Posted by on 27 March 2011 in General, Record Collections

Census Image

Today is the day! Don’t forget to log in to to use all our UK census indexes, from England, Wales and Scotland, completely FREE.

If you’ve just started tracing your family tree, this is your chance to kick-start your search for names and dates. And if you’ve already uncovered several generations, see if you can track down those elusive last few relatives.

For more details on our free indexes, and some top tips for searching them, check our census pages


Teresa Moy 

I have been trying to access the census,but it wont allow me,it keeps sending me back to subscribe,what time is the offer open from?

27 March 2011 at 1:44 am
Beth Price 

Yes I can not get the census records either!

27 March 2011 at 2:38 am

Unable to access the “free” censuses. Takes me to the sign up page. Is this a scam?

27 March 2011 at 3:06 am
Beth Price 

I am still having no luck getting access to these free census records I thought they were free for twenty four hours if so shouldn’t they be available now?

27 March 2011 at 4:15 am

What a user-unfriendly offer! So frustrating! Obviously just a marketing ploy. Well it wont work on me.

27 March 2011 at 4:18 am
George McGill 

What a waste of time have been trying for sometime now and like the rest of you get nothing only takes me to the sing up page

27 March 2011 at 7:17 am
Paul Dunstan 

I have been trying to access the census, but it will not allow me to find anything. It keeps sending me back to the subscription page.

Is it really FREE today?

27 March 2011 at 8:38 am

Yip I am having problems acccessing the records and what is supposed to be a free day. Have emailed and tried to phone ancestry. Asked that someone get back to me but nothing. It does make you wonder about their motives.

27 March 2011 at 9:37 am
Sharleen cook been trying for an hour and cant get in at all only to the summary books. I,m not happy coz I pay for access to the site anyway!!!

27 March 2011 at 9:48 am

Yes, what a waste of time. Obviously Ancestry have not read the definition of FREE !!!

27 March 2011 at 9:48 am

Try contacting customer service and they say someone will get back to you Tuesday…so funny!!! So much for being a valid X customer?

27 March 2011 at 9:52 am
Chris R 

It is only the INDEX that they are offering – not the pages. Normally some of the dates and places are not visible. Last night it was available from 11pm – I could also see the transcription for the person – but not the image, and not all of the fields. Then the transcription stopped working – and still seems to be unavailable. Without that it really isn’t much use.

Ancestry – if you are listening – suggest (a) you don’t do this on a day the clocks change in future (b) you make it very clear exactly what is being offered.

27 March 2011 at 9:55 am

It worked! Tried it and you must sign up for a guest subscription which is free and then you can access the census records for free.

27 March 2011 at 9:55 am
Chris R 

Nope – it was working a minute ago, now it has stopped again. Ancestry – please get your act together. This is impossible!

27 March 2011 at 9:57 am

You will only able to view the index not the actual image. If you want to view the actual image then you will need either a 1 time 14 day trial or at least a monthly membership.

27 March 2011 at 10:16 am

The email and advert on the Home page does explain it is only the “Index” and not the actual images.

27 March 2011 at 10:18 am

Not able to access free census. Have tried even the ones I know and no luck. Another rip-off from ancestry ?

27 March 2011 at 10:19 am
Chris R 

Started working again. You can see the index, and you can see the transcription (hover the mouse or click), but you have to pay to see the actual image.

It seems to be a bit flaky – every now and again it stops working and all the dates and locations get blanked out again.

27 March 2011 at 10:23 am

Not a lot of use seeing the index if you want info from the 1911 census.

27 March 2011 at 10:26 am
Jane B 

“Today is the day! Don’t forget to log in to to search all our UK census records, from England, Wales and Scotland, completely FREE.”

This is what Ancestry say on their advertising blurb, but when you speak to a representative on the phone after being unable to search the records it’s a different matter entirely. No access unless you sign up for the 14 free trial. No thanks, I don’t like being conned in this way. Another trip to the library, then. And I was so looking forward to a day of searching their records from home. It’s entirely put me off this website.

I encourage all dissatisfied users to phone and complain – from the UK it’s 0800 4049723.

