How do I search the Catalog for records?

The FamilySearch Catalog is a guide to many kinds of records that contain genealogical information. Records can be searchable online, or using physical materials at the FamilySearch Library.

The catalog is available on FamilySearch. Previous versions of the catalog were released on compact disc and on microfiche. The CD and fiche versions are outdated.

Also, the Catalog has been made available through OCLC WorldCat since 2014. OCLC WorldCat is an online union catalog of over 2 billion titles at 72,000 libraries in 172 countries and territories. OCLC WorldCat lists sources housed in member repositories.

Steps (website)

  1. Sign in to FamilySearch.
  2. In the menu banner at the top of the screen, click Search.
  3. In the drop-down menu, click Catalog.
  4. Narrow your search. You can use as many filters as you want.
    • Place: As you type, the system shows possible matches. Click the one that matches the place of interest.
      • If you do not see any search results for the city you are looking for, add more information. The system needs enough information to be able to isolate a place geographically. A city name, however unique, is not enough information. Adding a county or province is often enough information that the system can isolate the place. City and country can work if the country only has one city with the name.
    • Surname: Finds catalog entries that contain the name. If you do not see good results, consider these alternative searches:
      • Enter the name in a keyword search.
      • To find biographies and autobiographies, try an author search.
      • Search using alternate spellings for the name. 
    • Titles: Searches for the words you enter wherever they are in the title. You do not need to know the exact order.
    • Author: Enter the first and last name.
    • Subjects: Enter a word or group of words to describe a research subject. The system searches catalog subjects for the words that you entered. If you do not find the results you expected, try a keyword search.
    • Keywords: Searches the following fields for the keywords that you enter.
      • Notes (including film notes)
      • Series
      • Subjects
      • Statement of Responsibility
      • Authors
      • Title
    • Call Number
    • Image Group Number (DGS) or Fiche Number: Do not enter any leading zeros.
  5. Enter information into the fields that you chose.
  6. To further filter your search results, choose an option under Availability.
    1. To see only records that you can view online, click beside Online.​
    2. To look for a microfilm at a specific FamilySearch center, click beside FamilySearch Center. Then click a center in the list.
  7. Click Search.
  8. In the search results, click a subject to see more details:
    • Publication information is at the top.
    • Notes provide additional record information and can include a link to digital content.
    • Film/Digital Notes and Copies provide microfilm or microfiche numbers, Image Group Number (DGS), and available formats. Entries for physical books show where the book is in the FamilySearch Library.
      • Some entries have a message: "This FamilySearch center has [number] of [number] films or fiche." The message refers to physical copies of microfilms or microfiche, not to digital images. By default, it lists the numbers for the FamilySearch Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. To see other facilities that have copies, click the down arrow.
        The Film/Digital Notes section uses several icons:
        • Magnifying glass icon: Some portion of the record is indexed. Some indexes are restricted. You cannot search restricted indexes.
          • If you see a magnifying glass icon, but clicking produces no search results, the index is restricted. We apologize for the inconvenience. Certain record custodians restrict the indexes. We are unable to hide the index icon for restricted images.
        • Camera icon: Browse a digitized film. 
        • Camera icon with key: Browse a digitized film, but viewing restrictions apply.
        • Film reel icon: The digital images are not available online. A microfilm version exists.

Steps (mobile app)

The Catalog feature is not available on the Family Tree mobile app.  

Steps (Family Tree Lite)

The Catalog feature is not available on Family Tree Lite.

What are Notes or Film/Digital Notes in the Catalog?
Getting the Most from Your Search: Understanding the Search Records Page

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