Cracking the FHL Catalog
12/10/2009
How to find the books and microfilm you need in the Family History Library catalog.
As the largest genealogical library in the world, the Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City probably has something you could use among its 2.4 million rolls of microfilmed genealogical records and thousands of microfiche, books, periodicals and electronic resources. The catalog is genealogist-friendly, with detailed descriptions of the materials and these search options:

Place: Enter the name of a town, county (but don’t include the word county), state or country to see books and records for that location. Unlike most library catalogs, this one refers you to its standardized names: If you search on prussia, you’ll get the message “(See) Germany, Preußen.” A search on new amsterdam asks you to “(See) New York, New York (City).”

Surname: Enter a last name to find published and unpublished family histories.
 
Keyword: This search finds a word anywhere in the catalog listing. If you’re searching on a common last name, add a place name or other keyword to narrow your search.
 
Title: Enter words from the title in any order (you needn’t enter the entire title).
 
Film/Fiche and Call Number: Use these if you already have the film or book number.
 
Author: Look for records created by a person, government, business or church.
 
Subject: This search uses Library of Congress subject headings.
 
Print the catalog description and take it with you to the nearest branch Family History Center to request a loan. You’ll pay $5.50 to borrow microfilm and 15 cents per microfiche. Printed books don’t circulate.
 
From the March 2009 Family Tree Magazine
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