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  • Writer's pictureDon Milne

Using VPN to get free access to Ancestry, Newspapers, and Premium Fold3

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

First some background on the VPN setup. supports the efforts of Stories Behind the Stars and wants to grant our volunteers free access to their research tools on Ancestry, Newspapers, and Premium Fold3.

The way they did this was to make Stories Behind the Stars an institution, like a library, but in this case one that is not in one physical location, but one that should work anywhere. We do this by accessing the institution through a Virtual Private Network we set up through NordVPN.

The library version is not as user friendly as the version you get if you have your own Ancestry /Newspapers/Premium Fold3 accounts. It's kind of like the difference of having your own car or taking the bus and sharing access with others. They both get you there, but one is more convenient than the other. Of course taking the bus can save you money and may be worth the inconvenience. To save on costs we have six or seven people in the same group or STAR Team.

While there is no charge by Ancestry through the VPN, there is a cost to SBTS for each person who gets VPN access ($24 per year to onboard and keep open). SBTS fundraises to cover this cost, but it is not a requirement to pay the $24 for you to get VPN access. Some users do make a donation, but we also have other people who donate to cover the cost of those who are writing the stories.

If someone gets VPN access, it remains his or hers to use as long as they want. However, if they stop using it, SBTS is still paying for it when it could be reassigned to another user. For this reason we ask that if you are only going to write one story for a family member that you sign up for the free intro offers the Ancestry provides, instead of using up one of our VPN accounts. That frees up VPN access for writers who are writing stories every month.

There are three videos to help you from this point. Follow these instructions very carefully, because it won't work otherwise, even if it looks like it should.

Setting up the VPN:

NOTE: Do not set up the VPN on a smartphone or a tablet that will require two-factor authentication. If you do that it will result in access loss for the other people in the same STAR Team and we will have to reset the password for everyone.

At this point, you need three things to proceed.

  1. The organization ID: use the three letters sbs (all lowercase)

  2. Your username

  3. Your password

If you are a new user, or if your previous username has expired, email and I will send you your username / password. There may be a delay as I have to log in each user and I anticipate higher than normal demand created by recent news stories.

Using Newspapers:

Using Premium Fold3:

I am hoping watching these videos will be enough, but just in case, I have also attached the written instructions.

Star Teams VPN Explaination - May 2021-T
Download • 2.62MB

Update - Someone pointed out that I should add a link for people who want to donate $24 to cover the cost of the VPN access. This is it here.

Once on the Donation page, you go to Apply My Donation To

and select VPN and website

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