Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Classic Family History Library Catalog is Preferred

imageWhile contains a new catalog, FamilySearch continues to prefer users use the classic catalog. The catalog page states that “[the new] FamilySearch Catalog is in BETA. You can still visit the previous version.”

While it can be hard to see, the words “previous version” are hot-linked to the classic catalog.

This is the only working URL to the classic website of which I am aware and it is not very visible. To get to the old, preferred catalog, bookmark this link or add it to your favorites:

Even though no longer works, I have found several catalog links still work. The ones I use the most are:

One nice thing about these URLs is they all contain “fhlc”. Once I have visited these URLs, my browser remembers them. When I start typing “fhlc” into the address bar, the browser lists one or more of these links, for easy clicking.


  1. Seldom do I disagree with Ancestry Insider, but I disagree with the first sentence in this article. I don't think FamilySearch "prefers" you use the old catalog. That doesn't jibe with them making the new one easy to get to, while rather hiding the old one. But I do know that many FamilySearch patrons prefer the old one. However, I recently became aware that one of the reasons commonly expressed for that preference has gone away. Since the new catalog became the first option, it has historically been updated much less frequently than the old one. And each used it's own database, which means that corrections made in one didn't necessarily show up in the other. A fantastic webinar a couple of weeks ago revealed this gem - both catalogs now access the same database, and thus there is no difference in frequency of update. It was made available live via the FamilySearch Blog and has now been made available for viewing at your pleasure at In it Robert Kehrer also give some good information on some in-process changes at FamilySearch! Its a "much watch" for all serious users of FamilySearch - well worth the hour it takes. I highly recommend it! And perhaps, if you are one of those folks who have been continuing to use the old catalog for all your work, it will motivate you to give the new catalog another look.

    Mike St. Clair

  2. Mike,

    Perhaps "prefer" is the wrong word, but I have heard both the product manager and upper managers state that the old catalog is the one you should use unless you wish to test a knowingly deficient beta catalog. I don't want to unfairly state anyone's position. I've heard all the same people say there are aspects of the new catalog that they prefer and look forward to using it when it is finished. But it is not feature complete, and still suffers from suboptimal behavior. The Family History Library catalog icon goes straight to the old catalog.

    -- The Insider

  3. It's true, this new catalog seems to be taking forever to incorporate all features of the old one, let alone such features that have been "promised" in the past, such as the ability for users to annotate catalog entries. But maybe we are making progress, slow as it is. I'm at the library today, and checking, find that the computer desktop link for the catalog at present gives you a list of three options, of which the first is the "new" beta catalog and the 2nd is the "classic" catalog. See: I want it to move faster, but for the life of me I can't pick the other project I would chose to be delayed so more resources can go to the catalog. I guess patience is a needed virtue at this point.

    Mike St. Clair


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