Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Online Family History Library Microfilm Ordering is Coming

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I read Kimberly Powell's blog post Online FamilySearch Film Ordering Rolling Out to CA / West Coast last week, and finally have some time to check it out.  I also saw a notice about it at the Orange Family History Center last week on my visit there.  Read Kimberly's post for more details.

Here are some screen shots from my foray into http://films.familysearch.org:

1)  The film ordering home page:


There are three links at the top of the page - for:

Ordering Help
Not Set (but goes to the page for selecting your Family History Center)
*  Order Cart icon (with number of items, and order cost)

You do have to sign in using your free FamilySearch account (click on "Sign In" on any FamilySearch page).

2)  I decided that I should look at the "Ordering Help" page:


On this page, there are links for handouts and demonstration of Sign In, Place an Order, Cancel an Order, and Paypal.

3)  The most useful of the Help demonstrations is the one for "Place an Order":


This "Place an Order" demonstration goes through a step-by-step set of screens showing how it is done.  It seems very simple and functional.  The "Place an Order" handout shows this in a three page PDF.

4)  After viewing the "Place an Order" demonstration, I clicked on the "Not Set" link and saw:


This page permits the user to select the Family History Center that will receive the microfilms.  It lists the FHCs that are currently using the online film ordering system.  I entered United States and California.  As of today, there are eight in California,  three in Washington, nine in Oregon, and many in Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas (I didn't check every state).

I will write another post for the actual ordering process when the San Diego FHC is on the list of FHCs with online film ordering.

Kimberly's post indicated that they were rolling this out gradually, so I expect (and hope) that there will be more California FHCs available soon. 

There was a question on Kimberly's post about how users can pay for the film orders.  The Place an Order demonstration shows Visa and MasterCard options.  There appears to be a Paypal option also - see the Paypal handout PDF.

The beauty of the online film ordering system is that users don't have to make two trips to the FHL to view a film - one trip to order it, the second trip to read the film. 

The US dollar price for a short-term film order is $5, so that's less than I've been paying at the San Diego FHC.  That's good news!

I think it will also induce more trips to the FHC - if I pay $5 for an online film order from the convenience of my Genea-Cave, I'm going to go off to the FHC more often!  I have a nice to-do list of FHL films I've been meaning to order, but I never seem to get a round tuit.

4 comments:

Donna - What's Past is Prologue said...

Randy,

I've been waiting for this since my local FHC isn't around the corner. I didn't see a schedule on their site, so I called to ask. They expect to roll out to my part of the east coast (Philadelphia and southern New Jersey) by late October, and to the entire US by the end of the year.

Donna

Elizabeth O'Neal said...

$5 is less than I've been paying too, PLUS, the last time I ordered, it took my local FHC 5 MONTHS to get the films. Yes, that's 5 MONTHS. It's not that I don't appreciate what they do there, but... that seems like an awfully long time, if you ask me. Hopefully the online ordering process will streamline and speed things up a bit.

Kathryn Lake Hogan said...

Greetings Randy,
I'm surprised that it is taking so long for this service to be available in many areas of the US. I have been ordering microfilms into my local FHC here in Canada for the past 9 months or so. It is very convenient!
~Kathryn

Denise Spurlock said...

Randy,

A search for FHCs in California is currently (Wednesday evening) returning no results. I know there were a few listed a couple days ago. Not sure what is happening.

Denise