Blog post

Thursday, December 23, 2010

There's a first time for everything

I don't know if I should admit this. After 20+ years of genealogy research (on and off) I recently placed my first ever order for a film from the LDS Family History Library!

In the past there have been a number of things that stopped me from taking that step. When I first started out, I had no idea of the FHL's existence. Then having discovered it, I felt a level of discomfort at the idea of using the result of someone else's religious beliefs and practices, which I don't share, in pursuit of a hobby. This is no reflection of the Family History Center in Canberra (or anywhere else for that matter) as I had heard only good things about them.

Having gotten over that feeling of timidity and even making a visit to the local Family History Center quite some years ago to check things out, I still never felt the need to order any film. I had plenty of material to be getting on with by post(!), at the National Library of Australia, and later on the internet.

More recently, a few factors have come together that have changed the situation for me:

  1. My loosely defined research goal is to follow the life of Elizabeth Tregonning (1858-1952). In looking for relevant sources I have found some that are most readily available to me via the Family History Library. 
  2. I have only very recently discovered that I can have the films sent to my local genealogy society, which is ten minutes closer to home than the local Family History Center. It may not sound like much, but when negotiating with my husband about minding our two under-fives while I'm swanning about genealogising, an extra 10 minutes of travel time each way makes a big difference.
  3. Finally, the big one, I can order the films online. I think this is only possible in a few countries, so I feel very fortunate. It makes a huge difference because it saves me from making an extra trip in order to order the film in the first place (see point 2 above).
I put in my first order in about two weeks ago. The film I wanted had to be placed on backorder, but the delay wasn't long and I've now had notification that it has shipped. I'm really looking forward to actually viewing my first ever FHL microfilm sometime in the New Year. I'm sure this film order will be the first of many.


  1. Shelley,
    You are not alone. I haven't ordered a film either in my 20+ years of dabbling in family history. I intend ordering some to view when I go to Rootsstech.

    In the meantime I look forward to hearing the results of your viewing. I hop you blog the results.

    Hope you enjoy a splendid Christmas with your little ones (and Mr Twigs too).

  2. Great! I order films all the time. I have made some great discoveries through land records. Did you order online or at the FHL? The order online is new I was wondering how it works.

  3. I have only ever ordered one film to the nearest LDS Family History Centre. I had a travel to the Centre for a few Wednesday's in a row but it was very rewarding to look at a film of Irish records. I hope to order more films in the future.
    Good luck with your research.
    Happy Christmas.

  4. Since we are in a confessing frame of mind, I have a confession to share as well. I have been ordering FHL Films for years now and viewing them at the Society of Australian Genealogists library. I usually look at them on the days when the library is closed to members after I have finished working on the computers for the day. I mostly borrow films of records in Fiji.

    My confession is that I have never been into a LDS Family History Centre. Never. I visited the one in Suva once but it was closed that day.

    There, I feel better already!

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas with your family, and with little ones how can you not!

  5. I'm really excited for you. These films are a great genealogy tool and you're going to love them!

  6. Thanks for all the encouragement and the Christmas wishes.

    @Hummer - I ordered the film online. The process was easy enough, you add the film to your cart and can then pay by credit card. I will have to pay a small additional handling fee to the genealogy society when the film arrives.

  7. Great! I order films all the time. I have made some great discoveries through land records. Did you order online or at the FHL? The order online is new I was wondering how it works.