Want to hammer down some of the costs of using Ancestry and buying their products?  You can find coupon codes and other deals on Ancestry itself, as well as elsewhere on the Internet.  Read on for more information.

How to find coupon codes

Coupon codes and deals for can be found on many popular virtual coupon websites, such as Ultimate Coupons, The Raw Feed, Blue Promo Code, and Coupon Chief.  Usually, there will be a button that says “Reveal Code” or “Use Discount” that you can click.

It can be a little bit tricky to find specific Ancestry coupon codes that aren’t deals that Ancestry already offers.  So as a tip, try searching for “Ancestry coupon code” along with a keyword or two about the specific product or service that you’re looking for.  For example, try adding “DNA kit” if you’re looking for coupons for DNA tests from Ancestry, or “family tree maker” if you want the software that allows you to build a family tree on your home computer.

If shopping for DNA Kits

You will be able to enter your coupon code as you review your order, after you input your shipping and billing information.  On that screen, under “Order Summary”, click Have a Coupon?

Now, type in your coupon code in the box that appears and click Redeem.

You will see the coupon code’s discount subtracted from your purchase; in this case, it eliminates the shipping cost.

If shopping for Family Tree Maker (or related books)

You can apply a coupon code once you have Family Tree Maker software or a companion guide in your shopping cart on Ancestry.  Simply go to My Cart and find the area that says “Redeem Coupons”, click in the box beside “Coupon Code” and type in your code, and click Redeem.

Other offers from

 Ancestry has its own offers page, which you can find here.  For example, as of the writing of this article (and besides the free two-week trial, which we show you how to get in our Free Trial tutorial), you can get a 30% discount on a “World Explorer” subscription if you’re a member of the A.A.R.P.  To start, click Get Deal.

From there, click Join Today to begin the sign up process.  (See our how to sign up for Ancestry tutorial if you need help.)  At some point, you will be asked to enter your A.A.R.P. registration number, and your discount will automatically be applied to your subscription.

If you’ve already signed up for this subscription, don’t worry… you aren’t necessarily missing out!  Simply call customer service at 1-800-514-4645 (7 days a week, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET), and the next time you renew your subscription, you’ll get the discount!


Anyway, that’s a bit about how to use coupon codes to save money on Ancestry! Search

While Ancestry might be able to give you a few clues with its “Hint” system as to who your ancestors and other relatives are (or were), sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and dig through the documents yourself.  So, in this tutorial, we’re going to show you how to use the Ancestry internal search engine to look through their databases of historical records.

Just as a heads-up, most of the records databases cannot be searched without having a paid subscription (see our “How Much Does Ancestry Cost” article for a general list of which subscriptions offer you access to which databases).  However, there are certain records databases that can be searched by anyone for free, even if they don’t have an Ancestry account .  We will provide a link to those databases at the end of this tutorial.

To search on

  1. Go to in your web browser and log in.
  2. Move your mouse cursor over Search in the menu across the top.  Here, you will have the option to search through different classes of records; you can even search for someone in another user’s family tree, or a specific collection of records (i.e. a census, marriage index, military service log, and so on for a certain year or years, or from a certain country).


    Your search options will change slightly depending on your selection, but for right now, let’s just click Search All Records.

  3. There are quite a few different options on this screen, so we’ll go through them in two different sections.  The first section is the actual information criteria for the person whom you’re trying to find. The numbered captions below the screenshot will explain what the functions highlighted by the numbers in the screenshot do.

    1. Match All Terms Exactly – Click this check box to automatically set all relevant options to search for exact matches to information you enter. Click it again to reset this.

    2. First and Middle Names / Last Names – Type in the first and middle names (if you know them) of the person you’re looking for in the left box, and then their last name in the one on the right. Click the menu below each box to narrow your search to records with names that sound similar, are spelt similarly or mean similar things, that start with those letters (including initials), or exact matches.

    3. Life Events – Click the drop-down menu that says “Any Event” and select the type of life event that this person had that you want to search for (e.g. birth, marriage, death, military career, and so on).  Then click in the box that says “Year” and type in the year that the event happened. You can click the check box beside “Exact” to search for an event in that exact year, or click the drop-down menu beneath “+/-” to search for that event within one, two, five, or ten years of the year that you entered. 

    Finally, click in the box that says “Location” and type in where you think the event happened (Ancestry will give you suggestions that you can choose from). Click the menu below the box to choose whether or not to limit your search to events that happened exactly at this place.

    Click Add Life Events to add another life event as a search criterion, or click the trash can icon () beside an event to remove it from your search.

    4. Family Members – Click the drop-down menu that says “Choose…” and select the relationship of the person you’re using as a search criterion to the person you’re searching for.  Then click the boxes labelled “First Name” and “Last Name” and type in the relevant information (if you know it).  If you selected Father, Mother, or Spouse, you can also click the check boxes beside “Exact” below either box to search for an exact name match.

    Click Add Family Members to add another family member as a search criterion, or click the trash can icon () beside a family member to remove them from your search.

    5. Keyword – Type in sets of key words (with each set separated by a comma) that you think are related to that person, such as perhaps an organization or military division they were part of, or their occupation.  You can type quotation marks around a set of key words to search for that set of words in exactly that order, or click the check box beside “Exact” to do this for all sets of keywords that you entered.

    6. Gender and Race/Nationality – Click the drop-down menu labelled “Select” and choose whether you want to look for males or females.  You can also click in the box labelled “Race/Nationality” and type in a specific ethnicity or citizenship to search for; you can click the check box beside “Exact” to look for exact matches.

  4. The second section deals with what kinds of records you’re searching for, and what collections you’ll be searching in.  You can click the drop-down menu under “Collection Priority” and select a country or ethnicity to give greater weight to results from that collection.  You can also click the check box beside “Show Only Records From These Collections” to exclude records from all other collections from your results.

    You can also click the check boxes below this to decide if you want to search for a person in historical records, other users’ public family trees, stories and other publications (such as newspapers), and/or tagged photos and videos.

    When you’re ready, click Search.

  5. When you get to the results page, you can click on different points in the bars beside the search criteria categories to change how exact you want your results to match your search terms.  You can also click the drop-down menu beside “Collection” and search in the collection(s) for a different country or ethnicity.  Then click Update to fetch new search results accordingly.

    You can also click Edit Search to quickly change your search terms (without having to leave the page), or click New Search to clear all of your search criteria and start fresh.

  6. You can also click the Categories tab in the top-right corner to see a list of databases from which results were found.  Click on a category to see all databases within that category that returned records as results, or click a database to see all records in that database that match your search terms.

  7. Move your mouse cursor over the name of a record to view a preview of its details; click the name of it or click See More to view more information on that record.  You can also click View Image to see a digitized image of the record, if there is one available.


Those are the basics of how to search for people and historical records on!

How to search free databases

There are certain Ancestry databases on that anyone can search for free, even if they don’t have an account. 

Click here to search within the free databases on Family Tree

The family tree maker is one of the core ways for you to explore your heritage on Ancestry.  Enter the family details that you know, and let Ancestry find you “Hints” of records that may point you towards more ancestors.  You can also just search for extra information on your own, based on what you know, and even invite other people to help you with your search!

To build a family tree on

  1. Go to in your web browser and log in.

  2. Move your mouse cursor over Family Trees in the menu across the top, and click Start a New Tree.

  3. To start your family tree, the first person you’re going to want to enter information about is yourself, of course!  Click Add Yourself.

  4. A window will pop up that will allow you to enter details about yourself.  The only thing you are required to input is your gender and whether you are living or deceased (we should hope that you’re still alive, or else you wouldn’t be doing this right now!).  However, you can also add your name, your birth date, and your birthplace.  (If you marked yourself as “deceased”, you would also have the opportunity to enter a death date and death location.)

    Click the check box beside “I’m Starting with Myself” if you are the youngest generation in your immediate family.  Otherwise, you will be able to add information about your descendants around yourself in the family tree.  (Note: for this tutorial, I happen to be the youngest generation, so I will be starting with myself.)  When you’re done entering information, click Continue.

  5. If you have (or had) a spouse, click Add Spouse, and you will be able to enter information about them.  Otherwise, the next step is to add information about your parents.  Click either Add Father or Add Mother.

    The process for adding information about your father or mother is pretty much the same as it was for entering information about yourself (see step 4). 

  6. After entering information about your father or mother, you will be asked to save your family tree.

    Click in the box labelled “Name Your Tree” and type in a name (if you don’t like the one that’s already there).  You can also click the check box beside “Allow Others to View This Tree” to unmark it if you don’t want to show your family tree to others. 

    If you do allow others to view your family tree, they can help you search for missing relatives in your family tree.  However, to protect your privacy, they won’t be able to see your name or email address, they won’t be able to see anyone in your family tree marked as “living”, and they won’t be able to edit your family tree unless you give them permission to do so.  If you choose not to show your family tree, other people may still be able to search for someone in your family tree, but they will have to ask you for permission to see more information.

    Once you’ve made your decisions, click Save.

  7. You will now be taken to the main view of your family tree.  You can click and hold the mouse button down at any point, then drag the mouse around to move your view of your family tree.  Release the mouse button to stop moving your tree.

    You can also use the toolbar on the far right to control your family tree.  Click the “+” button to zoom in, or click the “-” button to zoom out.  You can also click and hold the mouse button down on the bar in the middle of this scale, and then move the mouse up or down to adjust the zoom to your liking.  Release the mouse button when you’re done.

    You can also click the reset button () to re-center your family tree on its starting point (which, in most cases, will be you), or click the home button () to re-center the family tree on you if you have temporarily made someone else the root of your family tree (more on that below).  Click the print button () to print a copy of your family tree. 

    Finally, you can click either Pedigree or Family to switch your family tree view.  Pedigree View displays your tree horizontally, making it easier to see ancestors.  Family View displays your tree vertically, making it easier to see descendants.

From here, adding more members to your family tree is the same as in steps 3 and 5: click on an empty tree space, fill in the person’s details (as far as you know), and then click Save.  That’s pretty much all there is to it!

How to add more information to your family tree

Following “Hints”

If you’ve added a few people to your family tree, but the details on some of them are a bit fuzzy, Ancestry may be able to help out.  You will see a small leaf beside a person’s entry if Ancestry has a “Hint” for you (i.e. it has found a historical document in its databases that might tell you who this person is).  Move your mouse cursor over their entry, and then click [X] Ancestry Hint(s) to see all historical documents that it has found that might tell you more information about that person.

For each option in the list, you can click Review to have a closer look at the record that Ancestry has found to see if it points to one of your relatives, or click Ignore if you don’t think this hint will be very helpful.  In this case, those are close to my grandparents’ names, but I don’t recall them ever living in the United States, so this “Hint” is probably a dead end.  However, I’ll check it out anyway.

On the next screen, you can click View to see the actual record for yourself.  Then, where Ancestry asks you if the person in this record is your relative, you can click Yes, No, or Maybe.  In this case, it says that my grandfather was a warehouseman, but I recall him being a carpenter for most of his life, so I’m going to say that this isn’t a good hint and click No.

Click Return to Your Tree in the top-right corner when you’re ready to return.

Adding and searching for more information on your own

If you strike out with your “Hints” (don’t worry; it happens more often than you’d think), you can always check out new information on your own. 

If you move your mouse cursor over an entry that you’ve already filled in, you will see several options for that person:

Profile: See all information you’ve collected or added about this person, edit it, or add more.
Quick Edit: Quickly edit this person’s basic facts, like their name, birthday, gender, etc.
View His/Her Family Tree: Make this person (instead of you) the root of the current family tree
Add Relative: Add a sibling, spouse, parent, or child, and enter their relevant information
Search: Search for historical documents that might have to do with this person

For now, let’s click Search.

