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Digging Deep in FamilySearch

From your home computer you can now access vital records from all over the world that FamilySearch has been collecting for more than 120 years! There are a few things you should know before you dig in. The FamilySearch Catalog describes genealogical resources held by at the Family History Library.

The Catalog is a guide to birth, marriage and death records, census records, church registers, books, magazines, family histories and many other records that contain genealogical information. Many of these records may be searchable onlineas images of records. When an image is available in the catalog, a camera icon will appear to the right of the microfilm note associated with that image. A description of the images is found at News Flash! Digitized Microfilm: From the Drawer to Your Computer.

In addition to FamilySearch Catalog website the FamilySearch Catalog is also available via OCLC WorldCat. OCLC WorldCat is an online union catalog of more than 2 billion titles at 72,000 librariesin 172 countries and territories. Our library has access to WorldCat, which gives access to books and film through our Inter-Library Loan service.


Before you use the FamilySearch Catalog, it helps to choose a person about whom you want to find more information, and decide what you want to learn about him or her. For example, you may want to find your great-grandmother's death date and place. To do this you need to decide what types of records are likely to contain that information.

Deciding Which Search

The type of search you should do is determined by the kind of catalog entries or records you want to find. There are eight kinds of possible FamilySearch Catalog searches. In the catalog clicking on the name of the search will open or close that search.

The table below briefly describes each of the eight types of searches. For further details about each type of search, click on name of the search in the table.

Do This Type of Search: To Find the Following Types of Catalog Entries:
Place Search A record by the name of a place (locality) where an ancestor lived
Surnames Search Family histories (and more) by a particular family name
Titles Search A record by its title
Author Search Works of an author by his/her name (individual or corporate)
Subjects Search Works based on the topics they cover
Keywords Search A record using any words or phrases in significant parts of its catalog entry

For more information, watch this video tutorial Search from the FamilySearch Catalog and watch the full tutorial Introduction to the FamilySearch Catalog.

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