Find My Ancestor Blog

Family History Library: Introduction to the Library Patron Desktop

The following post continues the Family History Library Series. With this series you will learn all you need to know for your future trip to the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The series covers topics such as the Patron Library Desktop, Family History Library Catalog, using microfilm, and much more. If you haven't been following the series, be sure to check out previous posts.

Post 1 - Getting Started

When visiting the library, whether you are on your own laptop or one of the many library computers, the home screen on the internet browser is called the Library Patron Desktop. This is a very handy tool because this is what gives you easy access to the Family History Library Catalog, access to subscription websites such as,,, Heritage Quest Online, World Vital Records, and many more.

The Library Patron Desktop has four main tabs:

  • Find Ancestors
  • Manage Records
  • Online Resources
  • Submit Records.

The default tab that comes up when using the Library Patron Desktop is the Find Ancestors tab. You can spend hours just simply checking out all the links and seeing what is available.

This page gives you access to subscription websites, BYU Family History Archives, trial websites, the Family History Library Catalog, New Tools from Family Search, WorldCat, HeritageQuest, and various databases only available by using the Library “Patron Desktop” computers.

The first item in the list on the Find Ancestors tab is a link to can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, not just at the Family History Library. The FamilySearch website has been a great resource and utility in finding your ancestors for more than a decade.

In about August of 1998 LDS Church leaders decided to build a genealogical website. In May 1999 the website first opened to the public and it almost immediately went off-line because it was overloaded. 1 The website was extremely popular in the beginning launch. Many people, LDS and not, were excited to have a great genealogical resource available to them for free online.

One of the newest pages on FamilySearch has links to video clips from Celebration of Family History, the special event FamilySearch held during the National Genealogical Society conference in Salt Lake City in April of 2010. For those who were not able to attend the special event, you can now view some of the video clips that were shown at the LDS Conference Center.

Click here to go to the Celebration of Family History page. You can also click the links below to play the video clips directly.

FamilySearch also offers a number of free courses and lesson to help you further your genealogy research. The Family History Lesson Series is a great resource in expanding your genealogical research skill.

There are so many other links, resources, etc. to be found at FamilySearch. The FamilySearch website could be a series all on it’s own. I highly recommend you become familiar with the website. It will definitely help you become a better genealogist.

Next time we will be talking about more of the links available on the "Find Ancestors" tab of the Patron Library Desktop.

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