Family History Books

Family History Books OnlineOn my visits to the Family History library in Salt Lake City I have always been torn between reading as many films as I can of records which haven’t been put online, making a beeline for the book & pamphlet library (I could spend weeks sitting on the floor just reading everything shelf by shelf !) or do I head for the family history books to see if anyone has published a book on one of my family lines? Decisions, decisions…

As some of you may know there is a project by the LDS to digitize the genealogy & family history books from some of the leading libraries in America and also the contents of the Family History books at Salt Lake. The collection now numbers in excess of 40,000 books and whilst many of them will be by American authors a considerable number will have English content in them. The libraries that are involved in this project are listed below.

The material being scanned includes family histories, county and local histories, gazetteers, and medieval histories & pedigrees. There was a report on the FamilySearch blog which lists the new additions for June to the online collection. The list is separated out into various headings so finding material of interest is very easy. Scanning quickly through the British Isles section I see that there is a wide variety of documents from “The fabric rolls of York Minster : with an appendix of illustrative documents”,The visitations of Kent, taken in the years 1530-1 by Thomas Benolte, and 1574 by Robert Cooke” to “The road-books & itineraries of Ireland, 1647 to 1850; a catalogue” & “The parish registers of Hollesley, Co. Suffolk”.

The books can be found on the FamilySearch website, Benson Family records Genealogyclick on the tab BOOKS, then click on the coloured tab FAMILY HISTORY BOOKS, there is a simple or an advanced search option and the search can be undertaken by title, author, surname or full text. The books can be save onto a disc or onto your computer hard-drive.

This online library is just one of the gems on the FamilySearch website, put aside a couple of hours and enjoy searching through this wonderful genealogical collection. Also remember that new additions are being added on a monthly basis.



FamilySearch blog report

British Isles new additions June 2012

Old Dorset books online




Don’t forget to check out Dorset books on, a search using the word Dorset brought up 335 entries.






Google Books have 22,910 Dorset books so you might want to make a cuppa before you start to browse!





Digitising of Books valuable to Family Historian hits 25,000 mark

This press release was published by the LDS Church just before Christmas. Having used the library housed at the LDS Genealogical Library in Salt Lake I can vouch for the rare & unique books that are housed there. It’s good to know that the scheme is to be expanded to other libraries.

 LDS Digitised Books

FamilySearch Digital Preservation Initiative Hits a Milestone

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH—FamilySearch International reached a milestone today with the digitization of its 25,000th publication online. It began the initiative in 2007 and is ramping up to do even more—and faster. The effort targets published family, society, county, and town histories, as well as numerous other historical publications that are digitally preserved and made accessible for free online. The digital publications can be searched at (Go to, then click Search Records, then click Historical Books).

The 25,000th digitized publication was "A History of Lewis County, in the State of New York, from the Beginning of Its Settlement to the Present Time" by Franklin B. Hough. The book was published in 1860. The lengths of titles digitized to date vary in length, but the average is about 350 pages. There are even publications in Spanish, German, French, and Russian.

FamilySearch has nearly a million publications in its famous Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and there are millions of similar publications elsewhere in the United States. "The problem with the collection [of out-of-print titles] is limited access," said Ransom Love, FamilySearch senior vice president of Strategic Relations. "To view the publications, patrons have to travel to Salt Lake City or one of FamilySearch’s affiliate libraries. If you are lucky, you might be able to order a microfilm copy, but then you have to wait for it to arrive at your local family history center. And there’s the inconvenience of having to read it on a film reader," added Love.

FamilySearch aims to change all of that. Working with volunteers and select affiliate libraries, it plans to create the largest digital collection of published histories on the Web. It is targeting a wide range of historical publications—for example, users might be pleasantly surprised to find digital copies of Hawaii Sugar Planters Association Filipino Laborer files (1909-1949), medieval family history resource titles, and oral history abstracts (mostly from Hawaii), and numerous gazetteers.

"These are publications that were usually limited in the number originally printed and therefore only accessible in a few libraries or special collections worldwide. Yet there can be some great information of genealogical significance in the publications that only a few people would have access to prior to now," said Love.

Through its Records Access Program, FamilySearch is digitally preserving a copy of the publications and making them available online for the masses. Once digitized, the collections have "every word" search capability, which allows users to search by name, location, date, or other fields across the collection. The search results are then linked to high quality digital images of the original publication.

FamilySearch is not stopping with its own collection either. Over the past year, it announced that it is also helping to digitize and publish collections from the Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University—Hawaii Joseph F. Smith Library, Allen County Public Library (ACPL) in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Houston Public Library, in Houston, Texas, and Mid-Continent Public Library Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence, Missouri. When all is said and done, there will be over a million publications in the digital collection online. It will be the largest free resource of its kind.