Interlibrary Loan for Genealogy

While it’s possible to locate a myriad of genealogical records online, some records can only be found on microfilm and in books in small cities and towns across the country and around the world. If the information you need isn’t online or at our library, you may be able to request it from another library through interlibrary loan.

Local historical and genealogical societies preserve records through indexes and compilations of records in their local repositories. These groups may make these reference books available both at their local repository and for sale. Many of these same items are out of print and not available for purchase. However, you may be able to borrow them through interlibrary loan.

Before you can begin to search for these items, you will need some tools. FamilySearch International Family History Library, the largest genealogy library in the world, has cataloged many of the resources to help you find information on your family in their FamilySearch Catalog. In 2014, the FamilySearch Catalog was combined with the powerful database search tool OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) WorldCat to create an online catalog of more than 2 billion titles at 72,000 libraries in 172 countries and territories. It is the world’s largest bibliographic database for materials held around the world.

We can help you search for materials in locations around the world through World Cat, also known as FirstSearch. Once you find the item you want to borrow, click the ILL link, “Borrow from Another Library” to begin the interlibrary loan process. You can also email InterLibrary Loan staff with your request. Our friendly staff will help you set up your account to borrow through this service.

Check out other InterLibrary Loan services:

Newspapers —The Finding Microfilmed Newspapers Wiki page includes WorldCat instructions and screenshots.

Kansas State Historical Society — Researchers can borrow Historical Society microfilm collections on Interlibrary Loan through participating Kansas libraries.

As a veteran genealogist, I love teaching and sharing digital family history and genealogy techniques and helping people solve genealogy problems. Being the Genealogy Librarian at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library is so much fun! I work to promote a greater knowledge of family, history, and heritage.