Ancestry celebrates VE Day with free access from 4 to 10 May

Ancestry is offering free access to millions of UK records to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe

VE Day Image Royal Army Corps

Ancestry is offering free access to its entire UK records collection from 4 to 10 May as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of VE Day.

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The family history website’s millions of UK records include census and parish records, military records, and the 1939 Register, which records the civilian population of England and Wales on the eve of the Second World War.

A UK and Ireland membership usually costs £13.99 per month, or £69.99 per six months.

Russell James, family history expert at Ancestry, said: “The stories of what it was like to live through the Second World War are something we share not only within our families, but as a nation.

“Using this time to learn about those experiences, whether they were on the front line or helping keep the country going back home, gives us all an opportunity to feel connected – to our relatives and to people all over the country.”

Friday 8 May 2020 is a national bank holiday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, when the Second World War in Europe ended after six years and millions of deaths.

The original plans for public celebrations are cancelled because of the coronavirus lockdown.

However, there will be a two-minute silence at 11am.

Winston Churchill’s address to the nation announcing Germany’s surrender will be broadcast on BBC One at 2.45pm.

The Queen will give a public broadcast at 9pm, followed by a national doorstep singalong of ‘We’ll Meet Again’.

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The UK government’s official VE Day 75 website has ideas for holding your own VE Day celebrations at home, with wartime rationing recipes, designs for making your own bunting, children’s colouring activities and a playlist of wartime music.