If you were like me and initially stunned and short of breath upon hearing that FamilySearch was ending microfilm rental on August 31st, take heart! Yes, rental is ending, but it is being replaced with something far better – DIGITAL RECORDS! Best of all many of these records, including those found in my itty bitty, small Maine towns, are online NOW!
Yes, I spent the bulk of last evening perusing the card catalog at FamilySearch, which is where you will find these new records located.
FamilySearch announced they are uploading browsable, digital versions of microfilmed records at the speed of about 1,500 per day, starting with films that have been requested for rental within the last five years. In the last two weeks, they’ve uploaded the microfilms for several of the small Maine towns I’m researching, as well as several for Ipswich, Massachusetts, another area where I’ve been focusing my efforts. Those for most of the Maine towns are available to view at home, but unfortunately Ipswich’s records do require I go to the Family History Center or an affiliate library to view. That’s okay – at least I can see them TODAY!
Here’s a list of the Maine vital records online for the towns I’ve been working on, and a link to their collections on FamilySearch:
- Hallowell, Kennebec County, VR
- Readfield, Kennebec County, VR
- Winthrop, Kennebec County, VR (1720-1821)
- Winthrop, Kennebec County, VR (1720-1867)
I’m sure if you check for your areas of interest, they are likely online as well, or will be shortly. (I’m still waiting for Manchester, Kennebec County, Maine.) Of course, these digital images are not indexed, but hey – neither were the microfilm! Now I can leisurely go through these records and carefully view each page to make sure there aren’t people or key pieces of information I’d missed while trying to get through the rolls at the Family History Center previously. Another huge bonus is now I will have much better images to save to my database, and they are far superior to what I’d snapped with my camera off the microfilm reader!
Below is the copy I’d photographed from the microfilm reader:
Yup, this gal is a happy camper! Thank you FamilySearch!