Difference between revisions of "Introduction to the FamilySearch Catalog"

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The [https://familysearch.org/catalog-search FamilySearch Catalog] describes the genealogical resources held by [http://familysearch.org/search FamilySearch.org][[Family History Library|Family History Library]]  It is a guide to family histories; birth, marriage, and death records; census records; church registers; books, periodicals and many other records that may contain genealogical information. These records may be in a book, on microfiche or microfilm, searchable online or in a computer file. Most microfilm and microfiche records can be sent to your nearest [[Introduction to LDS Family History Centers|Family History Center]].
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=== What Is the FamilySearch Catalog?  ===
  
== What Is the FamilySearch Catalog?  ==
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{{TOC right}}The '''[https://familysearch.org/catalog-search FamilySearch Catalog]&nbsp;'''(formerly '''''Family History Library Catalog''''') describes genealogical resources held by [http://familysearch.org/search FamilySearch.org], the&nbsp;[[Family History Library]], and selected [[Introduction to LDS Family History Centers|FamilySearch Centers]]. <br><br>
  
[[Image:FHL Catgalog search options.jpg|thumb|right|400px|FHL Catgalog search options.jpg]]
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The Catalog is a guide to birth, marriage, and death records; census records; church registers; books; periodicals;  family histories and many other records that contain genealogical information. These records may be  searchable online, on microfiche or microfilm, in a book or in a computer file.  
  
The [https://familysearch.org/catalog-search FamilySearch Catalog] is available at FamilySearch.org, on compact disc, and on microfiche. Compact disc and microfiche versions are significantly outdated, and do not list films acquired after the publication date on the disc or microfiche.<br>
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Some entries in the FamilySearch Catalog include 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 [https://familysearch.org/blog/en/news-flash-digitized-microfilm-drawer-computer/ News Flash! Digitized Microfilm: From the Drawer to Your Computer]
  
Before you use the FamilySearch Catalog, [[Guessing the Easiest to Research Person and Event|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 [[Guessing a Record Type to Use|decide what types of records are likely to contain that information]].  
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Most microfilm and microfiche records can be sent to your nearest [[Introduction to LDS Family History Centers|FamilySearch Center]]. If a particular item is available at another FamilySearch Center besides the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, then a pull-down menu will indicate the locations where the item is available.
  
== Which Catalog Search Should I Try?  ==
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=== Where Is the Catalog Found===
  
The type of search you should do is determined by the kind of catalog entries or records you want to find. Click on the name of each search to learn more.  
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The [https://familysearch.org/catalog-search FamilySearch Catalog] is available on the Internet at the&nbsp;[https://familysearch.org/ FamilySearch.org] splash page under the '''Search''' tab. Previous versions of the catalog were released on compact disc and on microfiche, but those versions are significantly outdated, and do not list films acquired after the publication date on the disc or microfiche.<br>
  
Use the following table to determine what type of search to do:  
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[[Image:Logo wcmasthead en.png|right|96px|Logo wcmasthead en.png]]Also, the FamilySearch Catalog has been made available via [[WorldCat Online Catalog|OCLC WorldCat]]<ref>[http://www.worldcat.org/ Official website of OCLC WorldCat].</ref> since 2014. OCLC WorldCat is an online union catalog of over 2 billion titles at 72,000 libraries<ref>For list of the small portion of those libraries which have a descriptive page in this Wiki, see the [[:Category:WorldCat libraries]].</ref> in 172 countries and territories. Although it is the world’s largest bibliographic database for materials held around the world, OCLC WorldCat does not list sources housed in repositories outside their consortium.
  
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=== Preparation  ===
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Before you use the FamilySearch Catalog, it helps to [[Guessing the Easiest to Research Person and Event|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 [[Guessing a Record Type to Use|decide what types of records are likely to contain that information]].
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=== Which Catalog Search Should I Try?  ===
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[[Image:{{FSCSeaBut}}]]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. <br><br>
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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.
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|-
 
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'''[[Family History Library Catalog Place-name Search|Place-name Search]]'''  
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'''[[FamilySearch Catalog Places Search|Place Search]]'''  
  
 
|  
 
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|-
 
|-
 
|  
 
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'''[[Family History Library Catalog Surname Search|Surname Search]]'''  
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'''[[FamilySearch Catalog Surnames Search|Surnames Search]]'''  
  
