If you have a free Ancestry.com account – i.e. a “Registered Guest” Ancestry.com account, and are trying to cancel it (because, for example, they don’t honor your “don’t send me any email” settings), you may find that it seems that you are unable to cancel it. That’s because YOU CAN’T CANCEL A FREE ANCESTRY.COM ACCOUNT! So here’s what you need to do.
We should point out that in our opinion (which is informed and educated) Ancestry.com is in violation of the Federal anti-spam law, CAN-SPAM, in a few ways, including that they do not include an unsubscribe link in their mailings at all, and their “Email preferences” link takes you to a login page where you have to enter a username and password before you can even get to the ‘preferences’ page (a clear violation of the “one-step unsubscribe” requirement of CAN-SPAM).
Now, if you have a paid account, there is a way to cancel it (after all, they’d get in trouble with the Feds if they didn’t provide a way to tell them to stop billing your credit card). But if you have a free registered guest account, you can’t cancel it.
We don’t mean that it’s really hard to find the ‘cancel’ option for your free account. We don’t even mean that they buried the option to cancel a free account so that it’s unfindable.
We mean that you can’t cancel a free Ancestry.com registered guest account. At all.
In fact, here’s what Ancestry.com has to say about that:
Canceling a Registered Guest account
Registered Guest accounts are designed to give unlimited access to free services provided by Ancestry; therefore, there is no need to cancel these accounts. When you have concluded using your Free Registered Guest account, simply discontinue use. You will not be charged any fees when accessing a Registered Guest account from Ancestry. Some participation on Ancestry may require a paid account. For additional details on the accounts available in your area (and to what those accounts provide access), please click here.
If you are interested in finding information on canceling any Ancestry subscription to paid databases (whether you have a free trial or a paid account), please click here.
Note: We do not currently cancel Registered Guest accounts.
Did you catch that last note?? Let’s repeat it, to make sure:
“Note: We do not currently cancel Registered Guest accounts.”
For some reason we keep hearing this song in our heads:
So, how do you cancel a free registered guest account with Ancestry.com?
Well, technically you can’t. But here is what you can do that has the same effect – it cancels the account for you, even though the account still remains. You will no longer get any email for that account, and so far as you are concerned, it can be dead to you (other than, of course, all of the info that you gave them).
How to ‘Cancel’ a Free Ancestry.com Account
Log into your Ancestry.com guest account, and go to “My account” from the drop-down menu in the upper right
Click on “Update email address”
Now, change your email address to something at example.com. The reason to use “@example.com” is because that is a known test domain, so email to any address at example.com just gets blackholed (you don’t want to inadvertantly cause someone else to get spammed by ancestry.com by using, for example, a made-up Gmail address).
And because Ancestry.com also doesn’t follow best email practices, they don’t confirm that new email address.
Eventually either a conscience, best practices, or the FTC will catch up with Ancestry.com, but in the meantime this will take care of your immediate need to stop getting those damn emails from Ancestry.com.