Use Google Books to Get Free Copies of Pages of Family History Library Books

Family History Library IP Approved

Earlier this year, FamilySearch announced a free lookup service for genealogy books and microfilm available at the renowned Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The response was overwhelming, 1000s of people contacted us to take advantage of this free service. Another way to utilize this service is to start with limited preview Google Books and get us to scan the entire page and email it to you for free.

Let's walk through the process.

First, start on Google Books:

Search for the name of an ancestor:




Google has scanned millions of books that are both (1) out of copyright and (2) still under copyright. If you happen to find a book that is out of copyright, i.e. published before 1923, you'll usually be able to read the entire book for free online and you do not need to use FamilySearch's free lookup service. For books still under copyright, i.e. published since 1923, Google Books often provides a "snippet view" (see below).

You cannot see the entire book online, only a snippet. What do you do if you want to see the entire page, or several pages from the book? Our answer -- use FamilySearch's free lookup service.

If you find a reference to your ancestor in pages that cannot be viewed, make a note of the:

  1. Name of the Individual (as it appears in the book)
  2. Book Title
  3. Page Number(s)

Second, check the Family History Library Catalog to see if that book is available in our collection:

Make a note of the Call Number.

Third, if the book is available in our collection, complete our online Photoduplication Request form:

Within a short period of time, you'll receive an email that includes a scanned copy of that page. Make up to five requests per person per week. Sit back in your recliner, put your feet up, and let us do the work for you.

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