Jane B

27 March 2011 at 10:32 am
Karen Reynolds 

Hi everyone, I’m from We know that there are some technical issyes with the free indexes and we’re working on them as fast as we can. From my tests I have seen that if you keep trying to click on a result which asks you to sign up, it should eventually let you see the transcription for free if you are registered. As I say we’ve got some people woken up in the US to work out why this is happening and we’re very sorry for the problems you’re having.

27 March 2011 at 10:34 am
Sharleen cook 

Well I,ve tried all that stuff ..even opened a new account still nothing……

Again some people can get access as they are c&p on another site for each other …but prehaps these people are the ones who are paying to get access…
Another waste of time again

27 March 2011 at 10:38 am

Same for me – can’t search for free at all!

27 March 2011 at 10:43 am

I have previously used other family research sites and they have all given good incentatives to win back ny custom…..If this is ancestry’s attempt it didn’t work!

27 March 2011 at 10:46 am
Teresa Moy 

Ancestry you’ve done it again!
What a Con!
I had this trouble before with your so called”free access”

After staying up late,to start on this “Great Offer” its a complete waste of time,if we have to pay to see the actual census,why not Head line that!
At least with find my past,we see the full names ,jobs etc,so I’m heading back,you only show Mr/Mrs/Miss,I need more than that,there are far too many people called Mr….
,get a grip Ancestry,if you want to keep us,then be fair.

27 March 2011 at 11:00 am

We’re making Census Day 2011 even more memorable – by letting you use our historical census records, from England, Wales and Scotland, for FREE.

Use our indexes to look back at your ancestors’ ages, birthplaces and relationships over a century ago.

You can then view the original pages for England and Wales by selecting one of our membership options, or pay-as-you-go.

Please read it again.

27 March 2011 at 11:04 am
Sharleen cook 

What I cant work out is why …..”we” the general public keep falling for these cons!!

Sorry but I feel so conned

27 March 2011 at 11:05 am
Teresa Moy 



27 March 2011 at 11:16 am
Janette Izzard 

I was looking forward to searching this morning, but I am getting nowhere. I keep getting sent to the sign up for 14 days free trial or take out a membership.I dont want to do either at the moment. Misleading offer for one day only free searching. Not impressed. With the prices of membership, I would have thought Ancestry could afford us one day full free searching !!

27 March 2011 at 11:37 am

They’ve managed to get people out of bed in the USA to solve a technical problem. Is there any ancestry managememnt team or customer liason people awake enough to put out an appology to their previous members on their misleading statement!

27 March 2011 at 11:37 am
Paul Towse 

Moan, moan, moan….

What the adverts says is:-

“Get ready! To mark Census Day 2011, we’re letting you access all our UK census record indexes, from England, Wales and Scotland, completely FREE, for 24 hours!

27th March will be a historic day, as we all come together to complete the 2011 National Census. While you’re filling in details of your age, birthplace and relationships, you can use our FREE indexes to look back at your ancestors who did exactly the same thing every ten years, right back to 1841. You can then view the original historical records by taking our 14 day Free Trial.”

Hardly Ancestry’s fault if most of you can’t be bothered to read it properly.

They’re offering you a 14 day FREE trial. Surely that’s better than one day of access?

Or is the telephone call to cancel said 14 day FREE trial just far too much like hard work for you to bother with it?

If you’re going to let a little thing like a phonecall put you off something it really does make me wonder what sort of researchers you’re going to make when doing your own family tree. Are you going to give up at the slightest little hurdle then?

27 March 2011 at 12:28 pm
Teresa Moy 

Maybe its because Ancestry disguised the offer so well by,FREE ALL DAY FOR 24 HOURS! Then added,PAY TO VIEW ORIGINAL!
They very cleverly ,played up the free access on T.V.advertising”don’t you think! as for free 14 day trial,most of us are already registered with them,so how does that benefit us?
Well I’m sure you’re an “AMAZING” researcher and maybe cost is no hurdle for you ,but,we are trying to get the best service,with no fancy flowering up the deals,just tell us straight,thats all we ask,and NO !the telephone call isn’t too much of an obstacle,most of us know the the end to speak through! WOW! its the people on the other end ,they haven’t mastered the knack of listening to what we want from Ancestry,So get off your pedestal and stop smacking of ” patronizing Arrogance”

27 March 2011 at 1:02 pm
Karen Reynolds 

Hi everyone, I’ve now posted a new blog post explaining the technical problems we’ve had this morning and the process to access the free indexes. We tried to explain very clearly on all our banners, emails and pages that it is the indexes only that were free to view today so I’m very sorry that there has been some confusion. Many of the fields of the censuses have been transcribed so there’s a lot that can be learnt from the indexes. We have extended the free indexes period until the end of the day on Monday 28th (UK time) so you now have more time to look at these if you were experiencing problems this morning.

