Library Launchpad
2/1/2002
Don't waste precous research time during your next library visit — here's now to make every moment count by doing the prep work at home, online.
In the not-so-distant past, genealogists had to log in long hours at libraries in order to find and retrieve the records they needed. But since some of the biggest and best genealogical libraries have recently put their catalogs online, we can get much of the work done before setting foot in the library. Few of us live near enough to these libraries to visit them often. When we do go, we want to make every moment count.

The biggest and perhaps best-known is the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City. I admit to having referred to it as Mecca from time to time. While I've been able to visit often, each trip leaves me in awe. The amount of records at my fingertips is truly amazing. Visiting requires some planning, though, to maximize my time there. In the past my prep work involved spending days at the local Family History Center. That was the only place I could go to get information about the holdings of the main library so I could plan my research. Using the Family History Library Catalog <www.familysearch.org>, I can prepare for my Salt Lake City trip at any hour of the day or night. By searching the record databases and library catalog on this site, you can make a quick trip to a Family History Center to order films. Then you won't need to schedule another visit to the Family History Center until you're notified that the microfilms have arrived. During that visit, you can spend your time working with the microfilm or microfiche.

The FHL catalog can be accessed through <www.familysearch.org> by selecting the Library tab and then the Family History Library Catalog link just below the tabs. Once at the catalog page, you'll have a variety of search choices: