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Introduction to the Family History Library Catalog > Author Search
Do an Author Search when you want to see catalog entries by or about a certain person, church, society, government agency, and so forth. An Author Search is especially useful for finding biographies and autobiographies.
Steps to Search by Author
The following steps will help you use the Author Search.
- Go the Family History Library Catalog.
- Click Author Search.
- Type the last name of the author or a corporate name. A corporate name can be the name of an archive.
- Type a first name (optional).
- Click Search.
- Click the name of the author that matches your request.
- Click a title to see details of the record.
- Click View Film Notes to microfilm or microfiche numbers.
Strategies for Using an Author Search
If the name you want is a personal name and you want to limit your search, type all or part of the first name in the "First Name" field.
If you do not know how to spell the author's name, truncate (shorten) it or use a wild card character to replace letters you do not know. The more of the author’s name you type, the smaller the results list will be.
For example, if you want to find Jeremiah Smith, typing Smith in the "Last Name" field and nothing in the "First Name" field will give you a long results list. Typing Smith in the "Last Name" field and Jer in the "First Name" field will give you a shorter list.
Or suppose you want to find St. John's Episcopal Church (Hampton, Virginia). Typing St. John’s will give you a long results list. Typing St. John's Hampton will give you a shorter list.
How Do I Understand the Results of an Author Search?
An Author Search results in a list of authors. If the list contains the author you want, click on the name to see the Author Details record.
The Author Details record contains the following information (where applicable):
- The name of the author.
- The catalog entries the author is tied to.
- References to other authors.
- Notes about the author.
What If I Do Not Find an Author I Want?
You may not find an author you want for several reasons. Before concluding that the catalog does not have any records you want, consider the following strategies:
- Be sure you typed the author’s name correctly.
- Broaden your search term, in case the author’s name is spelled differently than you expect. Try typing spelling variations. You can also truncate the given name. For example, if you typed Cann in the "Last Name" field and George in the "First Name" field without finding the right one, try typing Cann in the "Last Name" field and G in the "First Name" field.
- Use a different search, such as a Keyword Search.
Who Is Considered an Author in the Catalog?
The catalog lists two types of authors in the "Author" field:
- A main author is the person or organization chiefly responsible for the creation of an item described in the catalog.
- An added author is a person or organization that acts as a compiler, editor, translator, and so forth.
- If the catalog entry describes an item that refers to another item, you will see the author and title of the referenced item. This information is labeled Name/Title.
If the person’s or corporate body’s name is also listed as a subject in the catalog entry, you will find works about that person or corporate body by doing an Author Search.
How Do I Find Other Catalog Entries by or about an Author?
The Author Details record lists the titles of catalog entries by or about the author.
You can find the Author Details record in two ways:
- If you do an Author Search, click on the author’s name on the results list.
- Click on the author’s name in a Title Details record.