27 March 2011 at 1:40 pm
Janette Izzard 

To Paul Towse, I have been researching for around eight years now and have done very well thankyou, so your comments on “what sort of researchers you’re going to make when doing your own family tree” are not needed thanks.
As cost is a BIG deal for most at the moment, I think we are all looking for a good incentive to use these sites, although you dont seem to have money worries…. how nice.
When I first saw the ad the header was this actually

FREE census access – 27th MarchPosted by Ancestry_Kelly on 21 March 2011 in Record Collections

27 March 2011 at 1:41 pm

I have been researching for over 6 years and consider myself to be quite thorough. Some of the indexing has been transcribed incorrectly therefore would not advise anyone doing serious researching to rely upon the information they can get from this free look at the census today.

I was certainly misled by the message that ancestry put out and had planned a weekend around doing some research today. My subscription as only just finished and I have been contemplating which website would be more suited to my requirements this year.

For information – anyone able to sign up for the 14 day free trial you can cancel it online after the 14 days at no costs and you don’t after to wait for a misleading advertising campaign to do it, this option is always on offer from ancestry for beginners, and it is very useful. However for those of us who have already had full subsctiptions then you don’t have this option again as you would have probably used it prior to subscribing. I think Paul must have MISREAD that!!!!

27 March 2011 at 1:49 pm
Teresa Moy 

Its good to know I am not the only one who,feels abit peeved,to say the least,at his remarks.

Hopefully!he will think before he speaks next time.

27 March 2011 at 2:03 pm
Paul Towse 

Janette & Theresa,

I’m sorry if you found my comments patronising, but there’s half a page of script after that banner headline. Did neither of you read it?

The first paragraph explains that the INDEXRES are free and the second that your need to use the 14 day free trial.

Ancestry is a business, like any other, and all businesses use banner headlines to grab the attention. You always have to read what follows so you know precisely what the situation is.

Ancestry is not compelled to offer the indexes for free nor are they compelled to offer any sort of free trial.

What are you both complaining about? The fact that neither of you bothered to read the full ad completely or the fact that Ancestry haven’t given everyone full access to the indexes and the actual images for an entire day?

If it’s the latter I return to my original point:- sign up for the 14 day free trial and make a most of it. A work colleague of mind used it and then cancelled at the end with no problems.

27 March 2011 at 2:24 pm
Robert Green 

Con con con con!!

It would be quicker waiting for someone to event a time machine!!

won’t be coming back!!

27 March 2011 at 8:17 pm

I agree with the complaints. I am already registered with (they sent me an email about this offer). I try to access it by putting in my email address and password and am told that they don’t recognise my details!! I’m not wasting any more time on this.

27 March 2011 at 8:51 pm
Sharleen cook 

I,ve done all the things said to do on here and still…nothing..I now have two accounts in different names and two in my own each time it just takes me round in circles ..I dont know what else to do but GIVE UP!

27 March 2011 at 9:33 pm

Paul is at least explaining how the system works. Yes, the adverts should have been read more thoroughly to understand what was offered. There is a difference between Index and the actual images.

If you are having log in issues then you should have called in. It’s easy to receive assistance with login issues.

28 March 2011 at 10:58 am

Ancestry continue with their annoying marketing by following up with the garbage below! Obviosly they pay no attention to the blogs otherwise they would know how disgruntled I was.

“We hope you were able to spend some time with our free census indexes on Sunday and make some fascinating discoveries about your family. You can now continue to uncover their story with as many of our records as you like.

Just choose one of our great-value membership options, starting at just 23p a day

30 March 2011 at 9:16 pm