A new page will open where it will automatically enter all information you’ve provided about a person into their search engine.  (See our search tutorial for more information on how to use it.)

After searching through some phone records, I found a place that I used to live under someone with a similar name to my father.  Alright!  Now we have a real hint!  Click View Record to have a closer look.

Like when viewing a “Hint”, you can view the actual record by clicking View (if it’s available, which in this case it unfortunately isn’t).  But that’s okay, because all of the information matches up!  Score!  Now, we can click Save, where we’ll have the option to save this information to the profile of the person we’re currently searching for.  You can also save this information to the profile of someone else in your family tree, or save it to look at later.  Let’s go ahead and save it to my father’s entry.

On the left-hand side, you can click the check boxes to decide what information you do or do not want to change in your current family tree record.  When everything’s set up, click Save to Your Tree.

Continue on doing this, and you may be able to find some more “Hints” as to who your ancestors are!

How to share your tree

If you want to show someone else your tree, either to show it off to your friends and family, or to get another user help you piece it together, click Tree Pages next to the name of your family tree, and then click Share Your Tree.

From there, click Email or Username to decide whether you want to send your share invite to someone outside or inside Ancestry.  Then click in the appropriate box and type in their email address or username, and select their role in your tree (click Role to see what a person of each role can or cannot do to your tree).  Click Add another Email/User and repeat for as many people as you want to invite.  Then, you can click in the box on the right side and add a personal message.  When you’re done, click Send Invites.


Those are pretty much all the major ways to use the family tree maker on!

How To Use

There’s a whole world of history and mystery just waiting to be discovered on Ancestry!  To get started, go to in your web browser.  Click Sign In in the top-right corner, click in each of the two boxes that appear and type in your name/email address and password, respectively, and then click the SIGN IN button.

Once you’re on your home page, there are several different tools that you can use to trace your genealogy.

Family Tree Maker

This is one of the most powerful and popular Ancestry tools.  With it, you can enter as much information as you know about your family.  Based on what you entered, Ancestry will automatically search its databases to give you “Hints”, which are links to records that might have something to do with one of your ancestors.  If those don’t get you anywhere, you can always just search manually, or even share your tree with another user to see if they can help!

See our family tree tutorial for more detailed instructions on how to use this feature.

Records Search

Sometimes, to do something right, you have to do it yourself.  Ancestry has millions of records in databases both on the website itself and on other websites that it owns.  Search birth, death, and marriage records, census data, voter lists, border crossings, passports, and more!  Search for a member of your family based on their name, their gender, where they live(d), a life event, a related family member, or even what they did for a living!

See our Ancestry search tutorial for tips on how to use the Ancestry’s internal search engine.

Community Collaboration

You don’t have to go it alone when it comes to hunting down clues about your heritage.  Let other members help you out!  Jump on the online support community forum if you have some general questions about how to use the website, or visit the message boards if you have questions related to searching for ancestors in a certain area or via certain types of records.

Learning Center

Are you totally lost when it comes to genealogy research?  Head over to the Ancestry Learning Center and read some of the articles there.  You’ll get information on all of the tools at your disposal, tips to help your research run smoothly, and ways to troubleshoot when you run into dead ends with your leads.  There are also guides on how to read certain types of records, translation guides to help with records in different languages, and even printouts and mobile applications that can help you when you shift your research back to the real world.  If you need even more help, visit the Ancestry blog, or check out their social media pages!


Need even more resources?  Ancestry offers special products to help you dig even deeper into your past, such as D.N.A. testing kits and versions of their Family Tree Maker software for home computers.  If you feel like being creative with your heritage, you can also purchase things such as custom family albums, posters, and calendars to show off your lineage to everyone.  And if there’s a history buff in your life who would love Ancestry, you can even buy them a gift subscription!


Those are some of the many ways that you can use!  We’ll be going over a few of them in detail in later tutorials, so stay tuned!

How To Sign Up For

Are you ready to dig through your family's past with Ancestry?  The first thing you will need to do is sign up for an account on the website.

