Announcing a Change on FamilySearch: a New Free Sign-in Process Offers Greater Subscriber Experiences and Benefits

The following announcement was written by the folks at: FamilySearch

Salt Lake City, Utah (16 November 2017), Beginning December 13, 2017, patrons visiting will see a prompt to register for a free FamilySearch account or sign in to their existing account to continue enjoying all the free expanded benefits FamilySearch has to offer. Since its launch in 1999, FamilySearch has added millions of users, billions of various historical records, and many fun, new features like Family Tree, Memories, mobile apps, digital books, and dynamic help. In order to accommodate continued growth of these and future free services, FamilySearch must assure all its partners that its content is offered in a safe and secure online environment. Patrons creating a free account and signing in fulfills that need.

Patron sign in will also enable FamilySearch to satisfy the ongoing need for user authentication. This authentication can deliver rich, personalized discovery, collaboration, and help experiences. Simply put, signed-in visitors can access more searchable content and enjoy more personalized services.

“A large percentage of our current site visitors are not benefiting from much of what FamilySearch has to offer because they don’t realize the need to simply sign in with their free account to do so,” said Steve Rockwood, FamilySearch CEO. “They are basically arriving in the parking lot but not coming inside for the main event,” he said about website visitors who do not sign in.

FamilySearch is committed to patron privacy and does not share personal account information with any third party without a patron’s consent.

See Registering to use for information about creating a free account.


1. Do I have to pay for a FamilySearch account? 

No. Your FamilySearch account is, and always will be, free.

2. How do I create a free FamilySearch account?  

See Registering to use The only information you will need is your first and last name, a username, a password, and an email or mobile phone number.

3. What if I have forgotten my username or password? 

4. Will you sell my information?  

FamilySearch does not share your personal account information with any third party without your consent.

5. How will my experience be enhanced?  

FamilySearch offers many services and experiences that are free but that require you to sign in as a subscriber to fully use. In addition to historical records and Family Tree access, signed-in subscribers receive personalized experiences, notifications, and other features (see above).

6. Why do users need to log in to perform searches or to create a family tree?  

FamilySearch wants to provide you more access to records and a rich, personalized experience with more successful discoveries. By signing in, you allow the FamilySearch system to customize and deliver its best services to you.

7. How will my contact information be used?  

  • Your information is used in the FamilySearch system to facilitate collaboration between users (you control how much information is shared).
  • The Family Tree and Memories features display your username and any other contact information you approve when using select features.
  • Your information allows you to send in-system messages to other users without revealing your personal identity or email address.
  • FamilySearch will send you email and newsletters to keep you informed. You can specify how much email, if any, you receive.
  • Your contact information is accessed when you contact the support group for help.

8. Is there anything I can do without signing in?

Absolutely. There are still a number of things you can do on FamilySearch without signing in. You can search the catalog, digitized booksgenealogies, the Wiki, and the learning center. You can also view user-contributed photos and stories.


About FamilySearch

FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessors have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,921 family history centers in 129 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.


I use FamilySearch records search a lot, and do have a FamilySearch account, but tend to use it only for my occasional tree searches. The problem is that although there is a checkbox to stay signed in for 2 weeks, a sign-in in only valid during the same session. Close the browser, and next time, you need to sign in again. No recognition on subsequent visits and a real pain for (up ’til now) little benefit.


I use Google Chrome most of the time and it will save passwords for you, so when you click “sign in” it is done immediately, comes in real handy especially after you clear “Browsing History”. I don’t have them save my banking password. I agree that Family Search needs to fix it so you actually stay signed, right after they did and “upgrade” I went off and an hour later when I went back in I did not have to sign in. Only happened that one time though.


I already have an account, but I hate having to sign in again every time the site crashes my iPad (which seems to happen every five minutes), so I usually do not sign in to search the historic records unless I find something I want to add to my sourcebox, or to the family tree. I also sometimes conduct searches when I am at the public library and will be reluctant to do so if I have to expose my personal account information to potential theft by logging in to a public computer. This change will definitely impede my ability to use what, until now, has been my favorite genealogy resource.


    Comment to everyone who has commented above:

    I see several comments about how the sign-in process works today. Please keep in mind that the sign-in software is being REPLACED.

    Maybe the new sign-in process will be better. Maybe not. But one thing I am confident of is that it will be DIFFERENT.

    I’d suggest not using today’s sign-in process as a guide to what the future process will be like. Let’s wait and see.


Agree with above. Having to sign on every time is a real pain so most of the time I don’t do it. Please fix!


Numbers and amount of usage are important to LDS. Signing in helps with this. There are pluses and minuses, but it does assist in prioritizing things like what microfilm to digitize and what areas are important to people. Case in point – for regular visitors to the Family History Library, things keep getting tweaked. Microfilm readers are going away and being replaced with computers. Last time I went I took maybe a half dozen file folders and a flash drive.


Try Roboform form for sign-in help. I’ve been using it for years.


I forget to sign in often enough for it to be an annoyance, so I click the ‘stay logged in for two weeks’ button – the button doesn’t work. I don’t mind signing in – the prompt will be much better, my password is already saved so clicking a prompt will be a great reminder. Great fix, FamilySearch!


It doesn’t recognize you when you ARE signed in. I can already be signed in and my name shows as signed in on a page I have open. If I access a link someone has posted to a record and click on it, even though it opens in the same browser (new tab), it will tell me I need to sign in, so I have to click “sign in” on the new tab that opened. (Same on both Firefox and Chrome).


What’s with all the griping?? Remember that the website, including its billions of records and images, is completely free to use, 24/7. Have we become so pampered, so spoiled, that the task of having to ‘sign in’ has become unbearable and simply to much to ask?

Liked by 1 person

    The point was, now FamilySearch will know why so few people signed in. And that the “new” sign-in must be better (not just different access).


Announcing a Change on FamilySearch: a New Sign-in Process Offers Greater Hoovering of Subscriber Data With No Benefits to “Subscribers”


Part of me wants a paid option on FamilySearch so I don’t have to drive an hour to an LDS center to look at certain records.


    I agree with your sentiments about long distance to a FH center. But I doubt FS will ever have a paid option. Those records you can only look at an F H center or the main librarysre provided by contractual agree ents with the source (archive, courthouse etc) of the record. I am sure they have trued to renegotiate some contracts as they are partnering with many different organizations nowadays. But some organizations don’t want the world to access their records.
    At least you don’t have to drive to Salt Lake for those records.


Wonderful upgrade to Family Search! I’m all for protecting our access to free searches and I thank them!

Liked by 1 person

That sign-in bug has been on their list to fix for many years. Hopefully they will get to it now that they are requiring people to be signed in to access certain things.


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