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Search family history at the Fort Myers-Lee County Library

By Staff | May 6, 2011

The Fort Myers-Lee County Library has been granted full status as a Family Search Affiliate Library. This privilege allows the facility to offer genealogy patron’s access to the microfilmed holdings of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City which houses the largest genealogical library in the world. Through the FamilySearch Affiliate Libraries, they make many of their holdings available in microform to genealogy researchers on a loan basis, for a processing fee of $5.50 per roll of microfilm and $0.15 per sheet of microfiche.
Another added benefit involves the quality of images on microfilm and fiche products. Since the Family History Library, in conjunction with the Family Search Beta Project, Footnote.com and Ancestry.com are in the gradual process of digitalizing records and reimaging older records that were microfilmed prior to the 1990’s, this will eventually result in the creation of new microfilm rolls with improved image quality versus their earlier predecessors.
With a few exceptions, patrons will have access to most genealogical materials in microfilm or fiche formats. However, there are some limitations which we must abide by in terms of access:
The library is unable to borrow any materials in print format
Due to space limitations, they are unable to retain microfilms indefinitely as was the case previously when the local Family History Centers were operating in Naples, Fort Myers, and Port Charlotte.
That decision may be revisited upon completion of a new building scheduled for late summer of 2013.
Library officials have compiled a handout to help answer the most common questions about procedures related to ordering materials for research. Feel free to contact them with any additional questions or comments.

1. Do I need to be a member of the LDS Church to order microfilm?
No. The Mormon Church makes their library materials and online databases freely available to everyone, regardless of religious affiliation.

2. Can I order microforms by email or phone?
No. You must make an appointment to meet with a genealogy volunteer at the Fort Myers-Lee County Public Library to place an order.

3. Can I order the microforms at another library?
Microform orders may only be placed at the Fort Myers-Lee County Public Library

4. Can the microforms be sent to another library?
FamilySearch rules stipulate that microforms remain at the Fort Myers-Lee County Public Library.

5. What is the cost to rent microfilm and microfiche?
The cost is $5.50/roll for microfilm and $0.15/sheet for fiche.

6. Can I pay for the film with a credit card or a check?
Credit and debit cards are not accepted. Payment must be made by cash or check.

7. Do I have to pay for the microform rental when I place the order?

8. Do I need a Lee County library card to order microforms?

9. Will someone be available to help me order the microforms?
Yes. A genealogy volunteer is available by appointment to assist library patrons in the selection of FamilySearch microform materials. Appointments may be made in person at the Fort Myers Library reference desk or by calling 479-4636.

10. Why do I need to come in to the library to place a microfilm order?
Placing an order with the assistance of a genealogy volunteer helps to ensure that you order only those microforms that are likely to contain the information you are seeking. Payment by cash or check is due at the time of the order.

11. After I order a microform, how long will it be before I receive it?
It usually takes 3-4 weeks to receive microforms after they are ordered.

12. How will I know when the microform is available for me to use?
A volunteer will notify you when the microform material is available.

13. Where do I go to pick up the microform(s)?
Your FamilySearch microform(s) will be held under your name at the Fort Myers-Lee County Library Reference desk. All microforms are for in-library use only and may not be removed from the Fort Myers – Lee County Public Library.

14. How long can I keep microform(s)?
Microfilm will be held for your use at the Fort Myers Library reference desk for about three weeks before it must either be returned or renewed. Microfiche is loaned for an indefinite period and will be retained by the Fort Myers-Lee County Library.

15. What if I’m not finished with the microfilm by the date it’s due?
Microfilm may be renewed up to two times at a cost of $5.50 per renewal.

16. What if I order the wrong microfilm?
While we are happy to assist, you are ultimately responsible for the selection of microform(s) to be ordered. The Fort Myers-Lee County Library will not reimburse for rental costs when the microform does not contain the hoped for information.

Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments. I can be reached at (239) 533-4626 or via e-mail atbmulcahy@leegov.com.

Source: Compiled by Bryan L. Mulcahy, Reference Librarian, Fort Myers-Lee County Library