Why do historical records have access limitations?

Most access limitations come from the organization who owns or manages the original historical records. Others are most likely based on local data privacy laws. Limitations determine where and how FamilySearch can make the records available. We do our best to support these agreements and legal requirements so we can maintain the trust of our collaborators.

You can determine whether a record you want to view has access limitations.


  1. Search for a historical record.
  2. In the search results, a camera icon tells you that FamilySearch has images of the record.
  3. Click the camera icon. If the image has viewing limitations, a message explains the situation.
  4. When you encounter a record with limited access, here are some options:
    • The message says that images are available at a FamilySearch center or an affiliate library. Visit a center or an affiliate library and user a computer there.
    • Try to access the record from a third-party website or the site of the record owner. In some cases, fees apply.

What are the image restrictions in Historical Records?
Where do I find a FamilySearch center?

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