Ancestry provides free access to over 27 billion historic records for Easter

Date published: 01 April 2021

For the first time ever, Ancestry is providing free access to its entire collection of over 27 billion historic online records from across the world this Easter weekend.

Research shows that the pandemic has encouraged a quarter (24%) of people to find out more about their ancestors, with the same number (24%) having made family history discoveries over lockdown they weren’t aware of before.

TV programmes such as Who Do You Think You Are? and Long Lost Family are providing inspiration, with 28% of Brits citing these shows as prompting them to make a start on their family history journeys.

When it comes to what we already know, the study found that people are most commonly aware of what their ancestors did for a living (58%), followed by where they lived (54%) and their involvement in the World Wars (54%).

One in ten (10%) Brits also hope to find a scandal, whilst 14% have their hearts set on a love story.

The top five types of stories Brits are most keen to discover in their family history include:

  • A love story (14%)
  • A war story (13%)
  • A scandal (10%)
  • A story about a war hero (10%)
  • A story linked to a celebrity (8%)

The study also revealed that discovering forgotten or missing family history stories would help half (50%) of people feel more connected to their family generally, with a similar amount (49%) interested in discovering family stories across the world and more than a third (35%) suspecting their family history lies outside of Britain.

Finding personal letters or diaries (36%) alongside birth (36%) and marriage (36%) announcements are the records we want to obtain most to help uncover an untold family history story, swiftly followed by military records (29%) and criminal records (23%).

“Uncovering family history stories from our past can be a great way to connect with loved ones and learn more about where we came from. Finding out what our ancestors once did for a living or the challenges they overcame in their lives can be inspiring and sometimes eye-opening,” said Simon Pearce, family history expert at Ancestry.

“That’s why this Easter long weekend, for the first time ever we’re providing free access to all of our historical records in the UK and worldwide. It’s the perfect opportunity for Brits to find stories in our family trees that we can share and pass down for generations to come.’’

To try out Ancestry’s free access and learn more about your family history, visit Here you can start delving into the historical records including the 1939 Register to uncover where your family were during the onset of World War II.

Additionally, the selection of Parish records available on the site can help provide key pieces of information such as names, ages, addresses, occupations, or siblings for your family who might have been in England and Wales at the time.

Free access starts 2 Apr at 00.01am and ends 5 Apr 2021 at 11.59 pm. To view these records you will need to register for free with with your name and email address. You will then be sent a user name and password to access the records. After the free access period ends, you will only be able to view the records in the featured collections using an paid membership.

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