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The Best Genealogy Services

Where is the Best Place to Discover Your Genealogy Online?

Everyone on earth seems to have an innate, yearning desire to deeply understand who they are and where they came from. One of the most exciting ways to dive into this is through genealogy. Learning about ancestors on both sides of the family, what areas of the world they lived in, and stories from their lives can give an indescribably profound sense of pride and self-worth to an individual.

Genealogy has become a fast growing hobby for people of all ages since it is easier than ever. No longer do you need to go to government agencies for vital documents or "cemetery hop" while trying to learn names and death dates of family members. It used to be a complex puzzle trying to trace your family lineage, but now there are incredible companies that have compiled billions of records and made it possible for people to easily create their own family tree.

Monday, June 17th

2024 Genealogy Service Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award FamilySearch Review 5 Star Rating

FamilySearch

5 Star Rating
  • Free for everyone
  • 12.19 billion searchable names
  • Community family trees
  • Unique family history activities
  • Record your own history
  • Free online consultations with experienced genealogists
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

FamilySearch was first named "The Genealogical Society of Utah" and was founded to help members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints trace their family trees. The website now has users in 238 countries and over 5,700 locations worldwide.

No faith requirement

People can get in-person assistance from volunteers to help build their family tree - with no requirement to be a member of the faith. The FamilySearch website launched in 1999 and was initially garnering over 7 million hits per day. In 2011, FamilySearch debuted what has now become the largest genealogy and family history conference in the world, RootsTech.

Free for all users

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints continues to host FamilySearch as an international nonprofit organization that's free for everyone to use. The church believes that feelings of family connection can help people overcome the ups and downs of life. They aim to help people draw strength from their past, present, and future family relationships through continuing to fund this genealogy website.

Best Genealogy Services

Community trees

With your free account, you'll be able to see what's already been discovered about your family in a community tree that has over 12.19 billion searchable names. You can discover fascinating details about your ancestors by viewing photos and memories, a life sketch, information about parents and children, and more. If you find an ancestor that you have additional information about, you can contribute to their profile to continue growing your family tree.

Endless assistance

FamilySearch is committed to making sure that everyone who uses their site does so with confidence and excitement. If you have specific questions, you can always call FamilySearch or send them an email. You could also visit their nearest location and get guidance from a trained assistant to get started. Another resource offered by FamilySearch is a free 20-minute consultation that will strategize with you on the next steps you should take in your research journey. Users can also submit requests for specific records that may not be available online. Someone from the FamilySearch library can retrieve them and send them to you digitally or in print if needed.

Fun genealogical activities

There are some fun activities on the FamilySearch website that you should for sure take some time to play around with. They have information on surname origins that is really interesting, a "famous relatives" search that can tell you if you're related to everyone from the passengers on the Mayflower to President Obama, "compare-a-face" generator that shows you which relatives you look most like, and a "record my story" section where you can start to write your own personal history and include information about close relatives as well.

Best Genealogy Services

Well-liked by users

We were shocked to see that FamilySearch has an "F" rating from the Better Business Bureau. However, the reason for this is their lack of response to 3 complaints about the service. There are no reviews on their BBB page and it doesn't seem like it's actively used enough to be a reliable gauge of whether or not you should give FamilySearch a shot. There have been millions of people who have benefited from this free service and you have nothing to lose by signing up. The only complaint we've really seen from users is that sometimes you have to double-check information since a lot of your family tree can be edited by others (similar to Wikipedia). There have been issues with people disagreeing on how a family lineage actually should be traced when it comes to adoptions, divorces, and other technical and complex personal details.

Incredible resource

Overall, FamilySearch is an incredible resource for everyone. To have as much easy-to-obtain information at your fingertips at no cost as can be found here is amazing. The layout of FamilySearch is clean and easy to understand. Having instant access to a trained genealogist is also an exceptional tool that will help you deep dive into your family history. We have given FamilySearch our strongest recommendation and our #1 ranking among genealogy websites.

LegacyTree Genealogists Review 4.5 Star Rating

LegacyTree Genealogists

4.5 Star Rating
  • Request a quote for exact pricing
  • 3 primary plans ranging from $2,950 - $10,800
  • Wide range of unique genealogy products
  • Genealogy research projects by a professional
  • Fantastic customer reviews
  • "A+" Better Business Bureau rating

Legacy Tree Genealogists make doing your genealogy easy-peasy because they do a lot of the work with you. Since 2004, this team of researchers has helped thousands of clients throughout the world discover their story. They were named as one of Utah's 100 Fastest Growing Companies and have been recognized and promoted by MyHeritage, 23andMe, Billion Graves, Findmypast, FamilyTreeDNA, Somos, RootsFinders, and many other big players in the genealogy arena.

