Have You Used the FamilySearch Digital Library?

Here is a quote from https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/:

“The Family History Library sponsored by FamilySearch is the largest genealogical library in the world. The Family History Library is actively digitizing its family histories, local histories, and other collections to make them searchable and available online to researchers worldwide. Together with other world-renowned genealogical research partner libraries, the Family History Library is pleased to make its collections and its partners’ collections available together in the new online digital library.

“The FamilySearch Digital Library offers a collection of more than 440,000 digitized genealogy and family history books and publications. Here, you can dive into family histories, county and local histories, genealogy magazines, gazetteers, and even medieval histories and pedigrees! “

Indeed, I have used the FamilySearch Digital Library a number of times and have been pleased with the results. Of course, I probably could have achieved the same results had a I purchased airline tickets to Salt Lake City, spent money on taxis or Uber, spent money in hotels and restaurants for a few days, and paid whatever other miscellaneous expenses are incurred on a multi-day trip. Besides that, such a trip also involves an “investment” of several days of my time. There has to be a better way.

The FamilySearch Digital Library is available free of charge. That’s great, but the real “bottom line” financial benefit is even more impressive. Remotely accessing the Digital Library actually SAVED me hundreds, perhaps a thousand, dollars or so when compared to the traditional method of using my hard-earned money to pay for a trip to Salt Lake City to use a library there.

To paraphrase Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac, a penny saved is a penny earned.

Note: “A penny saved is a penny earned” is a quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but it appears that he never wrote those exact words. Instead, he originally wrote, “A penny saved is two pence clear.” Later, he wrote a version closer to the saying we know: “A penny saved is a penny got.” He never used the word “earned.” However, a number of other authors have written the familiar version, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

The digital library at https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/?cid=bl-fsb-8007 is a powerful resource for finding family history books and learning about families and places all over the world. Not only are the books and microfilms stored in Salt lake City, but digitization is also taking place at other major genealogy libraries, including:

Allen County Public Library (ACPL) Genealogy Center in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Arizona State Library

Southern History Department of the Birmingham (Alabama) Public Library

BYU (Brigham Young University0 Family History Library

Houston Public Library

Dallas Public Library Genealogy & History Division

Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Midwest Genealogy Center of Mid-Continent Public Library (MGC

Onondaga (New York) County Public Library specializing in the history of Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York State, the New England States, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Ontario Ancestors (The Ontario (Canada) Genealogical Society)

History & Genealogy at St. Louis (Missouri) County Library

University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries

Searching the FamilySearch Digital Library also includes searches of all the above libraries, resulting in saving even more money: I don’t have to travel to all those libraries!

There is one major downside, however: the digitization of the genealogical works at all of these libraries is still a work-in-progress effort. That is, none of the libraries have yet had all of their collections completely digitized. Digitizing crews are presently active in these libraries and more digital documents are being added weekly to the FamilySearch Digital Library’s web site. If you don’t find what you seek today, come back again every month or two and search again. The information you seek may have been added since your last search.

You can find the FamilySearch Digital Library at https://www.familysearch.org/library/books/?cid=bl-fsb-8007.

To learn more, you need to read the articles in the FamilySearch Blog at: https://www.familysearch.org/blog/en/.

To access the library, follow the instructions at: https://www.familysearch.org/blog/en/family-history-books/.

Have fun at the (digital) library!


Unfortunately, the search function is so poor, it’s extremely difficult to find relevant material without a lot of scrolling through lists.


    Caroline, very true, if I put in a particular county and state name, it brings up everything but what I am looking for.


Could not enlarge copy so I could read what I found. Could not download entire pdf file, just one page.


I found a book I was interested in and was able to download the entire file.


I am very grateful to have access to the digital library. I have used it successfully many times. Yes, I have had to scan through unindexed collections. Most recently I located information in tax lists and probate records. A plus is that there is no cost.


Remember the family history books on the first floor at Salt Lake are gone, and are now digitized. I always look in the catalog online to see if a certain name has already been published. And this is where I put my own books that I’ve done on Family Tree Maker for anyone looking for it years from now – I want it found – my work is not on Ancestry or Family Search but can be found in my own format in their digital catalog. In fact, I just found my friend’s grandmother’s family notes that she did in 1918 which I brought up to date in FTM format.


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