If I want to hold myself out as an independent researcher willing to receive for-hire compensation to research a client's family history, and I want to use FamilySearch.org as my primary research platform, does FamilySearch.org allow someone to do this without violating their terms of use?

The terms of use do state:

Professional genealogists may use this site or family history center resources to research information for and provide documents to a client for the client’s personal, noncommercial use. However, professional genealogists may not solicit or arrange business, promote themselves, or receive payments on this site or other Church property.

This seems to indicate that this is not to be used as a communication platform for discussions with clients, and that the clients' end use must be noncommercial, but it doesn't explicitly prohibit payment in general, it prohibits one to "receive payments on this site or other Church property."

I read that to mean no cold-calling accounts you see on Familysearch.org while looking through records in an attempt to solicit services and no arranging payment or discussing the arrangement for the hired research using their built-in communication tools.

I also understand that this wording could easily be misunderstood, so is there documentation that clarifies these points 100%?

  • @depperm Please provide your comment as an answer. I recommend that you expand upon it slightly when you do.
    – PolyGeo
    Jan 27, 2021 at 3:02
  • 1
    I have sent an email to [email protected] to receive clarification, once I get a response I'll add an answer
    – depperm
    Jan 27, 2021 at 16:53
  • 1
    We are not lawyers and we are not your lawyers. Should this Q be on Law.SE instead?
    – Jan Murphy
    Jan 29, 2021 at 2:55

1 Answer 1


Official response I got when asking ([email protected]) about permission:

  1. Go to https://permissions.churchofjesuschrist.org/
  2. Watch the short video in the lower right hand corner
  3. Click on Request Permission
  4. You’ll need to fill in information in 3 screens (Contact Information, Content Requests, and Product/Project Information). Try to be complete.
  5. Be sure you press Submit for Approval when you finish the 3rd screen. If you have further question during the submission process, you can contact the permissions office at 801-240-2773.

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