the FHL if they're still on microfilm. What I think is actually happening is that the records are restricted to a Family History Center (FHC). 

It would be helpful if you gave more precise details about what you want to view. In particular, what is the film number of the records?

Here is a map showing the locations of FHCs and "Affiliate Libraries".

The map doesn't clearly distinguish between the two and has a lot of out of date data, so ring ahead before visiting a FHC. 

Finally, restrictions are usually for profit motives. The records are probably available somewhere else for a fee, maybe on a website like or in person at the archive. So if you can't get them on FS, there should be at least one alternative. 

by Abm van Helsdingen G2G6 Mach 4 (45.3k points)

Hi. Thanks for the response.

For the main one I want to view, it says that it’s only available on microfilm at the family history library. However it has a DGS number which means the record has been digitized as well, but for some reason is not available digitally. The film number I want to view is 2007214

Also it’s worth mentioning that the repository is the diocese of tarnow archives. However i haven’t been able to find a way to order the records from there.
If a film has a DGS number, it does mean it has been digitized. However they are many other films like this on FamilySearch where the film has been digitized but is microfilm only. This means either there are records subject to privacy restrictions or the record custodian has refused consent for the digitized record to be made available online. So for all intents and purposes this is a microfilm only record. FS has digitized these records so that they can be put online quicker either when the privacy limits lapse or consent is granted.

Even if just one record cannot be displayed, the entire film must be microfilm only, e.g. a film with records from 1500-1920 might be unpublishable due to some 99 year old records.

I noticed that there is a mix of microfilm-only and digitized records from the parishes in this area. That suggests that each parish has control over their own records. Film 2007214 has records (Items 1-19) from a number of parishes. If just one parish objects to their digitized records going online, the whole lot is microfilm only.

FamilySearch has said they're looking into dividing films like this into seperate parts so that different restrictions can be applied to each part. This could be a number of years away.
So there is no way to obtain a physical copy then, unless I buy a plane ticket to Utah or travel to Poland and view the records there? I find that hard to believe. I can't buy a copy of the records from them for a fee? Do you know of any services I could use to maybe get a transcription of the record I need from someone who has access to this library?
There are people who live in Salt Lake City who you can pay to get images at FHL and send them to you. If you can give them the microfilm number and enough info that they can find the image in, say, 15 minutes, then I think you can find someone who will charge a reasonable fee.
It's possible there's been a mistake with applying the record restrictions. You could try contacting  FS Support as Kerry has suggested and asking for the film to be digitized.

But if the record custodian(s) have genuinely not given consent for digitization, then the only way for the records to go online (and then probably restricted to FHCs and Affiliate Libraries only) is for all the parishes of the 19 items of the film to give consent. You could try asking them and/or the diocesian archive for such consent, and that they communicate this to FS.

Otherwise Barry's suggestion of getting someone in Salt Lake City to do the research for you is probably the best option.
+4 votes
Some of the restricted records just have to be viewed from an affiliate of the Family History Center library; either at the library in Salt Lake City, one of the local Family History Center libraries AND a public library that is an affiliate. For instance, the Dallas Public Library is an affiliate so most of those restricted  records can be viewed there.

Check with your public libraries to see if any of them are affiliates. Even if you have to drive an hour or two to get access to valuable information, it would be worth the trip.
by Virginia Fields G2G6 Pilot (510k points)

Hi thanks for the response. I should have been a little more clear. The site says it’s only available on microfilm at the FHL in Utah, but it also has a dgs number so I think it has also been digitized. But I’m not sure why it’s only available for viewing via microfilm if they’ve digitized it already. The film number is 2007214 if you want to take a look.

+2 votes
Hi! Are you still needing film #2007214? I can get it for you. I can't tell you how, but I can definitely get it.
by Andrew Gillim G2G Crew (920 points)
Hi! Would you be able to help me getting the following film?

Thank you.

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