What Are Some Tips for Discovering Your Ancestry Without Signing up for a Membership?

Genealogists may conduct free online ancestry searches without memberships at the Library of Congress, The National Archives, Ellis Island, CastleGarden.org and FamilySearch. The Library of Congress offers name searches through thousands of newspaper pages from 1826 to 1922, and it provides access to actual digital images of the pages. The National Archives offers census records, passenger lists, military records and a great deal more of searchable information.

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation and CastleGarden.org offer immigration records, but the genealogy tips suggest the best way to find strong leads includes collecting names, estimated arrival dates and estimated ages. Information returned may include digital copies of ship manifests, listing immigrants' names, their countries of origin and fellow passengers.

More than 100 years ago, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints established a vast ancestry organization designed to connect families with their ancestors across generations. As the largest genealogy organization in the world as of 2015, FamilySearch reports that its database contains billions of names from all over the world.

FamilySearch offers free expert telephone support, live chat help, and free online and downloadable family tree software. Resources include records, genealogies, resource lists and thousands of search centers all over the world. Although membership is not required, free memberships provide access to more services and resources.