I was using FamilySearch Saturday afternoon [26 January]. I was searching within the Cook County Illinois birth certificate images when suddenly I received a message to try back later. Well, an hour later I tried again only to discover that all the Cook County databases where images were previously available were now ALL only showing indexes. Having them all disappear does not look like normal maintenance downtime although that may be the case.
It is now Sunday morning and nothing has changed. This is a huge and valuable collection and I hate to see it disappear, the reason being ??????
Maybe all will be restored by Monday . . . maybe not. Maybe you have covered this previously and I missed it, for which I apologize. If none of this is the case would you please be able to call upon your Family Search contacts and find out if this is temporary or permanent. And possibly WHY. I so hate to think this may be another local government money grab at work.
I poked a little bit and found this message posted in the FamilySearch Wiki article, “Illinois, Cook County Death Records (FamilySearch Historical Records).”
Due to the provisions and guidelines of a newly revised contract with Cook County, FamilySearch has removed all images for Illinois, Cook County vital records from its historical records collections online; free indexes to the collections will remain.
As part of our new agreement, FamilySearch will receive an additional 4.7 million records for FamilySearch patrons from the over 9 million free indexed records in the Cook County collection. The following collections are affected by the change:
- Illinois, Cook County Birth Certificates, 1878-1922
- Illinois, Cook County Birth Registers, 1871-1915
- Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1878-1922
- Illinois, Cook County Marriages, 1871-1920
Original images can be ordered or viewed through the following mediums.
1. Microfilm and microfiche from the Family History Library are available via Online Film Ordering in most parts of the world. The film number is included in the source information found on the index of the record. https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Ordering_Microfilm_or_Microfiche
2. Illinois, Cook County web site http://cookcountygenealogy.com/ (pay site)
3. Request a digital copy of items found in the Family History Library catalog services from the Family History Library (photoduplication). Include source information found on the index of the record in your request. https://www.familysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/Photoduplication_Services
It sounds like you are correct, Lori. However, I wouldn’t think too harshly of the Cook County government. The recession has hit everyone hard, particularly record custodians and archives.
Thanks for alerting all of us to this disappearance.
It sounds like this is a lose-win situation. (Not as good as a win-win, but hey, sometimes you have to take your wins where you can find them.) While the images have disappeared, we are gaining access to an additional 4.7 million records.
I was also glad to learn about the FamilySearch photo-duplication service. That’s pretty handy stuff. There are lots of records on FamilySearch.org that don’t include images but do mention a microfilm number. I’ll probably use it myself rather than walking across the street to the library.
You may call it laziness, I prefer efficiency.