Beginning December 13, 2017, all users of the FamilySearch website will see a prompt to register for a free FamilySearch account or will need to sign in to their existing account to continue enjoying all the free expanded benefits FamilySearch has to offer. Previously, users could access many of the functions of the website without having to log in.
The change was prompted by some of FamilySearch’s partners, who have insisted on authenticated accounts before providing data to FamilySearch. 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.
Since its launch in 1999, FamilySearch has added millions of users, billions of various historical records and new features, such as 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.
“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.
Without signing in, there are still a number of things you can do on FamilySearch. You can search the catalogue, digitized books, genealogies, the Wiki, and the learning center, and view user-contributed photos and stories.
If you have not already registered for a free account, visit Registering to use FamilySearch.org for information about creating a free account.