The Internet Archive has been my go-to source for public domain books for quite a while. It’s full of regimental histories, local histories, biographies and even genealogies. It’s a very impressive resource. Now, thanks to the FamilySearch Digital Library, I have even more options.
You will find the library in FamilySearch.org. Once you sign in, click Search then click Books. You will see a screen similar to the one above. Before you hit the search box at the top of the screen, scan down the page and see which libraries are part of this project. They include:
- The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library
- Arizona State Library
- Family History Library
- Birmingham Public Library
- Dallas Public Library
- Historical Society of Pennsylvania
- Midwest Genealogical Center
- Onondaga County Public Library
- St. Louis County Library
- University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries
In this example, I searched for “south carolina huguenots” and got 278,409 results. You see two of them here. Notice the Access Level item for the first one is Public (Public Domain) while the second is Protected (still under copyright). There is a Full text results button under each item and in this example, a scanned title page for each. Click on the title page to view a screen with more details about the item.
Since this is a public domain publication, I have a “View All Pages 398 pages” link to open this publication for reading.
Here’s what the reader screen looks like. Use the arrow buttons to move to the next page or previous page. Notice the icons at the bottom of the screen. They offer many options. Click the box icon with a down arrow in it to download this publication. The magnifying glass icon is used to search the publication. Other icons let you zoom in or zoom out for better viewing. Hover over any icon to view its purpose.
This impressive addition to online archives is a researcher’s delight. Unlike the Internet Archive, not everything in the FamilySearch Digital Library is public domain. You may have limited access or even no access to some of the publications, but don’t let that stop you. Use the details about the publication and WorldCat.org to find a library near you where you can view that book. Happy hunting!