Is Your Family in the Updated Digital Library?

April 5, 2019  - by 
Mom and son looking at family history books online.

Where can you go to find more information about your family? Have you ever tried the FamilySearch Digital Library?

The digital library on is a powerful resource for finding family history books and learning about families and places all over the world. Although the digital library has been around for awhile, new changes and updates have made it easier than ever to find exciting and enriching details for your family story.

Why the Change?

Looking at new features in the FamilySearch digital library.

The new FamilySearch Digital Library system provides a more modern searching and viewing experience. It is easier than ever to type in your family names, locate a book or publication, and quickly find information you’re looking for.

The new system includes the following:

  • Digital books that are full-text searchable.
  • Filterable search results to help you focus quickly on the most relevant books.
  • Images and pages that load quickly.
  • Options for users to adjust the size, contrast, and orientation of an image to read documents more easily.
  • Digital page turning that feels more like a real book.
  • A new look and feel to the library as a whole!

What Can You Find in the FamilySearch Digital Library?

The FamilySearch Digital Library offers a collection of more than 440,000 digitized genealogy and family history books and publications. Here, you can dive into family histories, county and local histories, genealogy magazines, gazetteers, and even medieval histories and pedigrees!

How to Access the Digital Library

Visit, and click Search in the top menu. Then, in the drop-down menu, click Books. You can also go directly to the new URL— The content of the digital library is freely viewable, but you may need to create a free FamilySearch account and sign in to view images. On the home page of the digital library, you will see a simple search bar. Here, you can type in a surname, historical events, groups of people, or names of places. Go ahead! Try typing in one of the surnames from your family tree now! Then, click Search.

Searching for a family history book. FamilySearch Digital Library.

Using the Digital Library

To test the updated digital library, I searched my own surname—Bowser. In the list of publications, I was happy to find a book about my Bowser family titled The Bowser Family History.

To view the digital images of the book, I clicked the title of the book.

Clicking on the title of a family history book.

The next screen showed me the details of the book. Then, to see the book, I clicked View All Pages.

View all pages in a book from the FamilySearch digital library.

When you are looking at a book, an information panel shows on the left. The book pages are shown on the right.

FamilySearch digital library book interface.

You can click the left or right arrows to turn the pages of the book.

You will notice that the toolbar across the bottom of the screen has several icons. To learn what they do, hover your mouse over each one. You can open and close the information window, change how the pages turn, view pages side-by-side, and toggle other viewing options. You can also zoom in, zoom out, adjust the contrast, and more to read images better. The new FamilySearch Digital Library interface is very user friendly!

While reading a book, you can also search the text of the book by clicking the search icon in the toolbar. This search can help you quickly narrow down the pages that might have your family information. I know that my Bowser family lived in Ohio. When I typed “Ohio” in the search field, the system pulled up 60 results in this book.

Search within a family history book from the FamilySearch digital library.

So what are you waiting for? Search for your family in the digital books and publications at the FamilySearch Digital Library, and, in the comments below, let us know what you found.

Amie Tennant

Amie Bowser Tennant is a genealogy researcher, writer and presenter.She writes blog articles and other content for many top companies and societies in the genealogy field. Her most treasured experience is working as a consultant for family history. Amie lives with her husband and three children in Ohio, surrounded by many of her extended family.

Latest posts by Amie Tennant (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. In the FAmily History Libraray there is a book that was written by a fampus person where my mom’s family come from. I tried to get a copy of the book but the people thata has the book doesn’t want to share. It is possible through the digital library to find the book and doanload a copy? If not is there any way I can request a copy of it?
    Thank you for all the work you do. I am amazing with all the new resources. Genealogy is getting more easier and interesting everyday.

  2. I made a little history/info 1 page on my family in a town I moved into years ago. Not knowing it was going to be digitalize. Some info out of date, miss spelling, etc. How can I remove or update with correct information??

  3. Most of the books I wish to search are marked “private” or “protected”. When I try to open them I find they can not be read on line due to copy right. If they can not be read here, why include them or am I missing something? Any help will be appreciated. Thank you.

    1. If you change the Access Level to public, you will be able to read all of the results that return! They are trying to sort out some copyright issues, which is why you can’t see everything. At the very least, your searches in private and protected help you learn of books that have information in them that you want, and you can take the next step of finding the physical book. It is a bummer, though.

  4. My G Grandfather, Owin Clark b1850 +-, migrated from Edinburgh, Scotland (Dunfermline) area to Scranton PA area in approx 1885. He worked in the coal mines. In approximately 1895 he and his wife and two younger sons moved back to Scotland. They left my grandmother Elizabeth Clark to live with relatives in St Louis, MO. We lost contact with the Owen Clark family when they moved back to Scotland. I have found several Owin Clark in Scotland in that time frame. I am trying to locate where the Clark’s moved back to and where the family may be today.

  5. Are you planning to provide a way to attach these items as Sources in a person’s Family Tree record when the items aren’t under copyright?

    1. When you click on a result, but before you go into the book (you want the page that has the thumbnail on the left and the “View XXX Pages” link below that), you can click Share, then Copy Link. Copy the link, then go to Family Search and use that link as a Source! Would be nice to have a way to do it automatically, but until then, this method also works great.

  6. I have a book titled
    The Buzbee-Caple Genealogy
    I believe this might be a good addition to the Digital Library. How can I get ir digitized so other can have access to it?
    I will be in SLC August 22-25 and plan on bringing the book with me.

  7. I did a search on surname “Collings”, hoping to find the “Collings Family History” which I gave to the Family History Library a couple years ago. In the past I have found it in the catalogue, but in the Digital Library, I got no results. Why?

  8. I think I have found a book on the Marx story, but it is in german but when I click on translate, it doesn’t translate to english altho it says it will, am I doing something wrong? Identifier 2622131, creator Marx, Jeffrey A 1953

    1. I’m a little confused. When I go to that book, it is in English, not German. I’d love to help, but I’m not sure what the problem actually is. Can you tell me what page you’re looking at that’s in German?

  9. help” finding Clouse clan book by Pretta Clouse Franklin or other source”s of info on clouse family sincerly charles clouse

  10. Seems good but the best looking books are protected. I can’t find print copies of them so it’s frustrating. We have the book you want… but you can’t look at it. It might talk about my family but I guess I will never know. Suggestion… if a book is protected and there is no way to access it then don’t show it to me!

  11. I have missed placed my familys clouse book by prettia clouse of sparta tn hoping to get another one Sincerly yours charles clouse

  12. I have followed the above process to access a ‘book’ via familysearch, all I get is a bouncing web site. I have also tried several different browsers, ie. CHROME, Firefox and Safari and had the same results.
    WHAT is wrong with the website for this search feature

  13. Inwould like to borrow the following:[Whitehurst] Hughes, Gail Whitehurst. Whitehurst Genealogy. Adel, Ga.: G.W. Hughes, 1989. FHL FAM HIST Book 929.273 W587h.

    1. Hi Marilyn! Thank you for your interest in this book. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is currently closed and therefore unable to help you look at the book or the associated microfiche. You can check the other locations that have the book available via WorldCat to see if these locations are currently open.