In my research there are several documents that can only be accessed at Family History Centers. The term used (when searching for these documents) is that they can be Viewed, does that imply that those documents can not be printed or downloaded/saved to (for example) a flashdrive?

Along those same lines, would such documents be copyrighted?

1 Answer 1


When I have viewed documents at a Family History Center or FamilySearch Affiliate Library in the past I was able to view and download most documents for future access at home. I believe there are some reasonable restrictions on the number of images that can be downloaded, to prevent an entire film from being downloaded, however you are unlikely to reach this limit.

There are some documents such as the Derbyshire parish register collection which do not allow downloads for licensing reasons. I think this is more of an exception, personally I have not come across any others that cannot be downloaded. You can take a screen shot in these cases to save a portion of the image, if needed.

The copyright will depend on the source of the images; this is no different from documents downloaded from Ancestry, FindMyPast, or any other site. As a general rule it should not be a problem to keep document images for personal use however you should not be publishing them elsewhere (online or otherwise), without obtaining the appropriate permissions.

  • I don't know if this is still the case, but I saw the "view but you can't download" state while accessing the Devon BTs from home a while ago. Viewers were directed to order a copy from the record office if they desired a copy of the record.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 21:22
  • @Jan Good to know, I haven't used Devon records much but perhaps it is more common than I thought to not be able to download a copy from FS.
    – Harry V.
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 21:24
  • 1
    Just confirmed it is still the case with familysearch.org/search/collection/2515875. You can view the page but you can't download the image and you're directed to an address where you can order a copy.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 21:27
  • Same results with familysearch.org/search/catalog/1833856
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 21:30

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