How do I search the Catalog for records?

The FamilySearch 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 catalog is available on FamilySearch. Previous versions of the catalog were released on compact disc and on microfiche, but those versions are significantly outdated and do not list films acquired after the publication date on the disc or microfiche.

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. 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.

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. Select any number of the filters to narrow your search:
    • Place: As you type, the system shows possible matches. Click the one that matches the place of interest.
    • Surname: Finds catalog entries that contain the name. If you do not see the results you expect, 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 you entered. If you do not find the results you expected, try a keyword search.
    • Keywords: Searches the following fields for the keywords you enter.
      • Notes (including film notes)
      • Series
      • Subjects
      • Statement of Responsibility
      • Authors
      • Title
    • Call Number
    • Film/Fiche Number:  Do not enter any leading zeros.
  5. Enter information into the fields you chose.
  6. You can further filter your search results selecting an option under Availability.
    1. To see only records you can view online, select Online.​
    2. To look for a microfilm at a specific family history center, select Family History Center. Then choose from the list of available centers.
  7. Click Search.
  8. In the search results, click a subject to see more details:
    • Publication information is at the top.
    • Notes provides additional record information and can include a link to digital content.
    • Film/Digital Notes and Copies provide microfilm or microfiche numbers and available book forms of the record.
      • A message shows to the right of Film/Digital Notes that says, "This family history center has [number] of [number] films/fiche." This is referring to physical copies of microfilms or microfiche, not to digital images. By default, it lists the numbers for the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Select from the Location drop-down menu to see the number of available copies for different facilities.
      • Be sure to contact a center to verify that the microfilm you want to view is still at the center before paying a visit.
      • The Film/Digital Notes section uses several icons:
        • Magnifying glass icon: Search an indexed, digitized collection.
          • Note: Be aware that this particular search may not search the entire digitized collection, only those items within the collection that have been indexed. In certain instances, only a small portion of the collection may be indexed. The only way to search the entire collection would be to view each digitized image individually. 
        • Camera icon: Browse a digitized film. 
        • Camera icon with key: Browse a digitized film, but viewing restrictions apply.
        • Film reel icon: Record is not yet available online. A microfilm version is at the listed location.

Steps (mobile app)

The Catalog feature is currently not available on the Family Tree mobile app. Visit the website to view our collection. 

Steps (Family Tree Lite)

The Catalog feature is currently not available on Family Tree Lite. Visit the full website to view our collection.

Related articles

What are Notes or Film/Digital Notes in the Catalog?


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