How to Make the Most of Your Free Ancestry Church Account

July 18, 2017  - by 

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

Join AmericanAncestors for free using your LDS account.

To sign up for your free Ancestry account, visit the 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.

Ancestry Highlights

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:

Import your FamilySearch tree to using your free LDS account.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:

  1. From the navigation bar, choose Trees.
  2. Select Import Tree from FamilySearch.
  3. Once an individual has been imported, visit his or her profile screen. In the upper right corner, click the FamilySearch icon.
  4. 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.
Add relatives from FamilySearch to your Ancestry tree using your free LDS account.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Connect people on Ancestry and FamilySearch using your free LDS account.

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.

Learn how to use hints in your family history work. Learn how to use hints in your family history work.

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.

Save people to your tree on using your free LDS account.

Search for records using your free using your LDS account.Keep in mind that you can also search Ancestry records from FamilySearch. To do this:

  1. Go to the Person screen of the individual.
  2. On the right of the screen, find the Search Records box.
  3. 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:

  1. From the Profile screen of an individual, click the FamilySearch icon.
  2. 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.
  3. Submit names for temple ordinances through for free using your LDS account.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!

Learn About Your Other Free Accounts:

American Ancestors




Leslie Albrecht Huber

Leslie Albrecht Huber has written for dozens of magazines and journals on genealogy and other topics. She currently does communications consulting and contract work for nonprofit organizations. Leslie received a bachelor's degree in history from Brigham Young University and a Master of Public Affairs (MPA) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked as a professional genealogist, helpingothers trace their families, and has spoken on genealogy and history topics to groups across the United States.

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  1. I received a subscription when I ordered my DNA from Ancestry.. I am member of LDS and have just imported my Family Search records into Ancestry but I wish I had read this article on Ancestry for LDS before I did my import. Now I’m not sure it is correctly set up. How do I verify that everything is OK.

  2. Once the 4 generations are linked, how do I proceed further to link up additional generations? Please don’t tell me I have to manually typed in every detail and record for every person!!

    1. No … but you have to do it for each end line 4th generation ancestor. Click on the name, bring up the profile page and click on the familysearch icon to find the option of importing the next four generations

  3. When attempting to connect Family Tree to Ancestry I get this error message
    “Thank you for your interest, but you do not qualify for this offer”

    1. Yes they do! The easiest way to get to it is to go to your person page and under the “search records” section click on Ancestry.