Limits of Academic / Library Edition – September 18, 2019

Standard Disclaimers:

I am not an attorney and any comments I post are not intended, nor should they be construed, as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please consult a legal expert who is familiar with the area of legal expertise you need.

The below applies to FamilySearch, FindMyPast, MyHeritage, Geni, and any other genealogy company that offers Academic/Library Editions or similar options, not just Ancestry.

If your local library, historical/genealogical (hist/gen) society, or school has an Academic/Library Edition, it doesn’t offer everything you get with a basic minimal Ancestry subscription and falls far short of the maximum Ancestry subscription even if you add all of the baby Ancestry sites (Fold3, Archive,, etc.) that may not be covered under a maximum subscription. There are many places that don’t offer access to the Academic/Library editions as there is a substantial cost associated with gaining this access. For example, the hist/gen society I volunteer at checked to see how much Ancestry Academic/Library Edition would run and the cost was far above our budget.

Don’t assume that you can simply download images to a USB or your computer, then upload them to your personal Ancestry account. That’s probably a copyright violation as you are adding a new image of the item as opposed to saving it from your paid Ancestry account to a specific individual. I see people admit to doing this all the time. They download it from the Academic/Library Edition, then upload it to their personal account. That’s playing with copyright fire and I advise strongly against going that route. Same goes for adding any images from Find-A-Grave that you download from it, and later upload to Ancestry or even Find-A-Grave.

Plus, in most cases, you have to be onsite where the Academic/Library Edition is available. In my case, Wichita Public Library allows me to bring my laptop to any of its branches and log-in using my library card to access the Academic/Library Edition while within the very limited Wi-Fi range of the branch. It lets me access a general account, but if I want to save something to my account, that’s not an option. There may be a few places that allow at home access, but there aren’t many.

There is an old PDF (2013) that that shows many of the limitations on the Academic/Library Edition. As it’s several years old, there are probably a lot of other things you can’t access using this edition. Not a whole lot listed on Ancestry‘s site:

A special set of exclusions for FamilySearch – much of its information is freely available their website – with the exceptions of where you need paid access to view the records directly on Ancestry, MyHeritage, etc., you need to be at a Family History Center (FHC), be at the main FamilySearch library in Utah, or be a member of the Latter-day Saints denomination. While members of the denomination do get free limited access to most of the genealogy companies, it’s not full access.


About Wichita Genealogist

Originally from Gulfport, Mississippi. Live in Wichita, Kansas now. I suffer Bipolar I, ultra-ultra rapid cycling, mixed episodes. Blog on a variety of topics - genealogy, DNA, mental health, among others. Let's
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