Church Members Gain Free Access to 17.8 Billion Family History Records

Contributed By R. Scott Lloyd, Church News staff writer

  • 2 October 2014

Billions of records are now available free of charge to all Church members to help with family history work.

Article Highlights

  • Church members can visit familysearch.org/partneraccess to use the new service.
  • Every Church member can use Ancestry.com, findmypast.com, and MyHeritage.com at no cost.
  • Billions of historical records will now be available for free.

“Free subscriptions to the three major family history websites provide Latter-day Saints about 3.5 times the online content to help them identify their ancestors.” —Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch

An eagerly anticipated benefit for Church members who use the Church’s FamilySearch Internet genealogy service became a reality September 26 with free access to three major commercial genealogy services.

Personal subscriptions to Ancestry.com, findmypast.com, and MyHeritage.com now may be obtained at no cost for Latter-day Saints as part of individual agreements made with them by FamilySearch, which is the family history arm of the Church.

To sign up for a free subscription to each of the services, Church members may visit familysearch.org/partneraccess. Youth ages 13–17 require parental permission to access the content.

“Free subscriptions to the three major family history websites provide Latter-day Saints about 3.5 times the online content to help them identify their ancestors,” said Dennis Brimhall, CEO of FamilySearch, in a news release. “This is possible because of the great relationship we have with these companies, their generosity, and a recognition of the investment in time and tithes members of the Church have invested in the shared records.”

He emphasized that the collaboration benefits everyone through technology sharing in that patrons of the commercial websites will now have access to FamilySearch content and the general public will have free access to the websites when they visit any of the Church’s 4,800 family history centers.

In total, the commercial websites, together with FamilySearch, give access to more than 17.8 billion records.

Church members who use FamilySearch have been waiting for the benefit for months. Last February, the upcoming partnerships were announced and were discussed at that month’s RootsTech 2014 conference sponsored in Salt Lake City by FamilySearch. It was noted then that later in the year, Church members would be able to get free subscriptions to the commercial sites on their home computers through their FamilySearch registration.

On its website home page, Ancestry.com describes itself as “the world’s largest online family history resource,” home to billions of historical records and millions of family trees.

Findmypast.com offers exclusive records not found on other websites and expertise in British and Irish genealogy.

And MyHeritage, based in Or Yehuda, near Tel Aviv, Israel, has more than 75 million users worldwide and has more than 4 billion records in its database and more than 27 million family trees and 163 million photos on its website.