FamilySearch Catalog Surnames Search

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'''If the results list has too few matches.''' The more of a surname you type as a search term, the smaller the results list will be. Since many surnames have [[Guessing a Name Variation|spelling variations]], you may want to broaden your search. To do this, you can type only part of the surname. (This is called truncating your search.) For example, if you type '''Newcombe''' as your search term, the computer will find only that spelling of the name. However, if you type '''Newcom''' as your search term, the computer will find any surname that begins with those letters, including Newcom, Newcomb, Newcome, Newcombe, and so forth.
 
'''If the results list has too few matches.''' The more of a surname you type as a search term, the smaller the results list will be. Since many surnames have [[Guessing a Name Variation|spelling variations]], you may want to broaden your search. To do this, you can type only part of the surname. (This is called truncating your search.) For example, if you type '''Newcombe''' as your search term, the computer will find only that spelling of the name. However, if you type '''Newcom''' as your search term, the computer will find any surname that begins with those letters, including Newcom, Newcomb, Newcome, Newcombe, and so forth.
  
'''Switch to the ''Keyword Search'' to find a family in a specific place.''' If the results list has too many matches, it may help to&nbsp; switch to the Family History Library Catalog [[Family_History_Library_Catalog_Keyword_Search|'''''Keyword Search''''']] and add a ''place'' (state or province) to the ''surname''. For example, a '''''Surname Search''''' for '''Frazier''' results in 177 matches, but a '''''Keyword Search''''' for '''Frazier Colorado''' results in only 21 matches. This strategy finds works that are cataloged under the surname '''Frazier''' and the place '''Colorado''' in the same cataloging entry, usually but not necessarily in connection with each other.<!--{12051679884180} --> <!--{12051679884181} --> <!--{12051679884182} -->
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'''Switch to the ''Keyword Search'' to find a family in a specific place.''' If the results list has too many matches, it may help to&nbsp; switch to the Family History Library Catalog [[Family History Library Catalog Keyword Search|'''''Keyword Search''''']] and add a ''place'' (state or province) to the ''surname''. For example, a '''''Surname Search''''' for '''Frazier''' results in 177 matches, but a '''''Keyword Search''''' for '''Frazier Colorado''' results in only 21 matches. This strategy finds works that are cataloged under the surname '''Frazier''' and the place '''Colorado''' in the same cataloging entry, usually but not necessarily in connection with each other. States, provinces, or nations work best for this strategy; towns and counties work poorly for this strategy.<!--{12051890431990} --> <!--{12051890431991} --> <!--{12051890431992} --> <!--{12051890431993} -->
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== How Do I Understand the Results of a Surname Search? ==
 
== How Do I Understand the Results of a Surname Search? ==

Revision as of 22:45, 10 March 2008

How to search the Family History Library Catalog by Surname.

Use a Surname Search to find a work about a specific family or person, such as a:

However, the Author Search is better for finding an author by surname.

Contents

Steps to Search by Surname

  1. Go to www.familysearch.org.
  2. Click the Family History Library Catalog link under the heading Search Genealogy Records & Library.
  3. Click Surname Search.
  4. Type a surname.
  5. Click Search.
  6. Click the surname that matches the one you want.
  7. Click a title to see more details. The record may be in a book or on a film.
  8. Click View Film Notes (if any) to see a film number.

Strategies for Using a Surname Search

Look for family histories. This search mainly finds family histories.

More than one surname per family history. Library catalogers usually add to the Surname Search about four surnames from families that marry into the main family for a typical family history. For example, Blackburns Today and Yesterday is also listed under the following names: BARRON, BRIDGES, DAVIS, and FRAZIER. For longer family histories even more names would usually be listed. So it is normal to find a book via the Surname Search which is primarily about another family and only briefly mentions the surname you searched.

If the results list has too few matches. The more of a surname you type as a search term, the smaller the results list will be. Since many surnames have spelling variations, you may want to broaden your search. To do this, you can type only part of the surname. (This is called truncating your search.) For example, if you type Newcombe as your search term, the computer will find only that spelling of the name. However, if you type Newcom as your search term, the computer will find any surname that begins with those letters, including Newcom, Newcomb, Newcome, Newcombe, and so forth.

Switch to the Keyword Search to find a family in a specific place. If the results list has too many matches, it may help to  switch to the Family History Library Catalog Keyword Search and add a place (state or province) to the surname. For example, a Surname Search for Frazier results in 177 matches, but a Keyword Search for Frazier Colorado results in only 21 matches. This strategy finds works that are cataloged under the surname Frazier and the place Colorado in the same cataloging entry, usually but not necessarily in connection with each other. States, provinces, or nations work best for this strategy; towns and counties work poorly for this strategy.

How Do I Understand the Results of a Surname Search?

A Surname Search results in a list of:

  • Titles of catalog entries tied to surnames that match your search.
  • Surnames that match your search.

See also

Introduction to the Family History Library Catalog

Family History Library Catalog Place Search

Family History Library Catalog Keyword Search

Family History Library Catalog Title Search

Family History Library Catalog Film and Fiche Search

Family History Library Catalog Author Search

Family History Library Catalog Subject Search

Family History Library Catalog Call Number Search