09 February 2013

Does FamilySearch want my collections? Learn how to donate!

FamilySearch is world renowned for their efforts in preserving and sharing genealogically relevant records. Do you have a collection that you would like to have preserved or shared? Do you know of a collection that you want to see put online?

Last month I mentioned my experience in donating a collection and promised to talk about the process in a future post. I am honored that they accepted my collection and made it available online.

It took several emails, calls, bumps, and bruises from start to finish. It was evident that the process was self-explanatory neither to donors nor to some of the staff I contacted. My unfortunate experience took more than a year from beginning to end. Had I known how to donate correctly, it would have been handled in 3 months or less.

FamilySearch has been diligently working to improve the experience and is still doing so. This will likely become a series of posts about donating and the things I learn along the way. I am still conversing with FamilySearch about the experience and their efforts in improving it for others. I'm also talking with them about opportunities to be involved as a volunteer in records acquisitions. It is a very interesting conversation.

The most complete instructions I can find online must be searched for on the Help tab at FamilySearch.org. These instructions have been updated since I found them in August 2011. I still think they are less than clear about who to contact for which need, but hopefully that will be improved soon. If you ask your specific questions as comments I will do my best to respond.

The remainder of this post (until the ending notes) is a quote from:
"How patrons can donate or loan records, books, or personal genealogy to the Family History Library"
Document ID: 101707

Many valuable records have been added to the Family History Library through the generosity of patron donations. We will need information about the records you want to have digitized so we can determine if they meet our criteria.  With permission from the author, the material will be digitized and posted online at our website FamilySearch.org. At this site researchers will be able to view the material free of charge. Donations may be sent to the following address:
Family History Library
35 North West Temple Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84150-1103

or e-mailed to  bookdonations@familysearch.org
Please include the following information.

– Information about the book or records (title, author, content, etc.)

– Patron information (name, phone, e-mail address)

Note:  Donations may also be delivered to the Family History Library donation desk, located in the main floor lobby.

For a complete list of items and guidelines for donating to FamilySearch, please see “Gifts, Donations, and Loans to FamilySearch,” [link inserted into this blog post] attached and posted on FamilySearch.org.

To locate these guidelines, go to http://www.familysearch.org.
Select FamilySearch Centers, then Family History Library, then Gifts and Donations, and then Donations to the Family History Library.

A summary of the items FamilySearch will accept is listed below.

FamilySearch will accept only materials that:
  • Are readable, organized, and accessible to help researchers identify individuals and relationships by name, date, and place.
  • Add new information to FamilySearch’s collection (duplicate materials are not accepted).
  • Fit in available shelf space.
  • Do not violate current privacy and copyright laws.
FamilySearch accepts the following materials:
  • Autobiographies and biographies containing genealogical material.
  • Family histories with genealogical information.
  • Indexes to records.
  • Local histories (limited).
  • Well organized collections of genealogical and research materials (if preapproved by Library Rights).
FamilySearch accepts the following materials only if submitted with a Permission to Duplicate form signed by the copyright owner or legal custodian of the original documents:
  • Census records.
  • Directories (limited).
  • Genealogical periodicals.
  • Newspaper extracts (such as obituaries).
  • Commercially available computer software.
  • Original records, such as cemetery records, church records and histories, court records, land records, military records, naturalization records, passenger lists, probate records, and vital records.
Note: Requests for filming of records at libraries, societies, etc. should be directed to libraryrights@familysearch.org [This e-mail address is for large collections at their original repository. Small collections should be mailed as above, after contacting Support and reaching an agreement.]

[Things you'll need:
Permission Request Form
Gifts, Donations, and Loans to FamilySearch
I recommend printing both and understanding them clearly before even contacting support.]

My ending notes:
Even though I had much of this data, I went down the wrong path. I emailed Library Rights and they told me that I needed to email someone else and so on the chain went for the first five and a half months until I finally was connected with the right people. For example, at one point they thought they'd gotten me to the right people when they got me to talk to book donations, but mine was a historical records donation--a different division. Good luck! If you will stick on them it will all work out. Maybe you wont even have any of the trouble I did.

PS. I feel inclined to explain that this wasn't so much the fault of any one individual or the FamilySearch brand. This is a real issue that really needs to be worked at. One of the employees in FamilySearch strategic collections has been conversing with me about it extensively and has been very helpful. He has since taken my ideas on several matters and invited me to meet with him at RootsTech. He is taking the problem of my donation experience very seriously and instead of getting upset at FamilySearch, I am helping to provide appropriate feedback in the correct channels. The end. :) ...

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