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Access to Records video at (free records and paid sites)
Instructions for Area Support

When patrons are unable to view restricted images at a FamilySearch Center for which the rights DO exist, please follow these steps to resolution.
1.  Historical Records will check the viewing rights - leave a note confirming that rights exist to view in FamilySearch centers.
2.  Historical Records will escalate to Tier III  

Symptoms (Problems)
  • I'm registered in FamilySearch, but I could not see some images.

  • FamilySearch displayed no image available.

  • What records can I access in FamilySearch?

  • Why are some records restricted?

  • Why can I view records at a FamilySearch center but not from home?

  • Why am I unable to view records at a FamilySearch center which I was told would be available there?


Answer (Resolution)

FamilySearch gives access to free records and paid sites

This short video, Access to Records, explains how gives you access to records.

Nonprofit has a mission to give you the best access to records about families that we can. We charge no fees for record access. When we don’t have the images of the records, we link to partner sites that do, some of which may charge a fee. Know that we are continually negotiating to give you the best record access that we can.

Because does not own historical records, our access to historical records is determined by:

  • The laws that govern access to records.

  • Our contract agreements with partner organizations.

When we cannot give full, free access to records and indexes, we then give the best of the following options that our contracts and that the laws allow:

  • Access to indexes and images.

  • Access to indexes and links to the partner site that has the images.

  • Access to indexes and links to the partner site that charges a fee for the image.

  • Access to indexes and no images.


Sometimes our contracts limit access to record images in these ways:

  • Access for a limited time (such as free access for the next 5 years).

  • Access for a limited number of people (such as access to members).

  • Access in a limited place (such as access at family history centers).


How to increase your access to record images:

Because of the above limitations, you may have access to a few more record images if you do one or both of the following:

1.       Sign in to

  • When you sign in as a member of, a computer system determines your record access. Images you have access to will automatically be displayed when you search for historical records.

2.       Search for records at a family history center.

  • By agreement with the record owners, some record collections are available only at family history centers.  If you are unable to view restricted records, please have the FSC called Headquarters Support at 1 866-406-1830 to determine and resolve the problem.

FamilySearch’s rights (and your rights) to access records change as contracts and laws change. As you sign in, the computer system will automatically give you access to all the records to which you currently have rights.

As fast as we are able, we will keep adding new collections to our site.

How to find record images:

1.       Go to

2.       To get access to the most images you can see, please sign in (optional).

  •  In the top right corner, click Sign in, and sign in with your FamilySearch account information.

3.       Search for records from the FamilySearch home page in the following ways:

  • Search for an ancestor by name.

    • Add filters and identifying information to limit the search results or to bring different records to the top of your results.

  • Search for a record collection by location and then record type.

    • Click the area, and then select a specific place or record collection.

How to view images:

After you have searched for records from the home page, review the list of search results. A camera icon to the left of the record title lets you know that images are available.

1.       In the search results, click the ancestor name or the record title for the record you want to see.

2.      Click the image box to the left of the record description, and view the image.


  • Some partner sites may require that you sign in to view the images.

  • Some partner sites will charge to view the images. There is no fee for clicking the image in

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