Saturday, April 26, 2014

Using a Microfilm Reader

Searching for ancestors on the internet is easy and convenient however not every historical document  has been digitized and put out on the world wide web.  Before the internet genealogists depended on published sources, microfilm and microfiche that they could only search through in a library.

The current project I am working on is documenting a Revolutionary War ancestor from Virginia for the Daughters of the American Revolution.  I live in Texas and cannot just go to Virginia and look up these documents.  However some documents can come to me via interlibrary loans.  Last week I got a notice from my library that the microfilm I requested was in.  I was so excited to see what I would find.

I had requested the church records from the First Presbyterian Church in Portsmouth, VA.  They were available on a microfilm reel which I had to view on a Microfilm reader.

A microfilm can have up to 600 images which usually is not indexed.  You basically have to start with the first image and look at each image one by one.  It took me three hours to go through the whole thing but it paid off.  I found the baptism record for my 3rd great grandfather and the death record for his mother.  The librarian told me I could save the images I wanted straight to my flash drive or make hard copies for 10 cents a page.

Hope all your days are successful too!
Until next time, happy hunting!

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