How to Make the Most of Your Free Ancestry Church Account

July 18, 2017  - by 
Get access to for free using your LDS account.

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 tried to sign up for the free Ancestry account by clicking on the “Get Started” button on this webpage. The button goes to a page that states ‘page not found’.
      I have an account with Ancestry, but I can’t access anything without paying.

  1. I would love to collaborate with some of my family members who are also using Unfortunately I do not see a way that we can link our accounts. It would be really nice to be able to share our knowledge about our ancestors and build our family tree together. Now, we have to contact each other via Whatsapp and each build our own family tree. This is kind of sad because it detracts of an otherwise great website!

  2. Unfortunately, every time I try to access Ancestry through the Family Search offer, I am told how much my monthly subscription will be. It would be nice to use what Family Search certainly must be paying for us to use, but how?

      1. Yes. I do see that, thank you. My question is how to sign up. When I try to I am told how much it will cost each month instead of linking into the site I am trying to access.

        1. Hi Bev! Please contact FamilySearch Help to help resolve this issue. If you have an LDS membership connected FamilySearch account, you shouldn’t be getting any information about pricing. See if FamilySearch Help can assist you to make sure your FamilySearch account is setup correctly.

  3. I am a member of The Church Of Jesus Christ Of Latter Day Saints and tried to access my free Ancestry membership and was unable to, the message said I do not qualify at this time … Can you tell me why?

    1. Hi Krista! Thank you for your question. Please check out this LDS Membership partner access. If you have an LDS Membership FamilySearch account, you are able to participate with these partners. Perhaps your FamilySearch account is not correctly connected to your LDS Membership account. Please contact FamilySearch Help to help resolve this issue.

  4. William Lawson My 5x great grandfather was in the American Revolution and came to Nova Scotia after. I am looking for his history before then. He may have come from England/Scotlnd as an indentured servant. He was married to Martha no last name). Would you be able to help me ?

  5. Does anyone know how to access the Newspapers information from Ancestry. Do I have to pay for the subscription?

    1. Hi Susan! Thank you for your question. The is a subscription site. You would need to pay for a subscription for this service or you would need to access this site via a library that offers the subscription service for free.

  6. When I try to import my tree from family search onto ancestry, it will only upload 4 generations of ancestors. Is there a way I can upload all of them?

    1. Hi Eliza! Thank you for your question. The transfer is only 4 generations at a time. You can go to the end of a line that you just loaded in, and then load 4 more generations from that person and repeat for all the other lines.

  7. I am trying to connect my Family Search account with an ancestry account, but it says I have a different account already connected. I don’t know how to find out which ancestry account is connected to my Family Search account. Any ideas?