Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Hint: Using Those Film Numbers Found in FamilySearch Citations

I'd like to thank Anonymous, a reader who left a comment on yesterday's blog post where I bemoaned the fact that the FamilySearch citation did not tell me the actual source of the transcription for a marriage.  Anonymous suggested that because the citation included a Family History Library (FHL) film number I could reserve the film and have it sent to one of the local Family History Centers to see the image.

FamilySearch has discontinued its microfilm lending program but some digitized films are available through the online FamilySearch/Family History Library catalog.

I looked at the FamilySearch citation again and found the FHL film number.  Then I headed to the FS Catalog where I typed in the film number.

This is what I found:  the record for William and Martha (Reay) Doyle's marriage came from St. Peter's Church, Wallsend, Northumberland. 

When I clicked on the highlighted "Items 1-2, Item 3..." (in above image) it took me to another screen with more information.  Scrolling down provided even more details (not shown in this screenshot).

It doesn't appear that this film has been digitized and made available online but even these details about the film give me more information that I had.

Eventually I may have thought to look at the FS/FHL catalog for the film in the citation but it wasn't my first thought.  Perhaps this is second nature to more seasoned researchers.  Is it something you regularly do?  I hope it will become common practice for me when I see a FHL film number and the FS citation seems limited.

My thanks again to Anonymous who made the suggestion.  It was very helpful.


Copyright ©2017 Nancy Messier. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Glad my comment wsa helpful yesterday.

    The film you want is digitized and available at a Family History center. On the catalog page "Parish registers of St. Peter's Church, Wallsend, 1669-1941", scroll down to see a list of items under "Film Notes". On the far right, there is a category called "Format". Clicking on the magnifying glass will take you to an index that can be searched. The camera takes you to actual images of the microfilm. The camera with a key over it means those actual images are digitized but only available at a family history library.

    There are lots of films that are digitized that are found in the catalog but not on the regular records collection list. They are adding more all the time.

    Good luck!

    1. And this comment is helpful, too. Thank you. I wish I lived close to SLC so I could go to the Family History Library.

    2. Nancy, you should be able to access it at your local Family History Library.

    3. Thank you for the tip, Shirley. I'll look into that. I would be thrilled to find access to the film images at our local FHC.


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