First Steps: Finding Family History Books About Your Ancestors


  • You have experience searching records, but know little about how to find your ancestors in published genealogies
  • You’re curious about what types of published genealogies exist and where to find them
  • You want to know how to evaluate the reliability of information you find
  • You want to take advantage of using library catalogs and online databases in your family research

People have been doing genealogy for centuries—and their efforts have produced a plethora of “pre-researched” family trees you can use as a springboard for your own research. From articles in genealogical society journals to entire books outlining specific lineages to searchable online databases of user-contributed family trees, this 2-week course shows you how and where to look for the work others have already done, allowing you to save time and add branches to your family tree.


$39.99 ($35.99 for VIP)

Course Length:

2 Weeks


Lisa Alzo

Start Date:

View upcoming course schedule for dates


  • The different types of published genealogies and what you can find in them
  • How to understand and navigate library catalog classification systems
  • How to search for online manuscripts about your ancestors on,, HeritageQuest Online, World Vital Records and Internet Archive
  • Using library tools to find physical and digitized published genealogies through WorldCat and Interlibrary Loan



  • Access to the subscription websites and will help you get the most from this class, though it is not required. Some libraries offer free on-site access to these websites, and both offer free trials (note that you must cancel before the trial period ends to avoid credit card charges).
  • This course assumes you understand the basics principles of genealogy and have done some investigation into your family history. If you are a total beginner, consider taking the Discover Your Family Tree course before enrolling in this class.


Lesson 1: Using Library Catalogs to Find Genealogies

Types of Published Genealogies
Narrative family history
Graphic family history
Library and Archives Catalogs
Classification systems
Search screen examples
The Family History Library Catalog
Kinds of searches
Keys to Success

Lesson 2: Finding Published Genealogies in Online Databases

Search examples
HeritageQuest Online
Search examples
World Vital Records
Search examples
Internet Archive
Keys to Success

Lesson 3: WorldCat and Interlibrary Loan

What is WorldCat?
Creating an account
Searching for books
Creating a list
Item records
Using Interlibrary Loan
Differing policies
Secrets to interlibrary loan success
Keys to Success

4 thoughts on “First Steps: Finding Family History Books About Your Ancestors

  1. Hi Debbie,

    No, there is no particular time of day. We’ll give you a login and you can complete the course materials at your convenience over throughout the duration of the course.

    Tyler Moss
    Family Tree University

  2. First Steps courses include 3 lessons, each with accompanying reading materials and a self-graded quiz.

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