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Genealogy, or the study of family history and lines of descent, is second only to gardening in terms of its popularity in the United States. From TV shows like Finding Your Roots and Who Do You Think You Are?, to DNA testing kits that show an individual's unique genetic roots and relatives throughout the world, it's easy to see that learning about one's ancestry has captured the hearts and minds of millions of people.
In the past, researching a family tree was an arduous, often lengthy process. Vital documents had to be requested from local, state, and federal governments, and sometimes required proof of kinship in order to be granted. Many of these requests came with significant fees, sometimes as much as $20 per document.
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With access to literally billions of historical records - and a collection that expands daily - there are few sites that can even come close to the access Ancestry provides. While the subscriptions may be costly, the amount of information that users can locate quickly and easily makes it possible to find details not available elsewhere. And, with a 14-day free trial, prospective customers can decide for themselves if the service will help them with their family history research. As the most recognized name in genealogy services, Ancestry is our top choice.
As part of the Ancestry group of services, Archives could be considered as a "lite" version of its parent company. Many of the same records offered at Ancestry are offered through Archives - but at a much more affordable price, especially for beginners who are just looking to get started with putting together their family tree.
Find My Past specializes in records related to the United Kingdom, having started back in 1965 as a group of professional genealogists known as Title Research. While the breadth of their records relating to England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland is impressive, users whose ancestry includes few or no history in that part of the world may find their collection not robust enough to help them find the records they need.
Billing itself as "the world's largest online family tree", One Great Family helps users connect with others around the world who are interested in their genealogy. Their service streamlines many of the processes that other sites require users to manage manually, making it easier to create and maintain one's own family tree. On the other hand, for those who are looking for census records, obituaries, and other types of historical documents, One Great Family does not provide access to that kind of information.
Genealogy Bank helps users discover their genealogy through newspapers and other published documents: from articles to obituaries and more, throughout the United States. However, for information traditionally not found in newspapers and books, such as census records or draft registration cards, Genealogy Bank isn't much help. For that reason, the average family history researcher may need the more well-rounded databases and records found with other genealogy sites.
My Heritage has been connecting genealogy buffs with their ancestors since 2005. While their 83 million user base is impressive, their membership and pricing structure leaves room for improvement. For those who want a straightforward way to access records and build an online family tree, we recommend that they look at other genealogy services in our review.
Also, it was not uncommon for a request to go unfilled because the details provided by the requestor were incorrect - perhaps the individual was actually born in an adjacent county, or in a different year, or had a different name on his or her birth certificate.
Further complicating matters, most people's family trees contain ancestors whose native language was not English, making it even more difficult to locate and request information. Fortunately, today's genealogy buff has access to an unprecedented amount of birth and death certificates, obituaries, census records, and other researchers' results, just to name a few.
Genealogy services can help people find out more about their family history in a matter of minutes, rather than months or even years, through indexed records, broad databases, and even translations of vital documents from many different countries. Modern technology also allows genealogy buffs to take their research to the next level through DNA testing.
Often with just a simple swab of the cheek or a vial of saliva, curious individuals can get scientific evidence of their roots, connect with people who have shared ancestors, even discover family traits that have been passed down for generations.
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best Genealogy Services available today. We hope these reviews help you find your ancestors and discover more about your own family tree today!
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