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A biography is a history of a person’s life.  A biography may give you birth, marriage, and death information and the names of parents, spouse, children, or other family members. Use the information from a biography cautiously because there may be inaccuracies.

Thousands of biographies have been gathered and published in collections of biographies, sometimes called biographical encyclopedias or dictionaries. Usually these include only biographies of prominent or well-known subjects. However, some collections of biographies are of specific groups such as painters, ministers, radicals, or architects.

Many libraries will have a 'biography' section where these will be shelved, and depending on the cataloging system used, these will show with different call number formats than other books.

If searching for biographies in the FamilySearch Catalog at or at the Family History Library itself, look at the topic "Biography" in the Place Search of the Catalog if your ancestor played an important part in a group or occupation.

Collective biographies are usually listed in the Place Search of the FamilySearch Catalog under:


You may find some collections under the localities listed above and then the subject "GENEALOGY."

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  • This page was last modified on 25 July 2014, at 18:07.
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