Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Capture those Images - Now!

Three years ago we helped one of our Florida friends find information on his grandparents, married in Cook County, Illinois in early 1900s. My hubby found the marriage certificate on Family Search.org and captured the image. A few weeks ago we received a call from this friend who was in Chicago doing genealogy research. He needed some clarification on the information hubby had found.

Hubby emailed him the image and told him it was available on the Family Search.org website under “Illinois, Cook County Marriages 1871-1920.”

Our friend sent a frantic note yesterday saying he had searched for two hours and could not find this image. Could we please send the exact link? Hubby went to get the link only to find the marriage was listed in the index only. No more image. What happened?

He contacted a trainer at the local Family History Center and her answer is:

“Cook County made a contract with Family Search that their images could only be shown for, I think, two years. After that index only. That was Cook County's stipulation to partner for the project.”

She went on to explain, “If there's a particular one you really want, last I checked it was $7 & you get to immediately download the image.”

She uses the Cook County site - Hubby went to that site this morning to check it out. The price is no longer $7.00, but $15.00 and records prior to 1930 are not there. They have a contact button. He tried that only to learn you can communicate with them ONLY if you have a requisition number. Since we haven’t purchased anything, he didn’t have a number, therefore could not go any further. A present day Catch-22. Later today he will have to pick up the phone and talk to someone about their computer/database issues.

How many times do genealogists get deep into searching, find an image, and figure it can be download later? Especially on sites like Family Search.org. I, for one, now know there is no guarantee an image will be there in the future. 

Capture those images - Now!


  1. I remember when I first started working on family history in earnest and ancestry.com was free at the family history centers. The director suggested I make copies of all documents I found for my family. I thought that was a bit much but he told me you never know when something you found today won't be available. I hope your husband and friend are able to get the document your friend wants without too much more trouble. (And it would be great to know in advance which records are available for how long, wouldn't it? Maybe FamilySearch will begin to let us know that information.)

  2. Nancy: That is an excellent suggestion - availability information form images - and I will pass it on to the folks at the Family History Center here. Thanks for sharing that.