Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Collect $200

You may recall that in March I went to the San Miguel County, New Mexico courthouse on a records hunt, only to find the building gutted and the records completely inaccessible.

My backup plan was to order microfilms for the dates I believe my great-great grandmother married her second husband. I ordered those films and waited.

Today I got the call that the microfilms are "restricted" and I cannot have them. Specifically films #1574070 and #1542780, are on the naughty list. Both films deal with San Miguel County (NM) marriage records circa 1900--well over 100 years old.

I assume the restriction was placed by whoever provided the records and not the Family History Library itself. I was so surprised, I forgot to ask if that was the case of the volunteer that had to break the news to me.

I don't have much experience with New Mexico records and I don't know much about the time my ancestors were there. Mostly I don't know much about them because I'm having such a hard time getting information.

Has anybody dealt with "restricted" microfilms? Can I get them in Salt Lake City? or would I be denied there, too? With both the courthouse and the FHL out of the question, I'm running out of ideas on how to find a record for a marriage that took place probably between 1898-1901 in Las Vegas, New Mexico.


I'd be more bummed but I have to go be a mom right now.


  1. Hey Amy:

    Posted this on Twitter as well.

    Hope it helps.



  2. Amy, perhaps New Mexico has a state law similar to Texas - see http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/arc/local/index.html. We have numerous marriage and death records in our county genealogy microfilm that cannot be accessed because they are on the same reels as the restricted birth records. Maybe that's the problem in your New Mexico county??

  3. I know you must be disappointed, Amy...I would be, too. But have you considered contacting the local churches in Las Vegas? Around the turn of the century, New Mexico likely had more Catholic and Lutheran churches than any other. Since both faiths usually maintain marriage records from the time a church is established, the contacts might be worth your time.

  4. Is there a LDS Family History Center near you? Perhaps you could go there and request the records, if they exist.

  5. Maybe what is in those records is what everyone was hiding. Maybe that is the reason no one talked about the past. This really puts some extra question & excitement in the family history. I can't wait to find out what the big secret is.

  6. I mean I can't wait for you to find out then tell us what the secret is.

  7. Amy,

    You could call Salt Lake and ask them if the microfim can be vewied in Salt Lake at the FHL. If it can, maybe someone would look at it for you. Also-It may be available to larger FHC's like a Regional Center.

    I would also see who else has a copy of that info-like maybe a state genealogy society.

    Typically, films are restricted because of the copyright holder. They may dictate whether the film can be loaned out and even how many copies of the film can be produced.

    I once needed to look at a fiche that was only available in SLC. Unfortunately, the copyright holder only allowed 1 copy, it had to stay in SLC and that copy had been lost;(