 
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|-
 
|-
 
|  
 
|  
'''[[Family History Library Catalog Keyword Search|Keyword Search]]'''  
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'''[[FamilySearch Catalog Titles Search|Titles Search]]'''  
  
 
|  
 
|  
Get a record using any words or phrases in significant parts of its catalog entry.&nbsp;
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Find a record by its title.  
  
 
|-
 
|-
 
|  
 
|  
'''[[Family History Library Catalog Title Search|Title Search]]'''  
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'''[[FamilySearch Catalog Authors Search|Author Search]]'''  
  
 
|  
 
|  
Find&nbsp;a record by its title.  
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To find the works of an author by his name (individual or corporate).  
  
 
|-
 
|-
 
|  
 
|  
'''[[Family History Library Catalog Film or Fiche Search|Film/Fiche Search]]'''  
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'''[[FamilySearch Catalog Subjects Search|Subjects Search]]'''  
  
 
|  
 
|  
See&nbsp;catalog details&nbsp;by finding the Library's microfilm or microfiche number.&nbsp;
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To discover works based on the topics they cover.  
  
 
|-
 
|-
 
|  
 
|  
'''[[Family History Library Catalog Author Search|Author Search]]'''  
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'''[[FamilySearch Catalog Keywords Search|Keywords Search]]'''  
  
 
|  
 
|  
To find the works of an author by his name (individual or corporate).  
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Get a record using any words or phrases in significant parts of its catalog entry.&nbsp;
  
 
|-
 
|-
 
|  
 
|  
'''[[Family History Library Catalog Subject Search|Subject Search]]'''  
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'''[[FamilySearch Catalog Call Number Search|Call Number Search]]'''  
  
 
|  
 
|  
To discover works based on the topics they cover.  
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See catalog entries by finding their book, compact disc, or pedigree call number.  
  
 
|-
 
|-
 
|  
 
|  
'''[[Family History Library Catalog Call Number Search|Call Number Search]]'''  
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'''[[FamilySearch Catalog Film/Fiche Number Search|Film/Fiche Number Search]]'''  
  
 
|  
 
|  
See catalog entries by finding&nbsp;their book, compact disc, or pedigree call number.
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See catalog details by finding the Library's microfilm or microfiche number.&nbsp;  
  
 
|}
 
|}
  
== When It's Not in the Catalog  ==
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When you want to change to a new kind of search it helps to close the old search first. Close the old search by clicking the "X" in the upper right corner of the area around the search box. Then click on the new search type to open that kind of search.
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Another way to close an old search is to click on the name of that type of search, for example, ''Places''.
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=== Combined Searches  ===
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<div style="float: left; width: 100%">
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[[Image:{{FSCComSea}}]]You can also combine two or more FamilySearch Catalog searches if a single search alone yields too many results to be practical. For example, you could combine a '''Surnames Search''' and a '''Keywords Search'''. First close all the other search types. Then click the ''Surnames&nbsp;'' and the ''Keywords&nbsp;'' searches. A search for "Smith" in the ''Surnames Search&nbsp;'' yields over 4,000 results. But combined with the ''Keywords Search&nbsp;'' for the phrase "Philadelphia cave" this combination returns only one result.<br><br>
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Combining ''Surnames&nbsp;'' and ''Keywords&nbsp;'' searches for a family name and a state where they lived is often a successful strategy. "Smith" in the ''Surnames&nbsp;'' field and combined with "Hawaii" in the ''Keywords&nbsp;'' field will yield a manageable 52 results.
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=== When It's Not in the Catalog  ===
  
'''Before concluding it is not in the FamilySearch Catalog''' try the following strategies:  
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'''Before concluding that something is not in the FamilySearch Catalog''', try the following strategies:  
  
*Look again in Surname Search for [[Guessing a Name Variation|variations of the family name]].<br>
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*Search under another jurisdiction in a Places Search. For example, if there are no results for your topic on the county level, try searching again under the town, state, or national jurisdiction levels, or in neighboring counties and towns. If your ancestor lived in Cleveland, Ohio, you would make a place search for Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and Ohio.<br>
*Change the jurisdiction in Place Search. For example, if it is not at the county level, try again under the town, state, or national levels, or in neighboring counties and towns.<br>  
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*Look again in Surnames Search for [[Guessing a Name Variation|variations of the family name]].<br>  
*Try a variety of searches. Use a Keyword Search, Subject Search, Author Search, or Title Search.  
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*Try a variety of searches. Use a Keywords Search, Subjects Search, Authors Search, or Titles Search.  
*Try again later. The Family History Library is constantly acquiring new materials.
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*Try again later. FamilySearch is constantly acquiring new materials.
  
