©2013 by Donald R. Snow
This page was last updated 2013-04-08.
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  1. Instructor is Donald R. Snow ( ) of Provo and St. George, Utah.
  2. These notes with the active Internet links are posted on  .
  3. Tips:  (1)  Put an icon on your desktop for this (or any) URL by dragging the icon from in front of the address in the browser to your desktop.  (2)  To keep your place in these notes while going to a link from them hold down the Control key while clicking the link to open the new page in another tab.
  4. Don's classes coming up
    1. Tues 2013-04-09 1-2:30 PM -- Your Personal Genealogy Library: Family History Books Online -- FH Update Class, St. George
    2. Sat 2013-04-20 10-11:30 am -- Some Things I Learned At RootsTech 2013, 21-23 Mar 2013, Salt Palace, Salt Lake City, Utah -- panel discussion at DIG (Dixie Internet Genealogy) at St. George FamilySearch Library
    3. Tues 2013-04-23 1-2:30 PM -- Genealogy a la Google -- Family History Update Class, St. George
  5. This presentation will discuss how to find and use full-text family history books on the Internet.


  7. Most online books are in Adobe's pdf (Portable Document Format) which can be read with free programs such as Adobe Reader Nitro Reader , and many others
  8. Forms of pdf 
    1. pdf with a text layer
      1. Usually generated by a program such as LibreOffice, OpenOffice, or Word when the file is saved as pdf
      2. Has a "layer" that shows the text
      3. Format used by many organizations, including the LDS Church on , for magazines, manuals, and handbooks
      4. Can copy lines, paragraphs, or pages to paste elsewhere, e.g. into your genealogy data program
    2. pdf without a text layer
      1. Usually generated by a flatbed scanner, camera, or screen capture program -- scanned pdf's
      2. This is a picture of a printed page and was not generated from the text directly
      3. Does not have a text layer, so it is not searchable until you run an OCR program on it (Optical Character Recognition)
      4. Can copy and paste parts as images, but not text (see FastStone Capture mentioned below)
      5. Some flatbed scanners come with an OCR program -- check your manual
  9. Free OCR programs
    1. Commercial software is available to OCR and some libraries let you use it for free to OCR an entire book
    2. PDF X-Change Viewer, free for private use, now has OCR built in --
    3. JOCR -- free, small, fast, fairly accurate OCR program, but only OCR's screenshots and requires that MS Word 2003 or later be on your computer -- -- will not work with LibreOffice or OpenOffice which are freeware word processors compatible with Word
    4. NewOCR -- free online conversion to text -- -- some limitations
    5. After using OCR you can copy the text into your genealogy data program
  10. FastStone Capture 5.3 -- excellent free screen capture program to capture in various formats including pdf, jpg, and tif, so it can be OCR'd -- later versions after 5.3 are not free, but 5.3 is available from several websites including
  11. If your info is not already online, you can post it online for free at websites like Memorial Pages on  and then include links to it in your genealogy management program and FamilySearch Family Tree
  12. For FamilySearch Family Tree you can include links to books in your "Source Box" and then link them to people in FT


  14. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is digitizing and posting online out-of-copyright and permission-granted FH volumes from the FHL, the BYU Library, Allen County FH Library (Fort Wayne, Indiana), several other large FH libraries, and from personal collections -- You have to sign an agreement that you are the copyright holder
  15. FSC (FamilySearch Catalog) shows the words in red: "To view a digital version of this item click here." which takes you to the digitized book
  16. The Books icon on FamilySearch or  gives you search options to look for any words in any of their 40,000 digitized books -- more being added daily
  17. Many books can be read and/or downloaded by anyone anywhere -- Examples:  Valiant in the Faith: Gardner and Sarah Snow and Their Family, 1990  and A Blanchard Memorial by Arthur William Blanchard, 1935
  18. Other books can only be read and/or downloaded in the FHL or FS Libraries -- Example:  The Snow-Estes Ancestry by Nora Emma Snow and Myrtle M. Jillson can be downloaded at the St. George FSL 
  19. Books downloaded from FamilySearch include the text layer so they are completely word-searchable for any name, location, date, or word in the entire book -- Not the case with books downloaded from Google Books
  20. Can usually download any parts you want or else the entire book -- when downloading parts, you may have to rename each part so it doesn't overwrite previous ones
  21. BYU Library has many related online FH digital collections including books and photographs -- see and


  23. See Wikipedia article at
  24. Google has signed contracts with many large libraries to digitize books and post them online, including both full-text and partial text postings, and estimates it had scanned more than 20 million books as of March 2012 -- Most are already out of copyright or Google has permission to post those still in copyright
  25.  Google book searches
    1. Do a Google search for the name or the name in quotes for exact searches, e.g. "brigham young" -- Remember that caps are not required in Google
    2. At top of results screen click More > Books -- can also get to these screens directly at
    3. Now click on Search Tools > Any Books > Free Google eBooks -- results list is now just full-text books on Google that contain the search term; can click on any book and go through it hit-by-hit or page-by-page (see forward and back signs "< >" at top); note that search term is highlighted on page; can change search term to anything and see the hits
    4. To narrow your searches in other ways click on Search Tools button (next to More at top)
  26. Downloading Google Books
    1. Hovering your cursor over the red button labelled "EBOOK - FREE" (upper left side of a book screen) opens options of formats to download the book, e.g. pdf or for various types of eReaders
    2. Also when search terms are cleared you see download formats of Plain Text, pdf, or EPUB (for electronic readers) on upper right side
    3. Clicking on a download option brings up a Captsha to enter (safety device to be sure you are a human) so you can download the book
    4. Downloaded Google books don't include the text layer with the pdf and so are not searchable -- two ways around this
      1. Find the page number from your online search and then find it in your downloaded pdf -- can have Google open in one window and the pdf open in another window to do this
      2. OCR your downloaded pdf with some program so that it is searchable -- see earlier paragraph about how to do this
  27. When Google doesn't have permission to post the entire volume you only see a snippet of the page with the search term highlighted and information on where you can find or purchase the entire volume -- may still be able to find the full text book on some other website


  29. See Wikipedia article at -- Goals include preserving an electronic copy of every book ever published anywhere and preserving "snapshots" of the entire Internet every few days
  30. Is a major source of FH information -- -- for books click on Texts
  31. Has 4 1/2 million books scanned and links to many others on different websites -- many FH books -- scans 1000 books per day according to
  32. Their books are all searchable for any word, name, place, event, etc, and you can read them in your browser or download them in formats for various eReaders or pdf, text, etc.
  33. Their downloaded pdf's do have the text layer and so are searchable without OCR'ing, unlike Google's
  34. Internet Archive also sponsors
    1. -- a wiki where you can find information about books, their editions, libraries which have them, and where to buy hard copies - 20 million books listed so far
    2. The Wayback Machine -- "snapshots" of the entire Internet at various times since 1996 -- has old websites no longer on the Internet -- lots of good FH information from the past
    3. Also has archives of music, audio, video, and motion pictures


  35. See Encyclopedia of Genealogy article at -- article has pages with links of libraries in various US states with access to HQO
  36. HQO has 28,000 FH books in pdf format
    1. Can search entire collection online for any name, word, place, etc.
    2. Can download parts or entire book, but only up to 50 pages at a time -- so for an entire book you may need to save it in parts and assemble it later using a freeware program such as
    3. Downloaded books are not text searchable without OCR'ing, except Dollarhide's "The Census Book" is text searchable (download from the Help section, not the Books section)
  37. HQO also has all U.S. census images up through 1930 (but not all censuses indexed), Revolutionary War Records, PERSI (Periodical Source Index), and other records
  38. Many public libraries have subscriptions and allow patrons home access through the library's website by using their library card barcode -- examples in Utah are Provo, Orem, Washington County and Davis County public libraries -- all counties in Utah can use HQO through with their local public library card or an access code from their local library


  40. Digital Public Library of America -- -- Will launch 18-19 Apr 2013 and be an umbrella organization to list all online books of all organizations -- see articles  Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter  and  New York Times Review of Books 
  41. World Public Library --  -- more than 2 million book pdf's online
  42. WorldCat by OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) - -- searches library collections of 10,000 libraries worldwide 
  43. Project Gutenberg -- -- 42,000 free ebooks and an additional 100,000 through their affiliates
  44. Virtual Reference Shelf by the Library of Congress --
  45. University of Texas --
  46. University of Pennsylvania Library -- -- lots of early LDS books and periodicals
  47. World Vital Records --
  48. Mocavo -- -- Do a search, then click on Documents (left hand side)
  49. Feedbooks - Public Domain Books --
  50. Free History and Genealogy Books Online --
  51. Genealogy Book Links -- 
  52. List of 40 ebook websites --
  53. DjVu Books --
  54. FullBooks --
  55. Australia, South Pacific, and other locations --
  56. World E-Book Fair --
  57. --
  58. ReadPrint - Free Online Library --
  59. Forgotten Books Online --
  60. e-Books Directory -- -- many good pdf format text, math, science, and other books
  61. Electronic Texts list -- -- from Statewide Vision Resource Centre, Melbourne, Australia
  62. Online Books eTexts/eBooks --
  63. To find many other such websites do searches for things like “free online full-text books genealogy” (without the quotes) in search engines like


  65. Dick Eastman's OnlineGenealogy Newsletter --
  66. Beginner's Guide to e-Books --
  67. Kimberly Powell article on sources of online books --
  68. article on books online --
  69. USA Today article on Online Books (13 Jul 2010) -- 
  70. pdf Search Engine -- very helpful for genealogy
  71. e-Book Search Engines --
  72. Digital Book Index -- -- "A Union Catalog of Electronic Books, Texts, and Documents" -- Click on Search: Simple + Advanced and in the Query box type in something like "family history"
  73. University of Pennsylvania Online Books Page website -- -- major list of book websites and indexes
  74. Check all the websites for what you are looking, since no single site lists everything and the same book may be online in different format or easier to download from one website than another 


  76. The Internet has many very helpful genealogy books online and most can be searched, used, and downloaded for free.

Return to the Utah Valley Technology and Genealogy Group Home Page or Don Snow's Class Listings Page .