Using the FamilySearch Catalog
The Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) is the key to the vast collection of microfilm, microfiche, and printed volumes at the Family History Library. Therefore effective use of the catalog increases the effective use of the collection.
Most of the records described in the Family History Library Catalog are from the United States, Canada, the British Isles, Europe, Central America, and South America with many from Asia and the Pacific islands. The records mostly range from the mid-1900s back to the 1300s.
Where to find the FHLC
• Search all jurisdictions
- - If a record contains information for two or more towns the record will be found on the county level.
- - If a record contains information for two or more counties the record will be found on the state level.
- - If a record contains information for two or more states the record will be found on the country level.
• If part of a place name has the word Saint or Mount, and you get zero results, try St. or Mt.
• For non-English place names, usually the non-English name will be used in the catalog.
• Do not type the word 'county' when doing a place search or you will get zero results.
- - Determine the ancestry of a county. You need to determine which county was over the area where your ancestor lived when the ancestor lived there. See Map Guide to the U.S. Federal Censuses, 1790-1920 or Ancestry's Red Book : American State, County & Town Sources.
• Records may be cataloged under different topics or they may also be part of a collection with other types of records. For example,
- - Divorces may be cataloged with the topics of divorces or court records or vital records.
- - Obituaries may be cataloged with the topics of obituaries or newspapers.
- - Guardianships may be cataloged with the topics of guardianship, probate records or court records.
• The topic of 'Church records' is only used for Christian religions, never for Jewish, Islamic, or Shinto records.
• Try spelling variations for a surname.
• Look for related family surnames also. For many years, only 7-10 surnames were used for a book even if more surnames appear in it.
General Tips • If the catalog shows multiple pages for a search result or a film list, scroll to the bottom of the first page and put an estimate in the box for Get Records.
• Use Ctrl F to search a page for a word or number, such as a film number.
Old Film Numbers • Find the current film number for:
- - F F.H. 76
- - F Gs. 26
- - F Me.W 22b pt.2
Old Book Numbers • Find the current call number for:
- - 929.273 B728b
- - P.B. 633
- - P.B.A. #1120
- - 403.43 H113h
Find and print the catalog entry for:
- 1. Saint Albans, Vermont town records
2. Divorces for Albany, Albany, New York
- 3. Death vital records for Pearl City, Hawaii for a death in 1919
- 4. A New Amsterdam history by Davis