Does anyone know how to go about finding birth or marriage or...

Does anyone know how to go about finding birth or marriage or death records online without having to pay?

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I have two names (parents), birth years, place born and death years. I am looking for their parent’s names and then go back from there. However, all I have been able to find, I have to join and pay a membership fee to have the chance to see if there is information there. I can’t afford to pay the fees, especially without even knowing if these sites have any more info than I already have. I am simply trying to get a better picture of my past, where my ancestors came from, etc. Is there a way to find this information?
I have the birth dates, in 1920 and 1921 respectively as well as the place of birth and dates/place of death. However, that is about it. I don’t have the grandparent’s names–it’s a long story, but…

I am looking for information partially from curiousity and partially because there have been some health issues that are usually specific to certain ethnic groups that as far as I know, are not part of my ancestry (asian or native american for one).


  1. Many local public libraries may have an account to that you can use for free.

  2. There may be free sites, but we would need a timescale and an indication of country, state and county in order to tell you what may be available.

    Don’t you know your grandparents’ names? Do you have any older family members (aunts, uncles, cousins) who would have more information? Ideally you need to know the names of ancestors who were born before 1930 so that you can look for them in the 1930 US census which is the most recent one available.

    Edit. How can we tell you what is available if you don’t tell us where?

  3. In the first instance then public libraries often have access to Ancestry which will be very useful to you. Depending on dates the Census data is very useful but only before 1911, due to the hundred years rule.Your local Mormon church will probably have a Family History Centre attached try to find your nearest one. They hold vital records on microfilm and can order in those they don’t hold. If you obtain a copy of your parents marriage certificate this should have details of their parents on it. Or you could obtain their birth certificates as you know where and when they were born. This generally costs around £8 each and can be ordered online from the local registry office or centrally through the General Registry Office.
    You cannot do research for free at some point there is always a cost but don’t sign up to subscription products as most information on these is often available for free elsewhere. You also cannot do all your research online. There are lots of good websites to get you started such as Cyndis list, Genuki etc. Also look for a local family history group for the area where your parents were born as they can often shed light on any problems you encounter.

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