Magritte's "La Trahison des Images" ("The Treachery of Images") (1928-9) or "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" ("This is not a pipe").
René Magritte's message was that images do not convey the full sense of an object. Observers are often fooled into thinking that a simulacrum is the real thing.
In the field of genealogy research, nothing can substitute for “the real thing”; i.e., the actual record, as opposed to an index or a transcription of a record. The real thing contains the complete information that you need in order to identify an ancestor, locate his or her parents, and in general, make the connections you need to fill in those blanks on your family tree.
When presented with the opportunity to access the real thing, no one wants to be confronted with yet another obstacle to getting up-close and personal with that long-lost ancestor. Yet that is happening with increasing frequency on the FamilySearch website, among others.
Many of the record collections in FamilySearch are restricted, and the number of restricted collections is increasing due to privacy laws, among other reasons. This blog explains your options for viewing a particular document you have located through FamilySearch but which has restrictions placed on it.
For example, recently FamilySearch teamed up with FindMyPast to create the Ireland, Landed Estate Court Files, 1850–1885:
This searchable collection contains 682,055 Irish land-occupation records from the nineteenth century. These records include details on bankrupt estates as well as on landowners and tenants from all counties in Ireland.
However, when you try to display any of the actual records, the following message appears:
Unfortunately, FamilySearch has limited access to these records. This could be for numerous reasons, including the archive's request, copyright laws, or the fact that FamilySearch purchased only limited access rights.
In order to view the image, you have the following options:
- Go to an LDS FamilySearch Center or other LDS-affiliated institution (such as the Family History Library or Brigham Young University). To find the LDS FamilySearch Center closest to you, go to: https://www.familysearch.org/locations
- Go to the pay-to-view site FindMyPast: http://www.findmypast.ie/
- Submit a request for a lookup by the research firm Rootsonomy. Facebook users can submit a request by going to: www.fb.com/RootsonomyGenealogy and clicking the button "Request Research or a Lookup". All other users can submit requests at: http://goo.gl/MlzYC
Clicking this link displays the following screen:
However, when you click "here" as directed, the following error message is displayed:
Once again, FamilySearch has limited access to this book. This might be due to the author's request, copyright laws, or any number of other reasons. To view a specific page from the book, you have the following options:
- Go to an LDS FamilySearch Center or other LDS-affiliated institution.
- Submit a request for a lookup by the research firm Rootsonomy.