BYU-FHL Digital Book Collection
Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and the Family History Library are collaborating to scan family and local histories and make them available online for free. As of February 2010, there are more than 60,000 works in this digitized collection. Go to the Family History Archives site to find the collection.
The Family History Archive is a collection of published genealogy and family history books. The archive includes primarily histories of families, along with county and local histories, how-to books on genealogy, genealogy magazines and periodicals (including some international), Medieval books (including histories and pedigrees), as well as gazetteers.
The Family History Archive also includes some specialized collections such as the Filipino card collection from BYU-Hawaii and the “Liahona Elders Journal.”
The books come from the collections of the FamilySearch Family History Library, the Allen County Public Library (Fort Wayne, Indiana), Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research (part of the Houston Public Library), the Mid-Continent Public Library's Midwest Genealogy Center (Independence, Missouri), the BYU Harold B. Lee Library (Provo, Utah), the BYU-Hawaii Joseph F. Smith Library (Laie, Hawaii), and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Church History Library (Salt Lake City, Utah).
Searching for Family Histories and Genealogies
When you search the Family History Library Catalog, and find a family or local history book of interest, open the record and read the notes. If you see a red highlighted message, “To view a digital version of this book click here”, the work has been digitized by BYU. Follow the link to see the digital copy.
Although you can search for family histories and genealogies in the Family History Library Catalog, you may have to browse through many screens to learn whether the works you find are digitized. For this reason, consider searching BYU's Family History Archives
- Type your ancestor's last name in the Surname field.
- Click Search.
- Click a title or thumbnail image to view a digital copy of a book.
Tip: If your ancestor's surname is common, such as Smith, type the surname into the Title field instead of the Surname field.
Searching for Local Histories (Town, County, and State Histories)
You can search for local histories using the Family History Library Catalog.
- Go towww.familysearch.org
- Click Place Search.
- Type a locality.
- Click Search.
- On the Place Search Results screen, click the locality that most closely matches the one you want.
- Click the topic History.
- Click a title to read the notes and see if there is a link.3
Tips and Tricks for Searching the Family History Archive
- Leave out the conjunctions when using the Title Search -- Using words like “AND”, “OR” and “NOT” in the will negate your search terms. Try Searching for “Ancestors Heman Hyde Polly” instead of “The Ancestors of Heman Hyde and Polly Wyman Tilton”
- Boolean Searching does not work in the Family History Archives.
- The easiest way to Navigate within a book is by using the Previous Page : Next Page buttons on the Menu.
- When viewing a digital book try turning the Menu Off to optimize your screen space for a better view of the book.
- Digital titles are “hot-linked” in the Family History Library Catalog.
The Family History Archive can be accessed directly from the FamilySearch web site. Go to "Search Records" then "Historical Books". This will take you directly to the Home Page for the "Digital Book Collection".
You can also access the Digital Book Collection at www.familyhistoryarchive.byu.edu .