Frequently Asked Questions: FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries 

June 6, 2019  - by 

What is a FamilySearch affiliate library? 

An affiliate library cooperates with FamilySearch International to help patrons have fun personal family history discoveries. This outcome is accomplished by affiliate libraries sharing FamilySearch’s digital record collections with patrons locally.

This partnership requires a signed contract and a shared static IP address with FamilySearch, which enables access to additional digital record collections.

What are the benefits of being an affiliate library?

A major benefit of being an affiliate library is access to additional digital records not available outside a family history center or an affiliate library. These digital records include images and names indexes. Currently, there are about 400 million original records available in a digital format that affiliate libraries have access to.

Affiliate libraries also receive a monthly e-newsletter subscription for reference staff to stay abreast of what’s new and the latest tips and tricks for supporting family history patrons.

A smiling family gathers around a computer at a library.

What does it cost to be an affiliate library?

There is no cost to be an affiliate library.

What is a partner library?

A partner library is a library (whether public, special, or university) that participates in FamilySearch’s Family History Book Scanning initiative to preserve local genealogical collections digitally.

FamilySearch provides all the equipment and resources to digitize the books, and the partner libraries help provide content to be preserved digitally, such as books that are in the public domain and have a genealogical or local historical value.

Some partner libraries host a FamilySearch scan center. Others may send books to a center to be scanned.

The contributing library for all books on the website is clearly identified. We also provide monthly statistics on usage for books from a partner library.

Is an affiliate library also a book scanning partner library?

It is possible to be both an affiliate library and a partner library. If you are interested in becoming an affiliate library or a partner library, email

What is controlled digital lending?

Controlled digital lending is an option for some libraries and companies to circulate books digitally that are still under copyright. Currently, FamilySearch does not participate in controlled digital lending.

Does the Family History Library participate in interlibrary loan?

FamilySearch does not participate in interlibrary loans. Visit here to find libraries and organizations that participate in interlibrary loans.

What do the different icons in the FamilySearch catalog mean?

A screenshot of the FamilySearch catalog, including icons on the right describing the different kinds of access to records.

The FamilySearch catalog uses icons to quickly tell the patron the accessibility of the records they are seeking.  

A document icon.

  A document icon means that the resource is only an indexed record or transcription of the document.  

A camera icon.

  A camera icon means you can view the image of the original document from any web-enabled portable device.

A camera with a key on top icon.

A camera with a key icon indicates that access to an image is restricted, such as an image that can be seen only at an affiliate library or a family history center. 

Why are some images restricted to family history centers and not included for affiliate libraries?

FamilySearch publishes copies of records only after gaining permission from the original record custodian (generally a government agency) and faithfully abiding by all the stipulated conditions and applicable laws. To remain in compliance with these agreements and standards, FamilySearch occasionally needs to adjust access to specific records. If you cannot find a record that was previously accessible, it is likely due to stipulations from the record custodians. 

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  1. I have a lot of Genealogy research Books. Mostly regarding Irish research. For example: Index to Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies; Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, Hand books, Histories, Clans of Ireland, etc. I have about 25 books in all and would like to donate them. Can you tell me where I can donate them and how I go about it?

  2. I look after the network (20 computers) for the Cooroy Noosa Genealogical and Historical Research Group. We are looking to become an affiliate library with Family Search. A question about the requirement for a static IP address. My instinct says that the static address is required for the external access from outside the group; nor for an internal computer.

  3. I need copy of original christening record. Where can I find access to microfilm of original document. Do all family history centers has access to the microfilm?

    1. The Family History Center has access to the documents, but you probably do too! Most of the films have been digitized and are available to you from home. For some you will get a message that they can only be viewed in a Family History Center. To find a christening, go to FamilySearch>Search>Catalog and then enter the place of the church. In the results go to churches and then select the church you are interested in. The listing will indicate if it has been digitized. 75% of films have been digitized and the rest will be completed next year.

  4. My library is an affiliate but I have never received a newsletter. Can I be put on the list? Oak Lawn Public Library in Oak Lawn, Illinois. Thank you.

  5. In the 1970s my grandfather Glen Richard Cole had our genealogy (family tree) done by LDS. He paid for it and it traced our family line back to 1600s. I saw it before he passed away, and it was lost or misplaced after he died. It was on a large poster size paper and he had kept it rolled up and in a cardboard tube. Is there anyway I could get a copy of this? I would gladly pay for it or donate to the church. I was told that all genealogy record are kept by LDS in Utah. Please help. Thank you.

  6. When will french polynesia records be available online? A large number of those I require are only available on microfilm. I went to my local library (affiliate/family research centre) and one had the camera photo but when you click to view it opens to all the images but the images say ‘no photo’. What does that mean? Thanks

  7. I have a film number of a record I would like to have a copy of. Previously a member of Familysearch visited Aurich, Germany and gave me the details of my family members and the film number. I must say this was 10 years ago. The film is now restricted on Familysearch.

    1. Hi! Thank you for your research question. Please check out the FREE Family History Library Online Consultations where you can schedule time with a consultant to help you on any family history question you may have. They may be able to help you figure out how to gain access to the film you are interested in. Good luck and thank you for reading the blog!

  8. What is the difference between the digital images you can access as an affiliate library and those you can access on the FamilySearch website under Search’s Images option?

    1. Hi Ginny! Thank you for your feedback. The images that are only available at a library are ones that the image right holders have deemed have limited access. Images available on the FamilySearch website that you can see do not have this limitation.

    1. Hi Barbara! Thank you for your feedback. The lists are sortable by you by each column. At the top of each column you will see little up/down arrows. You can click on that column and sort. If you want to sort by the name of the facility, you can sort by name. Or you can sort by location. The lists are made to be sorted by you the user by your sorting preference.

  9. Information is not clear regarding the Affiliate Library status. Are Affiliate Libraries Required to scan
    their collections?

  10. A library patron told me about your Library Affiliate Program. I contacted you on August 10, 2021, but I have not heard back from you on how my library could become an affliate and what that means. My library is the Jeudevine Memorial Library in Hardwick, VT. Our website is Can you let me know about this program? Thank you, Lisa Sammet, Library Director