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Monday, 30 May 2016

FamilySearch restricts access to image-only collections

Some bad news this morning. You'll remember that I highlighted a few weeks ago (see blogpost) that Griffith's Valuation Surveyors' Books – the same House, Tenure, Field and Quarto Books we've been waiting to appear on the National Archives of Ireland's Genealogy website – were available as a free image-only collection on FamilySearch.

Fellow blogger and ProGenealogist Joe Buggy followed up on his Townland of Origin blog about other Irish collections held in a similar format by FamilySearch, notably Tuam Will Books (1858–1901) and the Irish Reproductive Loan Records (1804–1886).

I attempted to get some response from FamilySearch about these image-only records, hoping to receive a list of collections now online in this format. I heard nothing and was about to follow up when I received notification from two separate sources over the weekend that the Valuation Books are no longer accessible online and can be viewed only at LDS Family History Centers. The same is true of the Irish Reproductive Loan Funds collection.

As of this morning, the Tuam Will Books are still available for browsing, but I'd expect that access to be 'switched off' fairly soon, too, so get in there quickly if these records hold potential for your ancestral research.

This is a very disappointing step by FamilySearch.

UPDATE 31 May 2016: These Valuation Books are destined not only for the National Archives of Ireland's Genealogy website but also for FindMyPast's database. On both websites they will be free to access. The National Archives of Ireland has confirmed to me this afternoon that it did not request FamilySearch to remove public access to these records.

UPDATE 6 June 2016: See statement from FamilySearch explaining its reason for withdrawing (temporarily) access to these images.