Family Tree Shortcuts

Using Free Records

Maybe you’re interested in’s amazing resources such as the census or BMD records (births and deaths and marriages), but the price is a little intimidating. And perhaps you just don’t feel like the free trial is for you if all you want is a few censuses and BMD. After all, it’s just births and deaths, right? That’s alright because has loads of free ancestry resources. In fact, if you’re looking for free ancestry, there really isn’t a better place. All you need is a registered guest account (which means that you have a username and password, but no associated costs or fees). To start a free account, just fill in your name to start building your family tree–Ancestry will take it from there and help you create a free account.

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Once you have a registered guest account, you simply need to know how to access the free ancestry records like the 1880 census or various BMD records. Most of’s 5 billion records are only available with a paid subscription. The free ancestry records (such as one or two censuses, a few BMD records, and a couple random resources) are therefore not mentioned much on the website itself since they’re such a tiny proportion, but here is a video explaining how to get to them using the card catalog:

Click on the full screen button to watch the video using your entire computer screen. You can also double-click the video to watch it full screen.

If the tiny fraction of free records isn’t enough for you, sign up for a full subscription and get access to all 5 billion!