 
'''Try other repositories.''' Many other libraries and archives have information about ancestors. Try their online catalogs to see if they have what you need. For example, try catalogs like the [http://worldcat.org/ WorldCat] (world's largest network of online content and services), or the [http://www.dar.org/library/onlinlib.cfm Daughters of the American Revolution Online Library Catalog].  
 
'''Try other repositories.''' Many other libraries and archives have information about ancestors. Try their online catalogs to see if they have what you need. For example, try catalogs like the [http://worldcat.org/ WorldCat] (world's largest network of online content and services), or the [http://www.dar.org/library/onlinlib.cfm Daughters of the American Revolution Online Library Catalog].  
  
If a repository's catalog is not online, try contacting them by phone or mail to learn if they have records about an ancestor. For a directory of U.S. historical genealogical societies see http://[http://www.obitlinkspage.com/hs/index.html www.obitlinkspage.com/hs/index.html]&nbsp; For a list of various kinds of libraries and archives try [http://dir.yahoo.com/Reference/Libraries/ dir.yahoo.com/Reference/Libraries/]
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If a repository's catalog is not online, try contacting them by phone or mail to learn if they have records about an ancestor. For a directory of U.S. historical genealogical societies see http://[http://www.obitlinkspage.com/hs/index.html www.obitlinkspage.com/hs/index.html].  
  
'''Search the Internet.''' Many records are being digitized and put on the Internet. Search engines like [http://www.google.com/ Google], or [http://www.yahoo.com/ Yahoo] can help locate information. Also the [[Family History Library Internet Favorites|Family History Library Internet Favorites]] can help find useful genealogical Internet sites.  
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<br> '''Search the Internet.''' Many records are being digitized and put on the Internet. In FamilySearch's '''[https://familysearch.org/search Historical Records Collections]''' you will find billions of names across hundreds of [[Family History Library]] collections including birth, marriage, death, probate, land, military, Ancestral File, and the International Genealogical Index. Also, search engines like [http://www.google.com/ Google], or [http://www.yahoo.com/ Yahoo] can help locate many other historical sources available on the Internet.
  
== Related Content  ==
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=== Related Content  ===
  
*[[Abbreviations in the Family History Library Catalog|Abbreviations in the FamilySearch Catalog]]  
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*[[Abbreviations in the FamilySearch Catalog|Abbreviations in the FamilySearch Catalog]]  
*[[Deciphering Family History Library Catalog Entries|Deciphering FamilySearch Catalog Entries]]  
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*[[Deciphering FamilySearch Catalog Entries|Deciphering FamilySearch Catalog Entries]]  
 
*[[Locality Subject Subdivisions|FamilySearch Catalog Locality Subject Subdivisons]]  
 
*[[Locality Subject Subdivisions|FamilySearch Catalog Locality Subject Subdivisons]]  
*[https://fch.ldschurch.org/WWSupport/Courses/LibraryCatalogOverview/Catalog%20Overview/player.html FamilySearch Catalog Overview] (11 minute online video)
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*[[FamilySearch Catalog Places Search]]&nbsp;
 +
 
 +
=== References  ===
  
<br> ''[[Introduction to the Family History Library Catalog\Top of page|Introduction to the FamilySearch Catalog\Top of page]] &nbsp;&lt; &nbsp;Previous&nbsp; | &nbsp;Next&nbsp; &gt;&nbsp; [[Family History Library Catalog Place Search|Place Search]]''
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{{reflist}}
  
[[Category:Family_History_Library_Catalog|FamilySearch_Catalog]] [[Category:Online_library_catalogs|Online_library_catalogs]] [[Category:FamilySearch_Research_Classes_Online]]
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{{FamilySearch Catalog}}
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{{featured article}}{{-}} </div>
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[[Category:FamilySearch_Catalog]] [[Category:FamilySearch_Research_Classes_Online]]

Latest revision as of 20:55, 20 July 2016

What Is the FamilySearch Catalog?

