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Kimberly Powell

Free Genealogy FamilySearch Historical Records

By December 25, 2012

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The question I get asked more than any other is where people can access genealogical records for free. There are many answers and many more websites, but the largest single source for 100% free genealogical records (no ads or credit card required) is the fantastic collection known as FamilySearch Historical Records.

The FamilySearch Historical Records collection is provided online for research at no cost by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. To date there are 1,413 individual collections containing more than 3.5 billion genealogical records from around the world. To give you an idea of the vast coverage of the collections, this past week alone FamilySearch added (or added to) U.S. Bureau of Land Management Tract Books, 1820-1908; Western Ukraine Catholic Church Books, 1600-1937; Passenger Lists of ships arriving in Tampa, Florida; World War I Enemy Alien Registration Affidavits, 1918 from San Francisco, California;Denmark, Estate Records, 1436-1964;Russia, Simbirsk Church Books, 1768-1939; plus several more free collections.

The FamilySearch website is funded entirely by the Mormon church and does not require any type of subscription fee. There are a few individual record collections that may require you to register for a free account in order to access the records, but this is because of requests/contracts with the original record holders. There is no fee to create or use a FamilySearch account. If you're unfamiliar with the site, then you may want to read Search Tips for FamilySearch Historical Records for help with fully utilizing the many resources and records available.

Spend this holiday time to browse and enjoy. Then come back and let us know what you have found!

December 28, 2012 at 11:05 am
(1) Barbara says:

It is very misleading when you say find or search for free items and then you click on them it comes up you have to join or pay for such information. If it’s free then you shouldn’t have to pay for it.

December 29, 2012 at 11:37 pm
(2) Don says:

In regard to FamilySearch what part of free is misleading?

A free, no strings attached registration is still free.

January 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm
(3) Theresa says:

I agree if it states for free you should not have to pay for something. Regardless it is free and you should be able to obtain it free.

January 1, 2013 at 6:40 pm
(4) Esther says:

“At least find out if it’s the right document before having to pay for it.

January 2, 2013 at 1:45 am
(5) Arlene MIles says:

FamilySearch.org is totally FREE. They ask that you sign in and use a password, I think this is their way of keeping track of the amount of researchers are using their site. It also gives the researcher some say in what they would like to see and/or help make available new information.
Check out the site completely before jumping to any conclusions. I am sure you will find it very useful once you know how to use it.

January 2, 2013 at 12:51 pm
(6) Marti says:

Lots of sights say FREE SEARCH and that is exactly what they provide. By using these (fee based) sites you can SEARCH and thus verify that such a record exists! IF you want to pay the fee and join, you can look further in that site’s records OR you can jot down the info, and open up Family Search site for FREE and look at the document you have verified really exists!! OR you can go to your local library and access those some of fee based sites for free.
The FEE sites offer FREE SEARCH, not the whole access to information. They exist to make a profit.

January 3, 2013 at 9:35 am
(7) Missy says:

I have been using FamilySearch for quite a while now, and no, some records are NOT free. Some census records are NOT free. You will either have to subscribe to Fold3 or Ancestry.com to access them. So, no….FamilySearch is not TOTALLY free…anymore. I’m not sure just when they started doing this, but it is very annoying. But I do still use them for their records that are free. I even sent them a message regarding this “Free” access, but, no response.

January 3, 2013 at 10:29 am
(8) Don says:

If the records and images reside on the FamilySearch site, they are free to view.

If they reside on another site (and you will be leaving FamilySearch to view them), there should be no expectation of free access.

January 14, 2013 at 4:58 pm
(9) Michael says:

Access to the records found on FamilySearch is free. These records include indexes and digitized images. If images are not available for an indexed record, then there may be a link to another contracted site where the images reside. There may be a fee to view the images on these external sites, but the index back on FamilySearch will still be free. It all has to do with availability of the information as contracted between FamilySearch and the record holder.

Also, FamilySearch family history centers have free access to several subscription sites including Ancestry.com and Fold3.com, among others.

April 9, 2013 at 8:43 am
(10) Caroline says:

I thought this site was free .If I lookup FREE in dictionary the definition said no paying .So y do you need card numbers .better refraise your add

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July 11, 2013 at 6:47 pm
(12) Augusta says:

Fastidious response in return of this question with real arguments and describing everything
on the topic of that.

July 12, 2013 at 8:51 pm
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September 14, 2013 at 4:49 pm
(14) Carol says:

I agree! I get so frustrated with these sights, They say find it free, and you can do that but you can’t view it, what good is that? These places are making boocoo bucks on information I’ll bet they didn’t pay for. They ask you to submit your tree and what do you get for it?? NOTHING not even a free subscription!

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