Family Ties: Ordering microfilm, fiche from the library? Do it online

Posted Oct. 23, 2011, at 10:39 a.m.

It used to be that ordering microfilm or microfiche required two trips to a Latter-Day Saints Family History Center — one to order the film from the library in Salt Lake City, then a second trip to actually view it.

Researchers now can place their order for film or fiche from Salt Lake City and pay for it online through any computer with an Internet connection by visiting https://www.familysearch.org/films/. The local Family History Center no longer will receive payment for microfilm/fiche orders, according to Judy Reitze, co-director of the Bangor Family History Center.

To place orders, patrons will need:

• A FamilySearch account — the same account required to view some of the online FamilySearch images. There is no charge for the account.

• An email account to receive notifications from the system.

• Film or fiche number(s) from the online FamilySearch Catalog at familysearch.org/#form=catalog. In fact, it is possible to copy and paste the number from the catalog to Online Film Ordering, Reitze said, thus reducing the chance for error in typing the number.

The first time you log on, Online Film Ordering will prompt you to select a Family History Center, by country and state.

Borrowing the film is free, but there are shipping and handling charges which vary by country. In the United States, borrowers have two choices:

• Short-term loan, $5.50. This is the cost for 90 days — 15 days for shipping to the local Family History Center, 60 days for viewing at the center, and 15 days for return shipping. Previously, the short-term loan allowed only 30 days at the Family History Center.

• Extended loan, $13.75. These films do not have a defined return date.

Borrowed films and fiche must be viewed on readers at the Family History Center such as the one at Grandview Avenue and Essex Street in Bangor.

Seven days before a short-term film is due to be returned, the patron will receive an email notification. At that point, the researcher can decide to allow the film to be shipped back or use the online system to renew. Renewal options are $5.50 for another short-term loan or $13.75 for an extended loan renewal.

The choice of short-term or extended loan applies only to microfilm. All microfiche orders are extended loan and cost $4.75 for shipping, regardless of the number of fiche in the set.

Payment may be made online using Visa, MasterCard or PayPal. Prepaid cards with the Visa or MasterCard brand also will work and are recommended for anyone who may be nervous about using credit cards online.

To access a User Guide for the system, click on Ordering Help. It can be viewed or printed. A printed copy also is available in the Bangor Family History Center.

For problems using the Online Film Ordering system, patrons can use the standard FamilySearch Help options which include phone, online chat and email.

The Bangor Family History Center has an inventory of 1,430 extended loan films and 449 fiche sets, which have been loaded into the system so that a patron will not duplicate an item already in the collection.

“We hope this system will reduce unnecessary travel for our patrons,” said Reitze. “Many records are now available online at FamilySearch, but there are still many that are only accessible via microfilm or microfiche.”

“Our patrons may also be interested to learn that the Bangor Family History Center now has a page in the FamilySearch Research Wiki at https://wiki.familysearch.org/en/Bangor_Maine_Family_History_Center,” she said.

I have used Family History Centers in Bangor and Farmingdale, where the volunteers have always been helpful. They also have books and other items in the libraries. And of course I make use of http://www.familysearch.org, which is maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The free site continues to add sources as they become available.

The Richardson Civil War Round Table has published the 2012 Maine and American Civil War calendar with historic photographs and other information about the Mainers and Maine-related events that influenced the outcome of the war.

The 2012 calendar commemorates the beginning of the Civil War, according to John K. Jewell of Belfast: “It is the goal of the Richardson Civil War Round Table to preserve the great history and legacy of the men and women who sacrificed so much that the Union might be preserved.”

Among the historic personages depicted on the calendar are poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who wrote “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” on Dec. 25, 1863; Charles Heywood, a Marine from Waterville who fired a cannon at the Confederate ironclad Merrimac on March 8, 1862; Col. Charles Tilden of the 16th Maine Infantry; and 4th Maine Infantry soldiers working with Lowe’s Balloon Corps.

The 2012 Maine and American Civil War calendar is available for $12.95 plus $1 shipping and handling, sent to Richardson Civil War Round Table, 16 Leeman Drive, Northport, ME 04849. Orders for the calendar also can be placed by calling 338-3693 or emailing richardsoncwrt@gmail.com. Proceeds benefit Civil War charities.

Crystal Sands will present “Mysteries of Salem Witch Trials: What Can We Learn?” at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Bangor Public Library, 145 Harlow St.

A literature and writing professor at Husson University, Sands will discuss why a group of girls accused a slave and local townspeople of being witches. Soon, Salem Village was swept up in a story that would be told all over the New World and across the seas in England. The story lives on more than 300 years later, perhaps because there is so much mystery surrounding these tragic events. Nineteen men and women were hanged as witches.

Belfast Historical Society President Megan Pinette will give a presentation on “Belfast During the Civil War” at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 24, in the Abbott Room of Belfast Free Library. The focus of the program will be soldiers’ letters sent to relatives back home and life in Belfast.

Belfast Historical Society meetings are free and open to all. They are held the fourth Monday of the month, April through October. You can watch meeting films on the museum website, www.belfastmuseum.org, which offers new programs each month.

On Oct. 21, I retired from my full-time job at the Bangor Daily News and The Weekly after 24 years with the BDN. I don’t know what comes next, but I know there is room for genealogy in it. I am delighted to have the opportunity to keep writing Family Ties for my favorite newspaper. Thanks, BDN.

For information on researching family history in Maine, see Genealogy Resources under Family Ties at http://bangordailynews.com/browse/family-ties/. Send genealogy queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402; or email familyti@bangordailynews.com.

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