Request a quote

Everyone's family history research needs are slightly different, so rather than having a monthly or yearly one-size-fits-all membership model, you'll need to request a quote from Legacy Tree Genealogists to get official pricing. They'll need your name, phone number, reason for needing to hire a genealogist, and who referred you. You'll get a free consultation to discuss what you want out of the service, and then you'll either be guided to the basic, standard, or premium plan.

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Achieve 1-4 research goals

Legacy Tree Genealogists offer 3 plans for you to choose from. However all of these packages can be adjusted based on your particular needs.

  • The Basic Plan costs $2,950 or $118/hour. This is for one research goal and provides you with professional research and analysis on your family tree equaling up to about 25 hours worth of work. This is a good option for people looking to discover recent ancestors, research a family line, search for a birth parent, prepare to join a lineage society, or dive deeper into DNA results. These projects are usually completed in 4-6 months.
  • A more comprehensive option is the Standard Plan at $5,600 or $112/hour. This is for two research goals and equals closer to a 50-hour project.
  • The most extensive choice is the Premium Plan that costs $10,800 or $108/hour. This allows you to achieve up to 4 research goals and a 100-hour project.

Unique genealogy products

Besides getting help from a professional genealogist on your unique research project, Legacy Tree Genealogists have a few other interesting things you can purchase. For $575 they have a DIY DNA consultation package that caters to people looking for an unknown biological parent or family member. You could purchase a family history chart, family history book, fully translated genealogy report, or a heritage travel plan for $120/hour.

Reviews with flying colors

Legacy Tree Genealogists is the highest client-rated genealogy firm in the world. They have an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau with great reviews from customers. It's not uncommon to hear that people have gone to them for repeat projects and come back astounded at what they've learned each time. Customers say they are accurate, timely, and thorough. For the amount of money people pay for the professional genealogy assistance here, it seems to be well worth it.

Best Genealogy Services

They handle the tough cases

Legacy Tree Genealogists is not for everyone and it's not meant to be. This is a full-scale operation for people who have detailed, complex research objectives. Most people will be able to get all the basics of what they want from a typical genealogy site, but Legacy Tree Genealogists takes on the tough cases and help you break through walls that might otherwise leave you in the dark about your family history.

These people are the best

If you need some assistance in your genealogical research, Legacy Tree Genealogists are extremely thorough and well-trained. These people are simply the best at what they do. We feel completely confident that they would accomplish any in-depth project you request.

Ancestry Review 4.5 Star Rating

Ancestry

4.5 Star Rating
  • $16.50/month - $34.99/month depending on membership
  • 40 billion records
  • 100 million family trees
  • 14-day free trial
  • Can connect with relatives via DNA testing
  • "A+" Better Business Bureau rating

Ancestry is on a mission to empower journeys of personal discovery to enrich lives. Founded in 1990, they are the largest for-profit genealogy company in the world and are based out of Lehi, Utah. The company offers DNA kits for customers as well as access to billions of records through their website. Over the years they've acquired other small companies like Know Your Pet DNA, Find a Grave, Fold3, Rootsweb, Newspapers, Geneanet, Forces War Records UK, and others.

Comprehensive records

Ancestry has one of the most comprehensive, easy-to-use platforms for genealogy work that you'll find. They've been around the block and know how to provide a great experience for their users. Whether you're working on your computer or through their app to build out your family tree, you'll be connected with a staggering amount of information within minutes. Ancestry hosts 40 billion records and over 100 million family trees on their site.

Best Genealogy Services

3 membership tiers

To get a taste of what Ancestry offers, you should take advantage of their 14-day free trial. After this, if you want to continue, there are three packages available. Ancestry charges through subscription fees, which you can cancel at any time as long as it's at least 2 days before your renewal date.

  • The U.S. Discovery package is $19.99/month or $16.50 a month if you pay 6 months upfront. With this package you'll get access to all U.S. records.
  • The most popular option is the World Explorer package that's $34.99/month or $24.83/month if you pay 6 months upfront. This allows you to browse all U.S. and international records.
  • The third option is an All Access package where you can browse all records on Ancestry, Fold3, and Newspapers. This is $54.99/month or $39.83/month if you pay for 6 months upfront.

Simple to get started

There are four main steps for getting started at Ancestry. Once you've created a profile, you can add names of your parents, grandparents, and any details you know about them. As you search through records, a leaf icon might appear, indicating that the site has found records or photos that might match someone in your tree. You can browse through census collections, military listings, immigration and marriage records, and more. You can easily save ancestors, stories, records, and photos to grow your family tree. You choose who you want to share your tree with, so if you want others to be able to view your work and add to it, this is a great way to get helpful information.

