Free Access to Genealogy Websites for LDS Members



Working on computerjpgGood news for the genealogists who are Mormon! FamilySearch.org has been working on a partnership with several of the most popular genealogy websites. Sometime soon, this will enable members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to obtain free subscriptions several of the websites that are helpful to genealogists.

The original plan was announced in February of 2014 on the FamilySearch blog. The blog points out that FamilySearch is committed to working collaboratively with select commercial family history companies in order to put the world’s historical records online in one generation. That’s a very big task!

The task will be accomplished with the help of some of the industry leaders in genealogy. There were long-term agreements put in place between FamilySearch.org and the following websites: Ancestry.com, Archives.com, FindMyPast, Fold3, and MyHeritage. The main idea was that these companies would be sharing their genealogy resources.

Originally, it was expected that the free access would not be available until the end of 2014. Things appear to be moving quicker than expected. FamilySearch’s partner marketing manager, Thom Reed, told Deseret News the following:

“In the next two months, we will begin with a limited rollout. Patrons will be notified by an individual email invitation once we go live. We anticipate broad access for all members of the church will happen in the late summer, early fall, if all goes well.”

Those who receive an individual invitation by email will be able to create free personal accounts on all of the sites that have partnered with FamilySearch.org. What happens if someone already has a paid subscription to one (or more) of those websites? They will be given the option to convert their paid accounts to a free version.

Right now, free access to two commercial family history websites is available to the general public at more than 4,700 FamilySearch-owned family history centers and libraries and worldwide. Those commercial sites are Ancestry.com and FindMyPast. MyHeritage is expected to start offering free access later in 2014.

The partnership between FamilySearch.org and the commercial genealogy companies that are working with it will bring genealogists access to a plethora of genealogy resources. Ideally, this will make the task of doing research on one’s family tree a little bit more efficient. It is easy to see how the access to a large amount of records would make it more possible for genealogists to complete their family trees.

Image by Heather & Tim on Flickr.

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