Free Genealogy Books Online
Most genealogists love books, they also love jigsaw puzzles, crosswords and “Who Done It’s” on tv, but I digress! If you are a book lover and appreciate that there is much more to genealogy than indexes and census then the FamilySearch Genealogy Book Collection which is available online is definitely something you should know about and use. Plus you can save yourself some pennies because access is free.
The FamilySearch online book collection comprises over 350,000 digitized books all of which are of interest to family historians. The book collection at the Family History Library at Salt Lake City is a marvelous resource and I spend a couple of very happy days, a few years ago, working my way through all the books and pamphlets that were from my ancestral areas. I found some real gems of information among the collection and can highly recommend you do so now that it is online.
The collection also included publications from other institutions in the USA, don’t dismiss this as being just of interest to those with American genealogy because many of these universities and libraries hold considerable collections regarding UK family history.
- Allen County Public Library
- American Fork Library
- Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records
- Birmingham Public Library
- Brigham Young University, Harold B. Lee Library
- Brigham Young University, Hawaii Joseph F. Smith Library
- Brigham Young University, Idaho David O. McKay Library
- Church History Library
- Family History Library
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- Houston Public Library – Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research
- Mid-Continent Public Library – Midwest Genealogy Center
- Maine State Library
- Onondaga County Public Library
- University of Florida, George A. Smathers Libraries
The collection includes family histories, county and local histories, genealogy magazines and how-to books, gazetteers, and medieval histories and pedigrees. Some publications have had very small print runs and others are typed manuscripts so possibly the only copy of the material.
Using The Collection
There is a basic and advanced search facility, but I suggest that you use the Advanced Search as that will help you narrow down your search and keep your research focused – having said that sometimes fate can take a hand when you are just browsing and bring up a publication that holds genealogy treasure! Think creatively as to how a publication of interest to you might have been titled or catalogued.
A small number of books are only available for viewing at a Family History Centre, but the majority are freely available. Once a book has been found there is an option to download a copy onto your home computer so that you can read it offline at your leisure. This is a valuable resource for family historians that isn’t as well known and used as it should be.