In case you're not already aware, in order to sign up for Ancestry, you will need to pick an Ancestry subscription and pay for it.  If you want to create a free account (which does not allow you to see records from certain databases) or get a two-week free trial of the services exclusive to paid memberships, visit our Ancestry Free Trial tutorial for instructions.  Otherwise, read on.

To create an account

  1. Go to in your web browser.

  2. On the home page, click Subscribe Today.

  3. The next page will ask you to select a subscription plan.  (The graphic below the plans will lay out the details of the features that you get with each option.)  To choose a pricing plan, click the button beside it.  Then click Get Started.

  4. Next, it will ask you to input the basic information associated with your account.  Click the respective boxes here and type in your first name, last name, email address, and a password for your account (move your mouse cursor over the  button to get hints on making a strong password, or click Hide Password to make it appear as bullet points to keep people from spying on it).

    When you're ready to move on, click Continue.

  5. Finally, you will be asked to input your payment information.  Click one of the buttons at the top to select either a credit card or PayPal (an online payment service) as your payment option.  We'll assume that you want to pay with a credit card; in that case, click in each of the boxes or drop-down menus below these buttons and type in or select your credit card number, your credit card's expiration date, your credit card's security code (move your mouse over the  button if you need help finding where on your credit card this number is), your mailing code, and your country.

    When you're ready, click the check box beside "I Have Read and Agreed to The Terms and Conditions" to mark it, and then click Start Your Membership.  (It will say "Start Your Free Trial", like it does here, if you are signing up for a free trial account.

On the next screen, you will confirm your order, and after that, you're ready to use!  Congratulations! Free Trial

Not sure if Ancestry is something that you'll find fun or useful, and want to take it for a test drive before you commit to it?  Ancestry gives you the option to access the paid features of the website free for 14 days before having to pay for them, so go ahead and try it out!  You can also get a free account without a free trial or a subscription, but you won't be able to get into the databases of records on Ancestry that require a paid subscription to access.

How to get a free trial of

  1. Go to in your web browser.

  2. On the home page for Ancestry, click Start 14-Day Free Trial.

  3. On the next page, you will have to select a subscription plan that you want the free trial for.  (The graphic below the plans will give you a detailed breakdown of the features you get with each different option.)  Click the button beside a pricing plan to select it, and then click Start Free Trial.

  4. On the next page, you will set up your basic account information.  Click in each of the labelled boxes here and type in your first name, last name, email address, and a password for your account (move your mouse cursor over the  button highlighted here to get some tips, or click Hide Password to make it appear as bullet points to protect it from prying eyes).

    When you're all set, click Continue.

  5. On the next screen, you'll have to select your payment information.  Click one of the buttons at the top to select whether you want to pay by credit card or PayPal.  Assuming that you want to pay by credit card, click in each of the boxes or drop-down menus below these buttons and type in or select your credit card number, your credit card's expiration date, your credit card's security code (move your mouse over the  button for help locating this on your credit card), your mailing code, and your country.

    Once you've done all that, click the check box beside "I Have Read and Agreed to The Terms and Conditions" to mark it, and then click Start Your Free Trial.

Once your information is verified, you're ready to go!

Note that once your free trial ends, you will be charged the regular amount for whatever your subscription is worth, either for that month or for those 6 months.  If you do not wish to be charged for this, you must cancel your free trial.  (See our How to Delete an Account tutorial for instructions on how to cancel a subscription.)

How to get a free guest account

If you cancel your membership to, you will be reverted to a guest account.  This will still allow you to use most features on Ancestry, such as building family trees and sharing them with others, communicating with other users, and posting messages on the message boards for Ancestry.  However, you will not be able to access any of the databases exclusive to paid memberships.

If you want to get a guest account right away, without signing up for a free trial or paid subscription, click this link.

Once you get to the web page, click in each respective box and type in your first name, last name, email address, a password to use, and a repeat of that password.  Then click Continue.


That's pretty much all you need to know about getting free trials and free accounts on Ancestry!