Thursday, June 10, 2021

Family Search Remote Access Services Solves a Mystery

More than a few of my ancestors didn't know their actual birth dates. Sound familiar?

This week, I was able to solve the mystery of an uncle's birth date in New York City, thanks to the new Family Search Remote Services team.

When no image available or document is not viewable from home, this new team accesses the image or document (if available) via the Family History Library and sends it to the requester, for free.  

For more about this service, see the announcement here.

Pandemic PLAs 

During the pandemic, I would have posted an image request on the New York City Genealogy Facebook page.

Wonderful volunteers known as "parking lot angels" (PLAs) would go outside a Family History Center, tap its Wi-Fi, and look up images for folks like me. 

For the next 90 days, however, no images are available--except by request to the Family Search Remote Access Services team.

One uncle, two birth dates

I knew my uncle, Charles Lang (1906-1968), was born in New York City. On his World War II draft registration card, he said his birth date was September 10, 1906. On a document from his teenage years, the birth date was March 15, 1906.

What I needed was his actual birth certificate. The transcribed birth document is on Family Search, showing his parents and a birth date of March 2, 1906. But to be absolutely sure there were no transcription errors, I wanted to view the actual certificate with my own eyes. 

So late last week, I submitted a request to the Family Search Remote Access Services team, providing all the details requested on the form. 

Four days later, the terrific Remote Access Services team sent along the image of my uncle's birth certificate. And now the mystery is solved: his correct birth date is March 2, 1906, shown clearly. Because this document was filed only days after my uncle was born, I am very confident in its accuracy.

Thank you to the Remote Access Services team!


  1. Very good! I saw an announcement that FHL is opening. I wonder if that means the FHCs will open too.

  2. Thanks for the tip - I've just submitted a request :) I work at a FamilySearch Affiliate Library, however, I still have some records that are only available at a FHC, and I'm a three hour journey from the closest one.

  3. Wow, that is amazing! Now I need to go through my things and see if there is anything I'm missing. Thank you!