Document ID: 114808Print this document
Accessing online Family History Books
Instructions for Area Support

This knowledge document is designed to help patrons learn how to search and use the Family History Books collection within FamilySearch.org.  The public portion of this KD has many graphics and will work best if it is attached to the email sent to the patron.

 

For instructions on how to attach a KD to an Amdocs case, see 102808.  Research Assistance missionaries are asked to compose an email response to the patron and paste it into the Amdocs Response to Customer boxes, rather than using the prepopulated letter templates.

 

This document is long and covers several common patron questions.  Including the location of the answer in the body of your email will help the patron find the answer quickly.

 

For help responding to patron questions about online books, please see 114794 "Helping Patrons with Online Books FAQ"

Questions about books should be dispatched to the Books Online queue in AMDOCS

Symptoms (Problems)
  • Where can I find the Family History Books collection?

  • How can I use the FamilySearch catalog to find online books?

  • How do I navigate or search within a book?

  • What does "you don't have sufficient rights to view the requested object" mean?

  • I keep getting a message that someone else is using the book. Can I reserve a time to read it?

  • What do I do if I get a "timed out" message?

  • Why is the image fuzzy? 

Answer (Resolution)

FamilySearch Online Book Collection

 

Family History Books is a collection of more than 40,000 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. The valuable resources included in Family History Books come from the following partner institutions:

  • Allen County Public Library

  • Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library

  • Brigham Young University Hawaii Joseph F. Smith Library

  • Church History Library

  • Family History Library

  • Houston Public Library--Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research

  • Mid-Continent Public Library--Midwest Genealogy Center

How to Access and Use Family History Books

 

Using the Books tab to access Family History Books.

Using the FamilySearch Catalog to access Family History Books.

Reading and Navigating Books.

Problems with Viewing Books.

Saving a book as a favorite.

 

 

Using the Books tab to access Family History Books.

  1. Go to https://familysearch.org/. Click on the Books tab.



  2. Type in your search criteria in the search box.

The following are the benefits of using the Books tab to access Family History Books.

  • Only books available online show up in the search.

  • The search can be filtered by using the menu on the left.

The following are the potential problems with using the Books tab to access Family History Books.

 

  • 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.

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Using the FamilySearch Catalog to access Family History Books. 

  1. On the https://familysearch.org website, click on the Catalog tab.

  2. From the Menu, click Titles. If you do not know the title of the book, you can also search using a keyword.

  3. Enter search criteria in the title or keyword box.



  4. When the search results display, click on the title you want.



  5. The Book details page opens.

  6. Click on the link to go to the digital book.



These are the benefits of using the Catalog to access Family History Books.

  • The catalog will state whether the book is currently available online, or if it is "In Process" and will be online in the near future. Books that are in process can take up to two months to become available online.

These are the potential problems with using the Catalog to access Family History Books.

  • 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 show "online" in the Search Results page.

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Reading and Navigating Books.

 

Once a book has been selected, it will open in a new tab. Books display in PDF format. Books can be read or navigated through the following icons and menus. For Google Chrome, the icons will appear at the bottom right of the screen when your cursor hovers over the corner:

  1. Print Icon. Print as many or as few pages as desired. In some cases, copyrighted material will have the Print icon hidden so it cannot be clicked.

  2. Save. Save the entire book to your computer. In some cases, copyrighted material will have the Save icon hidden so it cannot be clicked.

  3. Up and Down arrows. Use these to move forward and backward in the book page by page.

  4. Page box. Type in the number of the page you want to go to, and press Enter.

  5. + and - signs. These allow the page size to be altered to make it more readable. The icons next to them also represent sizing tools.

  6. Find box. This allows the entire book to be searched for particular words or phrases

  7. Bookmarks. These are found on the menu bar on the left. They allow quick movement between sections or chapters. Not all books have bookmarks.

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Problems with Viewing Books.

 

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.  You can check the status of a book by clicking the informaton icon.

 

 

Public - Some books on the site are public domain and can be freely viewed by multiple users at the same time from any location.

In Progress - The document is temporarily out of circulation while it is being scanned. If a book is "off the shelf" for digitization, the words "In Progress" will appear in the FHL catalog next to the name of the book.

Copyrighted - Copyrighted books can only be viewed at the Family History Library, FamilySearch Centers, or Affiliate Libraries and are limited to 3 copies which can be viewed.  Affiliates are as follows:

  • Allen County Public Library
  • Brigham Young University Harold B. Lee Library

  • Brigham Young University Hawaii Joseph F. Smith Library

  • Church History Library

  • Family History Library

  • Houston Public Library--Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research

  • Mid-Continent Public Library--Midwest Genealogy Center

Some books have NO rights to be viewed online and can only be viewed at a library location. If you are attempting to read a Copyrighted book outside an authorized location, the error message "you do not have sufficient rights to view requested object" will appear.  

If this message is encountered while in a FamilySearch center, the Family History Library, or a partner library, please try back in 60 minutes to see if the book is available for viewing. The book will be made available for viewing after the other 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.
Note:  The online books may not be reserved in advance.

 

Time out on an open digital book.

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.

 

Streaming problems.

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 download.  We suggest you try downloading at another site with a faster internet connection.

 

 

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Saving a book as a favorite.

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:

  1. Click on the words Copy Link above the right side of the image.



  2. A new window opens, which shows a highlighted, usable link.



  3. Copy this link to save for later. You can also email this link to another person.

Fuzzy images, or books too blurry to read.

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 support@familysearch.org.  Please include the following information:

  • Name of the book

  • The browser you are using (such as Chrome, IE 9)

  • Your computers' operating system (such as Windows 7, Mac OS X 10.7)

  • Reference document #: 114808

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 Contact FamilySearch Research Assistance at support@familysearch.org for the following issues:

  • Request a change in copyright or owner of a copyright

  • Unable to view a book that was previously available

  • Request that additional reading copies be made available

  • Corrections to the catalog or online books

  • Unable to find a donated item in online books

  • Unable to open a link to a previously viewed book

  • Questions about how to print, save or search books

  • Questions about error messages while trying to read book

 

 




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