Free Ancestry Records – Tips and Techniques to Find Accurate Free Ancestry Records
Free ancestry records searches are offered by many websites on the Internet. But are they really free, and if so, are they accurate? It’s fine to take advantage of a free ancestor search, but if the data returned is inaccurate, it could severely sabotage your family tree. Knowing a few search tips and techniques can help you to find data of real worth and ensure the accuracy of any information returned when you’re searching for free ancestry records.
Learn to Recognize Legitimate Sources of Free Ancestry Records
The old adage "if it’s too good to be true, it probably isn’t" holds especially true when searching for free ancestry records. Most of us who spend a reasonable amount of time on the internet know that the word "free" is generally used as a hook to lead us into purchasing one thing or another. Often the only information we get free when we respond to an ad is the "free" information that what you really need is going to cost you something!
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Free trial advertisements are especially misleading. Although they are genuinely free for a certain time period, you often have to register your credit card information. Then, when the time period is up, if you haven’t unregistered, your card is charged. What if we forget? It doesn’t matter, you should have remembered to unsubscribe. But there are websites that do offer free ancestry records, with no catch. Let’s take a look at some of them and identify the distinguishing characteristics that make them genuinely free.
Free Ancestry Records at FamilySearch.org
On the home page of this website is a search engine. You can begin a free records search immediately – without registering and definitely without giving them your credit card info. To try it out, go to Family Search and type the information on your ancestor into the search engine boxes. You’ll notice that the free ancestry records returned are ancestral files, census reports and indexes which you can examine completely free. Any website that doesn’t make you sign-up or register your credit card information, yet still allows you access to records, is indeed a genuine provider of free ancestry records. But that doesn’t mean that all sites that ask you to sign up are not authentic free family ancestry providers. Many ask you to register simply to keep you updated on their latest developments.
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Free Ancestry Records at AncestralFindings.com
This is a website that asks you to register your email address in order to access their free ancestry records, but they have a very good reason for doing so. Their complete set of databases is located on their front page; I chose to search Connecticut Birth Records for the name Dennis Morris in the 1800’s. I entered and submitted the information and was returned a message saying that my "free inquiry has been sent to a volunteer within our Genealogy lookup department." Wow, not only free, but someone to do the research for me! It seemed too good to be true, so I checked my email inbox, and sure enough there was an email stating, "I received your free lookup request.
At first I thought that old adage isn’t always right, but I was disappointed to find that there is a catch, and it’s a tricky one, most of the databases that they link to are paid databases. So contact them for free look-ups but be aware that if you want to see the records from that website, you’re going to have to pay.
Basically the only way to find out if advertisements for free ancestry records are genuinely free is to thoroughly investigate the site. If you sign up for a free trial, don’t forget to unsubscribe before the time limit expires. You could find yourself locked into a contract, and no free ancestry record to show for it. Best to not sign up for anything that requires your credit card information, and use sites like Family Search and Ancestral Findings for your free ancestry records searches.