FamilySearch Catalog Surnames Search

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How to search the Family History Library Catalog by Surname.

Use a Surname Search to find a work about a specific family or person, such as a:

However, the Author Search is better for finding an author by surname.

Steps to Search by Surname

  1. Go to
  2. Click the Family History Library Catalog link under the heading Search Genealogy Records & Library.
  3. Click Surname Search.
  4. Type a surname.
  5. Click Search.
  6. Click the surname that matches the one you want.
  7. Click a title to see more details. The record may be in a book or on a film.
  8. Click View Film Notes (if any) to see a film number.

Strategies for Using a Surname Search

This search mainly finds family histories.

Library catalogers usually add to the Surname Search about four surnames from families that marry into the main family for a typical family history. For example, Blackburns Today and Yesterday is also listed under the following names: BARRON, BRIDGES, DAVIS, and FRAZIER. For especially long family histories many more names would usually be listed.

The more of a surname you type as a search term, the smaller the results list will be. Since many surnames have spelling variations, you may want to broaden your search. To do this, you can:

Type only part of the surname. (This is called truncating your search.) For example, if you type Newcombe as your search term, the computer will find only that spelling of the name. However, if you type Newcom as your search term, the computer will find any surname that begins with those letters, including Newcom, Newcomb, Newcome, Newcombe, and so forth.

To find surnames that are mentioned in an entry but not listed as a subject, use a Keyword Search.

How Do I Understand the Results of a Surname Search?

A Surname Search results in a list of:

  • Titles of catalog entries tied to surnames that match your search.
  • Surnames that match your search.