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FamilySearch Online Book Collection FAQs

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Family History Books is a collection of more than 325,000 digitized genealogy and family history publications from the archives of some of the most important family history libraries in the world. The collection includes family histories, county and local histories, genealogy magazines and how-to books, gazetteers, and medieval histories and pedigrees.

How can I donate books or manuscripts to the Family History Library?[edit | edit source]

We need information about the records you want to donate so we can determine if they meet our criteria. With permission from the author, we digitize donated material and post it online at our website,

A summary of the items FamilySearch accepts is below:

  • Materials must be readable, organized, and accessible to help researchers identify individuals and relationships by name, date, and place.
  • Materials must add new information to the FamilySearch collection (we do not accept duplicate materials).
  • Materials should include a title, author, and publication date.
  • Materials must not violate current privacy or copyright laws.
  • Materials must be accompanied by a completed Permission to Duplicate form.
  • FamilySearch accepts the following materials:
  • Family histories.
  • Local and county histories.
  • Autobiographies and biographies containing genealogical material.
  • Indexes to records in book format.

You can send inquiries and donations to the addresses below: FamilySearch Family History Library Donations 35 North West Temple Street Salt Lake City, UT 84150-1103 USA Telephone: 1-801-240-1855 E-mail:

A copy of the permission form can be found at Permission to Duplicate Form.

Clicking on the above link will take you to the image page. Double Click on the image to see a version of the form.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)[edit | edit source]

Q  Where can I find the Family History Books collection?
A  There are two ways to access Family History Books from

Through the Books page.

These are the benefits of using the Books tab to access Family History Books; only books available online show up in the search and the search can be filtered by using the left hand menu.

The potential problems with using the Books tab to access Family History Books are that the search  within books does not differentiate between books that are currently online and those that are scheduled to be made available online. Books that are not yet online generate an error message and cannot be opened.

Through the FamilySearch Catalog.

  • Go to FamilySearch and hover over the Search tab. Click on Catalog.
  • Click Titles from the menu. If you do not know the title of the book, you can also search by Keyword.
  • Enter search criteria in the title of keyword box.
  • When the Search Results display, click on the title you want.
  • The Book details page opens.
  • Click on the link to go to the digital book.

A Catalog search will show all of the Family History Library's holdings that fit the search criteria, including books, films and microfiche that are not available online.  Items that are available online will include links to the digital images page.

Q  Why don't all book holdings appear in the Family History Catalog?
A  Only a small number of the book holdings have been digitized.

Q  How do I navigate or search within a book?
A  Once a book has been selected, it will open in a new tab. Books display in PDF format. Books can be read/navigated through the following icons and menus.

  • Up and Down arrows. Used to move forward and backward in the book page by page.
  • Page box. Type in the number of the page you want to go to and hit Enter on your keyboard.
  • + and - signs. Allows the page size to be altered to make it more readable, the icons next to them also represent sizing tools.
  • Find box. Allows the entire book to be searched for particular words or phrases.
  • Bookmarks. Found on the left side menu bar. Allows quick movement between sections or chapters. Not all books have bookmarks.

Q  Why can I only view some books online?
A  The status of the book determines whether or not, it can be viewed online.  The status of a book can either be Public, In Progress, or Copyrighted.  Some books cannot be digitized and may only be viewed at the Family History Library.

  • A Public document can be viewed from any computer.  A status of Public or Copyright is shown when the Copy Link button is pressed after the book is opened.
  • In Progress means that the document is temporarily out of circulation while it is being scanned.  If a book is "off the shelf" for digitization, the word "In Progress" will appear in the FamilySearch Catalog next to the name of the book.
  • Copyrighted books can only be viewed at the Family History Library, Family History Centers or at affiliate libraries and are limited to one copy which can be viewed at a time.  Reading copies are only open for 24 hours at a time.

What does "you don't have sufficient rights to view the requested object" mean?
A  Books with this message are copyright protected and can only be viewed by one user at a time from the Family History Library, a local FamilySearch Center (also known as Family History Center), or through one of our FamilySearch Partner Libraries. Current list of FamilySearch Partner Libraries.

If this message is encountered while in a Family History Library, a local FamilySearch Center, or a partner library, please try back later to see if the book is available for viewing. The book will be made available for viewing after the current reader has finished with the book. Some readers forget to close the book when they are done for the day, so the system automatically closes the book after 24 hours. 

Q  I keep getting a message that someone else is using the book. Can I reserve a time to read it?
A  The online books may not be reserved in advance.

Q  What do I do if I get a "timed out" message?
A  If a digital books sits open in the browser unused for too long, the window will time out and you will be prompted to Reload the file or Close it. If you aren't done looking at the book, click Reload, otherwise click Close to close the book.

Q  The book gets stuck streaming, why won't it load?
A  Some books are very large and may take a long time to stream to your computer. A progress bar displays while the file downloads. If your internet connection speed is slow and the book is very large, it could take hours for the book to finish downloading. Very large books (1 Gig +) downloading on a dial up connection may time out before the book can downloaded.

Q  I saved a link to a book, why can't I open it now?
A  The URL (web address) for this system is designed to be used once. If you save a book as a Favorite an error message will display. To save a working link to the book:

  • Click on the words Copy Link above the right side of the image.
  • A new widow opens which shows a highlighted usable link.
  • Copy this link to save for later. You can also email this link to another person.

Q  I used to be able to view this book, but now it is not there - why?
A  Sometimes the author removes his/her permission to publicize the book.  Sometimes it contains information about living persons and they have asked that it be withdrawn.  There may be other reasons, but generally FamilySearch no longer has the rights to display the book online.

Q  Why is the image fuzzy?
A  Because of the way that PDFs and Firefox interact, occasionally images will not sharpen up enough to read when using the Mozilla Firefox browser. If you are using Firefox as your browser and a book appears out of focus, you may need to view the book using either Google Chrome or Internet Explorer. If changing browsers doesn't solve the problem please contact FamilySearch Research Assistance at Please include the following information:

  • Name of Book
  • The Browser you are using (i.e. Chrome, IE 9)
  • Your computers' operating system (i.e. Windows 7, Mac OS X 10.7)
  • Reference document #: 114808.