All of the books in the Family History Archives at BYU have been moved to Family History Books at FamilySearch. Over 36,000 digital books are now available at Family History Books. You can click on the link below to go to Family History Books.

Keyword Search

help iconSearch Tips

Using the Surname search

When using the Surname search, please note that not all surnames in the collection will be searched, since only the most prominent surnames were cataloged. If you do a Surname search and don't get any results returned, your surname may still be found in our collection. For a comprehensive search of the collection, enter your surname into the Search All text box, and select the Search full text checkbox. This is the best way to find your surname if you didn't find suitable results in a Surname search. Keep in mind that in a full text search, any surname that is also a common word will pull up many unwanted pages. (For example, the surname "Young" would also retrieve the phrase "The young boy" and other such phrases.)

Getting better search results

When you include the Full Text option in your search, our database will locate every page containing the words you included in your search and may return up to10,000 of those pages in your results. For example, a full-text search for the name “Young” in this collection will bring back 10,000 pages.

We suggest narrowing your search by using the Keyword searches. Each of the histories has been cataloged by a professional librarian who analyzes the contents of the history and provides appropriate terms, called keywords, for family names, locations, authors, and other important topics. The Keyword searches use the information provided by the cataloger to locate family histories, and this is the best way to quickly find the histories most likely to be of use to you.

Once you have narrowed your search by using the keywords, you can still search the entire text of the histories, one at a time, in a much more manageable fashion.

More information about the collection

To get the best results while searching this collection, it is helpful to understand the nature of the data being searched. The Family Histories in this collection are scanned from paper or microfilm copies. The pages you view are facsimiles, or copies, of the original pages. The quality of the images depends on several factors, beginning with their original creation. Many of the histories were created using old technologies such as typewriters, carbon paper and even mimeographs.

In addition to providing access to image of the pages, we have also attempted to convert the original text into a machine-readable format to make the histories more useful by allowing you to search though text using your computer. The process of converting the text is called Optical Character Recognition or OCR. In the OCR process a computer program looks at the scanned images of the pages and tries to “read” the type, and convert it into a computer file that we can search. The quality of the OCR is directly related to the quality of the image. In most cases, the OCR that we use is quite successful in accurately reading the text, but in the case of some of the older histories, the results are not as good. Because we use OCR, there are two things you should keep in mind while doing research: 1. There is a lot of text to be searched. 2. The text is not always 100% accurate. You should always carefully examine the family histories and not depend completely on full-text search results.

Notice: Including full text in your search may return an unmanageable number of results. See Search Tips above for help.


About the Collection

The Family History Archive is a collection of published genealogy and family history books. The archive includes histories of families, county and local histories, how-to books on genealogy, genealogy magazines and periodicals (including some international), medieval books (including histories and pedigrees), and gazetteers. It also includes some specialized collections such as the Filipino card collection and the “Liahona Elders Journal.” The books come from the collections of the FamilySearch Family History Library, the Allen County Public Library, the Houston Public Library – Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, the Mid-Continent Public Library – Midwest Genealogy Center, the BYU Harold B. Lee Library, the BYU Hawaii Joseph F. Smith Library, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Church History Library.

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