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Legal rights to use images found on Historical Records for personal use
Instructions for Area Support

The resolution below is from a statement given by Merlyn Doney of the Church legal department in July 2010.


If there are additional questions, you can direct the Patron to:


FamilySearch, International
Legal Services - Rights
50 E North Temple St, Rm 545
Salt Lake City, Utah 84150-0005
Phone: 1-800-453-3860 ext 24612


Symptoms (Problems)
- A society wants to link an Internet site to images found in Historical Records.
- An individual would like to use images or information found on Historical Records in a publication or on a website.

Answer (Resolution)

Nearly all of the records within the collections provided by FamilySearch International are governed by contracts between the original record custodian and FamilySearch.


For most contracts, FamilySearch merely acquires rights for you to use the records for incidental, personal, noncommercial genealogical research purposes. This includes the right to extract factual data relating to your direct family line and then reformatting that data to add to your personal family tree, which you may then use as desired.

However, publication or distribution of the actual record images or documents (including via print or the web) and wholesale indexing, transcribing, or translating of the records (even when these activities are for nonprofit purposes) are prohibited under the contracts. Therefore, you must acquire written permission from the custodian of the original records before publishing an image of a record or document. Once this is accomplished, you may proceed as the record custodian directs. FamilySearch will have no further objections.

You may be able to ascertain who the custodian is by clicking on Learn More and reading the corresponding wiki article.

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