Find My Ancestor Blog

Family History Library Catalogue Down

For those of you who don't know, the Family History Library Catalogue is down and will be for a few days. I am currently at the library, and let me tell you, it is a pretty sad day here for people.

For those people who were expecting to come here tonight or the next few days will be disappointed to find that they will not be able to do much with the catalogue unless you look at the decade old microfiche catalogue. I just spent some time trying to use that and it was quite difficult. Isn't it amazing how dependent we get on the simplicity and easy access of the internet? 

For those people who are from out of town who came to do research at the library, I hope they came prepared with a list of microfilm rolls, call numbers, and other information so they can find what they are looking for. I bet there are a few people here who just learned that lesson.

If you listen to the Genealogy Gems Podcast, you would probably heard an interview Lisa Louise Cooke did with Irene Johnson about the Family History Library and their tips and tricks on making your Family History Library visit the best it can.

The following is from the Genealogy Gems Podcast show notes for Episode 80 where Lisa interviews Irene Johnson:

"Irene’s Tip:  Do your homework before you visit the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. 

Do Your Homework Before You Come:
- Scour the online catalog
- Decide what you need
- Ask for help when you visit

Lisa’s Tip – print out the items you want from the catalogue and prioritize them.  Determine which items are available only in Salt Lake City."

Both Irene and Lisa have other great tips in the interview, so if you haven't listened to it yet, I highly recommend it. I noticed when I went to the page where Episode 80 is, the little audio player widget on the right hand side says Episode 84. You can either scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the download link to download the episode and listen to it on your computer, but to listen to it in your browser you might have to follow a couple extra steps - at least until the player gets fixed.

For now, click the play button, and then click the information button in the bottom right corner. Then click by where it says done and it will give a list of episodes. Scroll down to Episode 80 and click on it. That should play the episode for you. 

Even for someone like me who lives in Salt Lake City, it is always smart to "do your homework" before visiting the library because you never know what will happen.

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  1. Although the catalog is down on, you can access the catalog through the beta site at I hope that someone at FHL has realized this and let people know.

  2. Thanks Tina for the comment! It is true that you can use the beta site. They also told me last night to try that, but warned that since it is beta there would be some things that wouldn't work. For instance, I did a place search for Milwaukee, and it came up with no results. I then did a place search fro Chicago and again no results. So it is a good idea to try the beta site, but they did say that some thing wouldn't work at times.

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