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Web Search

A wealth of genealogical information is made available online by libraries, local governments, genealogical societies, universities and genealogists. Ancestry.com Web Search makes it easy to find records from many of these content publishers. To help you find genealogy information wherever it exists, we summarize basic information from freely-available Web records and provide a link to the original site where you can view the full record, including any associated images.

The guiding principles of Web Search are:

  • Free access to Web Records – Users do not have to subscribe or even register with Ancestry.com to view these records
  • Proper attribution of Web Records to content publishers
  • Easy access to Web Records – Prominent links in search results and the record page make it easy to get to the source website

What’s the difference between Web Records and Ancestry.com records?

Web Records are published online by entities other than Ancestry.com. What you see on Ancestry.com is an index of basic information (such as names, dates, places and family members) that aids in searching. Often you can find out much more by visiting the source website, including references, publication information, comments, historical context, and even images.

In some cases you may need to perform a search on the external website to find the record you’re looking for.

Do I need to register or pay in order to access Web Records?

No. Web Records are freely searchable and accessible without any registration or sign-in required.

Which records are included in Web Search?

We look for family history records on free-to-access websites that we think will be of interest to you. Our goal is to provide pointers to as many interesting free family history records on other websites as possible in order to provide the best available genealogy search experience.

Only freely-available websites which allow indexing are included in the Web Search index. Sites can be added to or removed from Web Search by owner request.

For content publishers and website owners:

We follow web standards for restricting crawling (robots.txt files). If a website has a robots.txt file that prohibits crawling the genealogical records, we don’t search those records. If records from your website are included, but you would like them removed, simply send your request to websearch@ancestry.com or call our member services team at 1-800-262-3787.