The FamilySearch Catalog (formerly Family History Library Catalog) describes genealogical resources held by FamilySearch.org, the Family History Library, and selected FamilySearch Centers.

The Catalog is a guide to birth, marriage, and death records; census records; church registers; books; periodicals; family histories and many other records that contain genealogical information. These records may be searchable online, on microfiche or microfilm, in a book or in a computer file.

Some entries in the FamilySearch Catalog include 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

Most microfilm and microfiche records can be sent to your nearest FamilySearch Center. If a particular item is available at another FamilySearch Center besides the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, then a pull-down menu will indicate the locations where the item is available.

Where Is the Catalog Found?

The FamilySearch Catalog is available on the Internet at the FamilySearch.org splash page under the Search tab. Previous versions of the catalog were released on compact disc and on microfiche, but those versions are significantly outdated, and do not list films acquired after the publication date on the disc or microfiche.

Logo wcmasthead en.png
Also, the FamilySearch Catalog has been made available via OCLC WorldCat[1] since 2014. OCLC WorldCat is an online union catalog of over 2 billion titles at 72,000 libraries[2] in 172 countries and territories. Although it is the world’s largest bibliographic database for materials held around the world, OCLC WorldCat does not list sources housed in repositories outside their consortium.

Preparation

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.

Which Catalog Search Should I Try?

FamilySearch Catalog Search Buttons.jpg
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

Look for a record by the name of a place (locality) where an ancestor lived.

Surnames Search

Find family histories (and more) by a particular family name.

Titles Search

Find a record by its title.

Author Search

To find the works of an author by his name (individual or corporate).

Subjects Search

To discover works based on the topics they cover.

Keywords Search

Get a record using any words or phrases in significant parts of its catalog entry. 

Call Number Search

See catalog entries by finding their book, compact disc, or pedigree call number.

Film/Fiche Number Search

See catalog details by finding the Library's microfilm or microfiche number. 

When you want to change to a new kind of search it helps to close the old search first. Close the old search by clicking the "X" in the upper right corner of the area around the search box. Then click on the new search type to open that kind of search.

Another way to close an old search is to click on the name of that type of search, for example, Places.

Combined Searches

FSC Combined Search.png
You can also combine two or more FamilySearch Catalog searches if a single search alone yields too many results to be practical. For example, you could combine a Surnames Search and a Keywords Search. First close all the other search types. Then click the Surnames  and the Keywords  searches. A search for "Smith" in the Surnames Search  yields over 4,000 results. But combined with the Keywords Search  for the phrase "Philadelphia cave" this combination returns only one result.

Combining Surnames  and Keywords  searches for a family name and a state where they lived is often a successful strategy. "Smith" in the Surnames  field and combined with "Hawaii" in the Keywords  field will yield a manageable 52 results.

When It's Not in the Catalog

Before concluding that something is not in the FamilySearch Catalog, try the following strategies:

  • Search under another jurisdiction in a Places Search. For example, if there are no results for your topic on the county level, try searching again under the town, state, or national jurisdiction levels, or in neighboring counties and towns. If your ancestor lived in Cleveland, Ohio, you would make a place search for Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and Ohio.
  • Look again in Surnames Search for variations of the family name.
  • Try a variety of searches. Use a Keywords Search, Subjects Search, Authors Search, or Titles Search.
  • Try again later. FamilySearch is constantly acquiring new materials.

Try other repositories. Many other libraries and archives have information about ancestors. Try their online catalogs to see if they have what you need. For example, try catalogs like the WorldCat (world's largest network of online content and services), or the Daughters of the American Revolution Online Library Catalog.

If a repository's catalog is not online, try contacting them by phone or mail to learn if they have records about an ancestor. For a directory of U.S. historical genealogical societies see http://www.obitlinkspage.com/hs/index.html.


Search the Internet. Many records are being digitized and put on the Internet. In FamilySearch's Historical Records Collections you will find billions of names across hundreds of Family History Library collections including birth, marriage, death, probate, land, military, Ancestral File, and the International Genealogical Index. Also, search engines like Google, or Yahoo can help locate many other historical sources available on the Internet.

Related Content

References

  1. Official website of OCLC WorldCat.
  2. For list of the small portion of those libraries which have a descriptive page in this Wiki, see the Category:WorldCat libraries.