For the first time, Ancestry is offering free access to its entire collection of global family history.
The collection of 27 billion records will be free to view over the Easter weekend, from 00.01am BST on Friday 2 April 2021 to 11.59pm on Monday 5 April.
Ancestry has historic records for every continent apart from Antarctica. Its major British family history records include parish registers, census records, criminal records, Prerogative Court of Canterbury wills and First and Second World War records.
Simon Pearce, family history expert at Ancestry, said the special offer was “the perfect opportunity for Brits to find stories in our family trees that we can share and pass down for generations to come”.
The special offer comes as a survey conducted by Ancestry found that the average Briton only knows eight stories about their ancestors, with 57% wanting to find out more about their family history.
24% of respondents said the coronavirus pandemic had inspired them to find out more about their ancestors, and the same number had made a new family history discovery since lockdown started last year.
28% of respondents said their curiosity was inspired by TV shows such as Who Do You Think You Are? and Long Lost Family.
The five most popular stories the survey respondents were most keen to discover were a love story (14%), a war story (13%), a scandal (10%), a story about a war hero (10%) and a story linked to a celebrity (8%).
Rosemary Collins is the staff writer of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine