For decades Ancestry has been a leader in the family history arena. Today it is the largest commercial family history research site. With 20 billion records from 80 countries and 80 million family trees boasting 8 billion names, Ancestry has something to offer just about everyone. A partnership between Ancestry and FamilySearch allows members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to enjoy a free membership to the Ancestry site. Besides the extensive number of records, family tree names, and other resources, Ancestry also has many features that allow for seamless integration between Ancestry and FamilySearch, helping you more effectively find your ancestors.
Ancestry Account Sign-Up
To sign up for your free Ancestry account, visit the Ancestry.com page on FamilySearch. If you already have an Ancestry account, you can convert it to an Church account, which allows you to access some unique features and integration tools with FamilySearch that are available only through a partnership account. Church members with free Ancestry accounts can access 99 percent of Ancestry’s databases. The only exceptions occur when a contractual agreement limits free access. The account also does not include other Ancestry partner sites like Fold3 or special services like Ancestry DNA.
After you have signed up, your free Ancestry subscription gives you access to billions of historical records, including census, immigration, church, military, birth, marriage, and death records, as well as city directories, probates, naturalizations, and numerous other records. Many of these records are not available anywhere else. Ancestry’s powerful search tools allow flexibility and precision in finding information about your ancestors. Just as with FamilySearch, Ancestry’s software uses records in its collections to provide hints (possible matches) for individuals on your family tree.
But Ancestry offers more than just records. Visit the active Ancestry Support Community, where you can post or even answer questions. When you need help with your research, be sure to explore Ancestry’s comprehensive collection of articles, blogs, and other information. The blog features the latest news, tips, and developments in genealogy research. Perhaps you will choose to begin with the Getting Started section, where you will find instructions and useful hints for people who are new to the site. You will also want to spend time at Ancestry Academy, where you will find short videos and courses on family history topics. All videos related to using Ancestry features and records are free. Other courses and videos, created by the country’s leading genealogical experts, are available only with a paid subscription.
Ancestry and FamilySearch Integration
One of the best features of Ancestry is how well it interacts with FamilySearch. The communication and sharing between the two sites enables you to move seamlessly back and forth, weaving together the information you find. To take advantage of these features, just remember to log in to your Ancestry account that is linked to FamilySearch. Below you will find just a few of the ways that Ancestry and FamilySearch work well together:
Importing Your FamilySearch Tree. The usual way of transferring family tree information between programs has been to create and then import a GEDCOM, a file nearly universally recognized across family history software. But Ancestry has made importing your tree so much easier. With Ancestry you can import up to 4 generations of your FamilySearch family tree directly into Ancestry. To do this:
- From the navigation bar, choose Trees.
- Select Import Tree from FamilySearch.
- Once an individual has been imported, visit his or her profile screen. In the upper right corner, click the FamilySearch icon.
- From the options that appear, select Add relatives from FamilySearch. This allows you to add immediate family members or add an additional 4 generations to the end of a line. In this way, you can continue to expand your family tree in Ancestry.
Syncing Information. Ancestry also allows you to sync information between your Ancestry family tree and your FamilySearch family tree. The advantage of importing a tree is that the people are automatically linked. Otherwise, you can connect people individually. To sync your information:
- On the Profile screen, click the FamilySearch icon. Ancestry will then search your FamilySearch tree to find possible matches and will display those for you.
- If you believe the two individuals are a match, click Connect Person. Once connected, any changes made to that person in one program will apply to that person in the other program.
Sharing sources. After you have imported your family tree, Ancestry will automatically search its records, looking for additional information for the people on your tree. It will alert you to possible matches by displaying a small leaf by your ancestor. To verify the information, click the person icon, and then click Ancestry Hints (the example below shows 14 hints). You may then choose a possible match that you would like to examine.
Just as with FamilySearch, you can confirm that the information matches your ancestor. Then Ancestry creates a detail-by-detail comparison of the information in the record with the information in your tree. You can add the information to your tree and attach the record. If the person is already connected to your FamilySearch account, the information will be added there as well. You do not need to save or download the document to be able to upload it to your FamilySearch family tree.
- Go to the Person screen of the individual.
- On the right of the screen, find the Search Records box.
- Select Ancestry or a different FamilySearch partner to search. You will be told you are leaving the FamilySearch site and then be shown possible matches from Ancestry (or another selected partner).
Temple Work on Ancestry
An exciting feature of the collaboration between Ancestry and FamilySearch is that Church members are now able to submit a name on Ancestry for temple ordinances. To do this:
- From the Profile screen of an individual, click the FamilySearch icon.
- From the drop-down menu that appears, click Ordinance Details. A screen will open in FamilySearch and show the individual’s ordinance information. Review what temple work has been done and what information is still needed.
- If the individual’s information is correct and complete, you can submit the name for temple work as you normally would in FamilySearch. For more information about how to submit a name, see this guide.
When you sign up for your free Ancestry account, you can access Ancestry’s vast collection of records, easily import your family tree from FamilySearch, collaborate with others, and sync records effortlessly. Join today, and see how fast your family tree can grow!
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