The Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah is expanding its hours. Beginning Monday June 6 our library hours will be as follows: Monday's & Friday-Saturday - 9:00am-6:00pm and Tuesday-Thursday - 9:00am-8:00pm. Further information will be updated on the FamilySearch newsroom.
Searching the Library Catalog

The FamilySearch Catalog is the gateway to discover resources at FamilySearch and the Family History Library.

Entries in the Catalog include digital images as well as books, microfilm, and other resources. Digital items are marked with a camera icon. For physical items, the Catalog describes where they are located. The FamilySearch Catalog is found at under the Search tab.

How do I search the Catalog?

There are eight ways to search the FamilySearch Catalog:

Place SearchLook for a record by the name of a place (locality) where an ancestor lived.
Surnames SearchFind family histories (and more) by a particular family name.
Titles SearchLocate a record by searching for its title.
Author SearchFind the works of an author by his or her name (individual or corporate).
Subjects SearchDiscover works based on the topics they cover.
Keywords SearchSearch for collections using words or phrases likely to be in a Catalog entry.
Call Number SearchSee Catalog entries by searching for their book, compact disc, or pedigree call number.
Film/Fiche/Image Group Number (DGS) SearchSearch for a microfilm, microfiche, or DGS number.
How do I combine searches?

You can combine two or more search types. For example, you could combine a Place Search and a Keywords Search. Open the Place and the Keywords searches. Searching for "Chicago" in the Place field yields around 700 results. Combining it with "St. Mary's" in the Keywords field returns fewer than 20 results.

Combining Surnames and Keywords searches for a family name and a state where they lived is often a successful strategy. "Smith" in the Surnames field combined with "Hawaii" in the Keywords field yields a manageable list of just over 50 results.

What if it's not in the Catalog?

Before concluding that something is not in the FamilySearch Catalog, try the following strategies:

  • Search all jurisdictions, both modern and historical.
  • Search for variations of the family surname.
  • Try different types of searches. Use a Keywords Search, Subjects Search, Authors Search, or Titles Search.

FamilySearch does not have every genealogical record available. If you are not finding what you are looking for, you can:

  • Try the FamilySearch Research Wiki. The Wiki provides information about other libraries and archives that may have records about your ancestors. Search the Wiki for each jurisdiction where your ancestor lived.
  • Search the Internet. Many records are being digitized and put onto various websites. Look for record types such as newspapers; historical or genealogical societies; or a state, provincial, or national archive.
Watch a tutorial

The following is a video tutorial on how to use the Catalog: