RootsTech 2014

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What Happened to French Records on FamilySearch?

We recently noticed that all of the French records had disappeared from the FamilySearch.org Historical Record Collections (look under the Search link on the new startup page). This may be old news, but it was new to me. The links to the Historical Records Collection in the Research Wiki explain the missing records as follows:
The online records for France are currently not available at FamilySearch. Publication of French records is authorized by the French Commission for Informatics and Liberties (CNIL). FamilySearch is negotiating with CNIL for approval to film and publish French records. Original images can be ordered or viewed through the following mediums:
Information regarding French records can also be found on the FamilySearch Blog:
https://familysearch.org/blog/en/searching-french-family-history-records/
I have no idea why this has occurred, but I can guess that it has something to do with the monetization of genealogy records worldwide. Because the large commercial genealogical record websites are in essence in a bidding war for obtaining records, political jurisdictions realize that their records can be a revenue source and they are unwilling to "give" the records to FamilySearch so that they can be viewed for free online, thereby denying the politicos their revenue. This is just a fact of life. There is however a valid question as to whether or not the benefit derived by the political jurisdictions is worth the loss of access and preservation of the records.

Additionally, there may well be either cultural or social reasons why the political jurisdictions do not want to deal with an organization sponsored by a Church. Especially, if that Church believes things contrary to the state religion in any particular jurisdiction.

There may, of course, be some entirely different and perfectly valid reason for removing the records.

In any event, whatever the reason, all of the French records in the Historical Record Collections have vanished from FamilySearch.org.

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