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Free Access to WorldVitalRecords for 3 days - Ends August 13

Free Site Access 300x250 For Genealogists

Here's a great opportunity to do some free searching. is opening their virtual doors to the public for free starting today, August 11 (credit card NOT required!). The promotion runs through Thursday, August 13 (my birthday!). also recently published the genealogy social network, (Have you joined the Legacy Fans group yet??)

Here's their press release about the free public access:

PROVO, UT, August 10, 2009 –, an online family history resource, today announced the addition of the largest number of records to be released in a single day since the site launched in 2006.

To commemorate this milestone, for the first time WorldVitalRecords is offering free public access to its entire online collection of historical and genealogical records beginning August 11 and continuing through August 13, 2009. The public will have unlimited access to more than one billion records in over 11,000 databases from around the world including newspapers, census, birth, marriage, death, immigration and military records; family trees; stories and publications; and yearbooks.

“As a genealogy enthusiast, I’m thrilled that people can go to one place like, try family history research for free and find their parents or grandparents, and see how simple it is to start tracing back and discovering stories that bring family history to life," said Jim Ericson, Vice-President of Marketing for Family Link.  “This is a rare opportunity to delve into the records and discover information about your family and ancestors you may have never known.”

Featured records in this release include:

Historical Newspapers
Through a partnership with Newspaper Archive, WorldVitalRecords is adding access to pages from a variety of newspapers from all over the United States, dating from 1759 through 1923. This collection features images of entire newspapers from the western frontier, the Midwest at the turn of the century, and the long time standard of our nation's news, "The New York Times" which includes over 7 million names.

Newspaper Archive produces the largest historical newspaper database online, and the collection is fully searchable by keyword and date, and individual pages can be saved or printed.

According to Gena Philibert Ortega, Genealogy Community Director for FamilyLink, "Part of the fun of family history is uncovering details about our ancestors’ daily lives -- the events of the day, the goods and the services they bought. Newspapers allow us to better understand our ancestors."

Immigration Records
Living in a country of immigrants, ship passenger lists and other records documenting immigration can be an essential part in learning more about your family history.  “It is a thrilling experience to see their names transcribed on paper the day they entered this country through the Port of New York. Browsing and searching these passenger lists is a perfect way for someone to start researching their family history.

The database, Passenger Arrivals at the Port of New York, 1820-1832 provides documentation of over 150,000 passengers who arrived on nearly 8,000 ships at one of the busiest ports in the United States, New York.

In partnership with the website, WorldVitalRecords is doubling its collection of digitized yearbooks.  This collection features university yearbooks from the late 1800 to mid 1950’s. houses the largest collection of old college yearbooks on the Internet. Universities featured this week include Duke University, University of Oklahoma, Iowa State and the College of William and Mary.

Vital Records, Military Records and Tax Lists
Other records being released on the site include birth, marriage, tax lists, military records, and death records from Maine, North Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Focused on helping users discover and share their family history, WorldVitalRecords adds new records to their online collection everyday.

Free Site Access 468x60 For Geneologists


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Some people are finding that the free access isn't working. This is the response we've received from the WorldVitalRecords people:

"The free site access is prompted for non-registered users. Make sure you are logged out and clear your cookies. It should pop up with the free site registration information once you come to the home page."

Also, after registering, an email is sent to you. After clicking on the link in the email, your free access will be validated.

If you have further problems, please contact their customer service and they can walk you through to make sure you get the free access. 888-377-0588 (M-F, 8am-5pm MST).

Happy Birthday, Geoff. My BD was the 10th. Should have known you are a Leo.

Kay Fordham

I am finding that with searches for two of my ancestors (one Cornwall & Canada 1790-1865; the other Germany & Chicago 1825-1890), there is no there there.

They come up with nothing for the German/Chicago and only 2 family trees and an irrelevant British census for the Cornwall/Canada.

On both of them, I have found loads of information in Ancestry. So I am not at all inclined to ante up for WVR.

I attempted to sign up, but the validating email was never sent to me - have they changed their minds??

I excitedly set up to check it out earlier today. I keep searching for different names, places, etc...and I get a huge amount of false positives. It really doesn't have much going for it for DBs in US or Canada, that I can see. I was very disppointed. I will keep trying, but at this point, not something I would get involved with, although I appreciated the free trial to find that out. I would have been angry to pay...and then find out I got nothing in return. I will keep looking...and if I have to eat my words, will do so here.

Nora - check your spam filters/folders. You could always call their 800 number above too. Good luck.

Like Nora, I tried signing up but received no validating email. In fact I tried numerous times using different email accounts.
I have checked my spam filters/folders.
Based on the negative posts above and the feedback on their own site (which is available wihout logging in) I am not inclined to make an international telephone call to resolve the issue.

I have had the same experience as Nora - not once but twice - I though I might have mistyped the email address so reset and completed the form again - no go! And that's after twelve hours of waiting for the confirmation email!! Also checked the junk and trash folders but there was nothing there so its outside my configuration for the problem.

I tried to get access to this sytem but was unable to register.
I have used this site once before (trial access) several months ago so maybe it still considers me to be a registered member. At that time I found that for the most part, it was next to useless since you could not narrow searches enough to eliminate the plethora of returns.

I was hoping that they had improved the site but from this most recent experience, I would doubt it. The amount of "bull" you have to read and the difficulties people seem to be having getting access indicates some customer service problems.

Well, after quite a bit of searching, I have to say that I don't know how on earth this service got such glowing reviews. I searched for information that I easily found at via my local library (free for me, although I'm sure the library pays a subscription fee), and got mostly nothing and false positives, or garbage when using Soundex. Even inputting just the name and state got me nowhere. The only good information that popped up was mostly stuff that's already available for free on various Internet sites.

Thank you for posting the free-access info here, as it gave me a chance to test the service without having to give them any credit card information or registering -- which I'm very happy about, considering the quality of results.

Here is more information from FamilyLink/WorldVitalRecords:

"We have found some of our validation emails have been landing in the junk/spam folder. You can contact our customer service department and they can provide you free access. Customer Service department - 888-377-0588 (M-F, 8am-5pm MST)."

I used it quite a bit yesterday and didn't find anything new.

I tried to sign up on August 11 but only just now received my validating email - it is August 15 so not much use then! I did contact them and they requested me to provide my details again and a password in an open email - I declined. I also wondered why the telephone number was obligatory.

I was actually taken in by the hype touted by WVR when it first appeared on the scene. I paid for a two year subscription for the price of one and although I realized it would take time, months and months passed and still there was no useful information for me for Canada or the United Kingdom. Suddenly I was informed they were bringing on international records but that I would have to pay more money to view them. My existing account went from "World" to "USA" subscription. I was extremely disappointed and expressed my views to the company but to no avail. I do not feel that it is a very reputable company and advise Legacy users not to waste their money. This is just my own personal experience. Others may be more fortunate than I was.

I TOTALLY agree with every negative comment above. I did buy the two year plan and have not found one single thing, even though the information can easily be found on I have never read any positive comment about this company so I really don't know how they stay in business. I sense they are losing members; hence the big push to give discounts, etc. Like one person said, BEWARE!

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