©2015 by Donald R. Snow
Sections of the Class Notes This page was last updated 2015-05-17
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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. Problem for today: Discuss the FamilySearch Catalog, books on the FamilySearch website, and the Family History Research Wiki

  6. Website is -- includes Family Tree, Memories, Search, Indexing, Get Help, and many other things -- click on Site Map (bottom of page) to see what's included in each part  
  7. The "classic" version of the FamilySearch website can still be seen on the Wayback Machine on Internet Archive at
  8. Get Help (button in upper right corner)
    1. Good 3-1/2 minute video "What's Your Story" about FamilySearch; here's the link to it directly --
    2. Under Questions and Answers are FAQ's and a box to type in your own questions, e.g. "learn about historical records" or "learn about familysearch catalog" (without the quotes)
    3. Many helpful Tips and Tricks, videos, tutorials, and lessons  
  9. Clicking on the FamilySearch logo (upper left corner) at any time takes you back to the FamilySearch Home Page
  10. Search button (always at the top) has Records, Genealogies, Catalog, Books, and Wiki -- the last three are our topics for today

  12. To get to it go to Search > Catalog or go to it directly at --
  13. Now called FamilySearch Catalog (FSC); used to be called the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC)
  14. FSC lists all resources in the FH Library including films (2.4 million), fiche, books (both physical and scanned), periodicals, genealogy CD's and DVD's, etc.
  15. Wiki article on Introduction to the FamilySearch Catalog --
  16. Since Jan 2014 all entries in the FSC are included in  OCLC World Cat , a union listing of over 2 billion entries from more than 72,000 libraries world wide
  17. Searches in the FSC
    1. Default search is Place (Location) search -- other searches are Surnames, Titles, Author, Subject, Keywords, Book Call Number, or Film/Fiche Number
    2. For Place searches the location needs a comma, e.g. there are no results for "united states massachusetts", but many for "united states, massachusetts" (without the quotes)
    3. Place searches show records in the 30-40 Place Search Subdivisions, e.g. Almanacs, Archives and Libraries, Cemeteries, Newspapers, Vital Records, etc.  -- see complete list of subdivisions at 
    4. Usually best to start searching broadly and narrow down the categories as you go, e.g. search for Place > Record Type > Time Period > Name, e.g. United States > Massachusetts > Woburn > Births > 1600s > Snow -- if you put in too much information at the start you only get records containing exactly that and miss things indexed slightly differently 
    5. Surname search gives articles and books where that surname is prominent, but does NOT show every book with that name in it
    6. Can sometimes get good results by entering all terms in Keyword search, e.g. do a Keyword search for  "Snow Woburn Massachusetts" (without the quotes)
  18. To the right side of each search result clicking on the word Add puts that entry into a list that you can see and print later; e.g. after selecting several catalog entries, click Print to see the list and then print it to hard copy or else print it to a PDF Printer to save it as a pdf on your computer -- for information on PDF Printers see my Freeware Corner Notes on PDF Printers on my webpage
  19. On the right side of the screen are links to WorldCat and Archive Grid -- WorldCat is the union catalog of billions of library entries from 72,000 libraries, including all the FSC entries; Archive Grid contains links to more than 4 million archive documents, family histories, etc., in other libraries and museums - these are additional archival FH items you might be interested in

  21. To get to the Book Search page go to Search > Books or else go directly to it at 
  22. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City is digitizing books and posting them online as pdf's and presently (May 2015) has more than 200,000 out-of-copyright and permission-granted FH books from several large libraries including the FHL, BYU Library, and Allen County FH Library (Fort Wayne, Indiana), and from personal collections where people have signed an agreement; more are being add daily
  23. Clicking on the Search button on the Books page gives you search options for any word or phrase in any of the 200,000 digitized books, so you don't need to go through the book indexes anymore 
  24. If the book or film has been digitized and posted, the FSC has a note in red: "To view a digital version of this item click here." 
  25. Most digitized books can be read and/or downloaded by anyone anywhere
    1. Example: Valiant in the Faith: Gardner and Sarah Snow and Their Family, 1990
    2. Example: A Blanchard Memorial by Arthur William Blanchard, 1935
    3. Some books are restricted to be read and/or downloaded only at a FHC or FS Lib, so take a flash drive and download them there to take home -- Example: The Snow-Estes Ancestry by Nora Emma Snow and Myrtle M. Jillson
  26. Downloading pdf's of books from FamilySearch includes the text layer with the pdf, so they are completely word-searchable for any name, location, date, or word in the entire book -- Not the case when you download books from Google Books
  27. For many other sources of FH books online see my class notes Family History Books Online on my webpage

  29. To get to the Family History Research Wiki go to Search > Wiki or else go to it directly at
  30. The Family History Research Wiki contains more than 80,000 articles about genealogy, places world-wide, how-to's, finding information, databases, computer programs, videos, lessons, classes, handouts, and much more 
  31. "Wiki" means the articles can be edited by anyone who is signed in and you can tell who made the changes; all changes are listed and you can easily set it back to a previous version, if you think it should be 
  32. On the Home Page are links for helps such as New to Genealogy, New to the Research Wiki, About the Wiki, Wiki Tools, Research Outlines, Research Forms, and more
  33. If someone asks you a FH question, a first response can be, "I wonder what the Wiki says about that?", then look for it on the Wiki; being a helpful genealogist doesn't always mean knowing the answers, but knowing where to find the answers
  34. The Wiki can be searched by place or topic 
    1. For places click on the map and narrow it down or just type in the place, e.g. Bunkerville, Nevada
    2. For topics type in a few words, e.g. "descendancy research" or "Pandora's Hope Chest"
  35. A good FH learning experience is to just browse in the Wiki and look at some of the lessons, classes, handouts, etc.
  36. Keep the Wiki in mind anytime you have a FH question

  38. The FamilySearch Catalog, Books, and Wiki are wonderful sources of FH information including data and how-to's.
  39. FamilySearch helps you turn your heart to your ancestors as you learn more about their lives and who they were.

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