Posted by on 27 March 2011 in Record Collections

Firstly I’d like to say that we’re very sorry for the difficulties some people have had this morning trying to access the free indexes. I’m pleased to say that we have now resolved the technical issues which caused this. This was a result of problems with some of our servers (although not all), which explains why some people were experiencing the problems and some not.

You should now all be able to view all our UK census indexes for free. You will still need to register for a free account to view the transcriptions (just a name and email address is required) and if you would like to see the actual handwritten record you will either need to take a 14 day free trial or a paid membership. Unfortunately we do not have the record images for Scotland but we have more detailed indexes for the Scottish censuses so that you can still see the addresses and occupations of your Scottish ancestors.

 The transcriptions for all census years contain some very useful information so you should be able to discover a lot about your ancestors, just by using indexes and without needing to look at the actual handwritten records.

Once again, we are really very sorry for the inconvenience and frustration the technical problems have caused so we’re going to extend the free period until the end of the day on Monday 28th (UK time). All our UK census indexes will therefore be free to view until midnight on Monday night. I hope that this gives you plenty of extra time to search and that after the problems this morning you manage to make some fantastic discoveries this afternoon, evening and tomorrow.


Bob Bishop 

Bearing in mind that the most essential fact about a census is the address concerned, the absence of this information on the index and the inability to see the original record means that this offer was somewhat disingenuous. I am afraid to say that it smacks of a marketing ploy where the consumer is just offered a little temptation without any chance to savour the real thing! Sorry but its just a con.

27 March 2011 at 3:21 pm
Brian Dicks 

Exactly the samecomments as the previous correspondent.

I have logged on to your site but when I try to access the full record, it does not allow me to do it, but merely re-directs me to re-sign my subscription for another year.

Is this correct- it is not free for the day as you indicate- or is there a problem with the web site?

27 March 2011 at 3:59 pm

I am registered for a free account, have been for years and once was a subscriber. I can only view today that which I’ve always been able to view with a free account. I agree with Bob Bishop this is a very disingenuous offer.
I would also like to mention today that when someone had subscribed and done their research they may not wish to subscribe just to look for updates and that’s when the pay per view is useful but two weeks to use the credits is not long enough. I don’t understand why this time limit needs to be set, paid for credits should be allowed to be used with no time period.

27 March 2011 at 4:37 pm
Chris R 

Ken – when it works you can actually see more. The dates and locations that are normally hidden can be seen in the index. Also, if you click on an entry you can see the transcription (or most of it at least – addresses are still hidden but relationships and some occupations seem to be shown). However, if the system just happened to pick the wrong server to show your page it would blank it out or offer the subscription page as normal. I found it would work for a while, then it would suddenly stop working. Try again now and see if you can see more than normal.

27 March 2011 at 6:44 pm

I feel very cheated! I also ended up signing up with bank card as I only got a glimpse of what could be something towards my genealogy project. I haven’t found anything much up to now, even searched people I already know about and they didn’t show up!! I also paid for credits too and up to now nothing what I need has been found.
Not a happy bunny 🙁

27 March 2011 at 8:36 pm

Long standing member of Ancestry and have always been happy with the information the site has provided and the frequent additions of information that have extended the range for research, but why are we only provided with single name and address for the 1911 census, as far as address is concerned people were frequently living at another address/location from one census to another. Having looked forward to being able to research locate and add further information to my family trees is there a reason for this minimal 1911 census, there seems no point to me to use it can not locate and verify family members from it.

28 March 2011 at 8:49 am
John Howes 

Desemore – The 1911 census summary books are only the initial stage on adding the info to Ancestry. They are currently working on transcribing the full data which will arrive sometime later this year. Hopefully we’ll hear more news soon.

28 March 2011 at 9:24 am

Thanks John for info much appreciated.

28 March 2011 at 9:54 am
John Howes 

On the other hand, can I point out to Ancestry that they sent out an email about the “free census access” which concluded with:

“PS Look out for an update on our upcoming 1911 Census release on 27th March.
Check our blog ”

It’s now 28th March – what/where was this update?

And my PS – I currently get the ‘lapsed member’ emails from Ancestry, even though I took out a new sub 5 months ago….

28 March 2011 at 1:20 pm
Martha Hooper 

I dont find any info in this blog re the awaited transcription and images of the 1911 census. The Nat Archives awarded the contract to ‘Findmypast’ I find that site more accurate re census transcriptions in general but without extensive libraries and global records. It is more expensive too.
A free days searching – I just wanted to tidy up a few lines of enquiry – go over old ground to find some obstinate outcomes that seem lost. I have had several subscriptions to in the past, they just want my money again even if there were supposed tech. problems. What a con.

28 March 2011 at 10:28 pm

#9 John Howes

The ‘update’ about the 1911 Census might have something to do with the fact that TheGenealogist has just put up Buckinghamshire’s 1911 images (see Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter.)

Ancestry and TheGenealogist are working in collaboration on the 1911 census, so perhaps Ancestry is very close to making some or all of the images available.

(Cross fingers!)

29 March 2011 at 4:16 pm
Stuart Woodhed 

So the only way to have found out that you extended the free census was to look at your blog, I got no response to my email which I sent Sunday !! And as for extending it till midnight monday, I work during the week, and I’m sure you know searching records can take hours so when I get home at 7pm there isn’t much time left in the day !!!! Think you need to offer a bit more than that, and with the amount you charge for subscriptions put some support staff for emails over the weekend !!! Rant over

30 March 2011 at 9:30 am

Well it is a better offer than another site made. Their whole system crashed 10 minutes into the offer. I got one census page.

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