FamilySearch, WorldCat Partnership Helps Genealogy Researchers

By Diane Haddad

We blogged last year about efforts by FamilySearch and WorldCat (the site that lets you search holdings of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide) to share holdings information so you can get results from either site by searching the other.

Now you can see the fruits of those efforts: According to the OCLC, which runs WorldCat, WorldCat now has links to more than a million items in FamilySearch’s Family History Library (FHL) in Salt Lake City. now links to catalog records in WorldCat.

That’s great because it saves you time running searches on both sites, and gives you more options for accessing genealogical information.

Searching WorldCat
For example, on WorldCat, I searched for the subject Ohio genealogy. My search results included the book Ohio Valley genealogies: relating chiefly to families in Harrison, Belmont and Jefferson Counties, Ohio, and Washington, Westmoreland, and Fayette Counties, Pennsylvania.

The FHL (highlighted) was among the holding libraries, as were several local FamilySearch Center libraries. They were near the end of my list, which was ordered by distance from my location.

The listings showed that the FHL held the printed version plus “1 other formats.” Clicking on that bit of information brought up a popup window stating that other format is microform, which I could borrow through a FamilySearch Center near me (printed books don’t circulate out of the FHL).

When I clicked the Family History Library link, I ended up on the FamilySearch catalog page for this book, except it was the old version of the catalog. The catalog links to digital versions of the material if they exist on the website.

Searching FamilySearch
When a match to your FamilySearch Catalog search is also in the WorldCat catalog, the FamilySearch listing will have a link to the catalog listing at WorldCat (highlighted below).

This could help you get your hands on the item if WorldCat tells you that a library closer to you has it, or if it’s a printed book you can’t get without visiting the FHL.