Try a DNA kit

An extremely popular product offered by Ancestry is their DNA kits. For between $99 and $199 depending on the amount of information you want, you can order a kit, send in a saliva sample, and get results in 6-8 weeks that tell you the regions of the world you and your ancestors came from, information about your DNA and traits, your ethnicities, and get connected with living relatives. A DNA kit makes for a fun self-discovery journey or a great gift for a loved one. You don't have to be a super-sleuth to figure out how you might be related to your DNA matches, either: Ancestry has an amazing tool called ThruLines that takes what you enter on your tree and matches it up with others', telling you the way your lineage connects you.

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Well-liked and connected

The Better Business Bureau gives Ancestry an "A+" rating. On top of this, they have fantastic reviews from customers about how efficient the process is with the company. Many people's lives have been changed because of the things they've learned through Ancestry. It's one of the biggest networks of genealogical information, so not only will you get access to innumerable records, but also find a lot of people who are likely working on the same family tree as you. Customers have found it easy to browse for information and continually build their family trees.

Excellent recommendation

We are big fans of Ancestry. Over the years they've thought of everything someone might need to build a family tree and easily gain access to information they've never seen before. It's one of the most popular options for genealogy work, so you really can't go wrong here. Some people wish it were a little cheaper and they didn't get so much marketing push for them to buy other Ancestry products, but other than that we see no reason not to start your free trial right away.

Genealogy Bank Review 4 Star Rating

Genealogy Bank

4 Star Rating
  • Monthly or annual memberships
  • Pricing that fits every budget
  • 7-day free trial
  • Over 15,000 newspapers
  • Over 2 billion family history records
  • "A+" Better Business Bureau rating

GenealogyBank indexes, archives, and digitizes billions of family history records. They've come from census records, newspapers, government documents, and historical records all throughout the United States. GenealogyBank is a division of NewsBank, Inc., a company with an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau. GenealogyBank features over 15,000 newspapers to help people uncover stories about their ancestors from 1960 to today.

Cost tailored to every budget

Interestingly, GenealogyBank doesn't necessarily have set pricing. You can always search records for free, but a monthly or annual membership is required for unlimited access to all the text. Prices are adjusted to fit every budget, so you can start a 7-day free trial and then contact GenealogyBank's sales department for their latest offers and to discuss your cost. If you sign up directly without calling the sales department, the pricing you'll see is an annual membership for $6.58/month or a monthly membership for $19.95/month. It's a no-brainer to go ahead with the annual membership and then you can cancel or renew your membership at any time.

Use alongside a family tree site

You won't be creating a family tree on GenealogyBank, but you can use it as an asset when you're creating a family tree somewhere else. To find information at GenealogyBank, you can browse newspapers by state, title, or recently added content. You can also look for birth records, marriage records, passenger lists, obituaries, U.S. census records, social security death index, government publications, and historical books. If you have a first and last name, you can instantly get hits in any of these categories to see what information is out there for your ancestor.

Best Genealogy Services

Accessible customer service

There are a few ways you can contact GenealogyBank if you need assistance with your research journey. They provide an email address and phone number where they can be reached Monday-Friday. They have a chat box directly on their site that you can send quick questions to as well. If you're interested in helpful tips, visit GenealogyBank's blog and read through the interesting articles there.

Fantastic customer service

Customer service is an aspect of GenealogyBank that users really appreciate. Most customer reviews mention how helpful they are and how quickly they answer/return phone calls. Their employees are knowledgeable and great with assisting people who need guidance with their research. The Better Business Bureau gives GenealogyBank an "A+" rating, so we feel confident that you won't be let down by this company.

Helpful, affordable information

You probably won't be able to do all the genealogy work and family tree building you'd want just by using GenealogyBank. However, this is an inexpensive place to turn if you want to browse through census records, newspapers, and other historical documents to find out as much as possible about your ancestors. We highly recommend tacking a membership to this site onto anywhere else you're turning for genealogy research.

Lineages Review 3.5 Star Rating

Lineages

3.5 Star Rating
  • Packages ranging from $1,800 - $6,600
  • DNA sampling
  • Small, professional research team
  • Contact by email or phone Monday - Friday
  • "A+" Better Business Bureau rating

Lineages is a genealogy research company based out of Draper, Utah. They offer a series of in-depth packages designed for customers who need extensive research completed about their lineage. They specialize in African American, North American, and European research, although they can assist with research for other countries of origin. If you need help beyond your own resources, time, and ability to trace your biological roots, that's where Lineages steps in.

Pricing depends on research hours

Depending on your needs, Lineage has four research packages ranging from a beginner case at $1,800 to a deluxe case at $5,100. The difference in pricing is based on how many hours it is estimated that your research project will take and some of the information that's included. We recommend looking over all the details of each package to decide which one will ensure you get everything you wanted to find out by the end.

Dive deep through DNA

Lineage also offers a DNA research package for $2,500 to help clarify family lines with the use of DNA clustering and analysis. This comes with about 20 hours of research based on your DNA sample and you'll receive a written report with an analysis and explanatory charts.

Review their case studies

Since it's pretty expensive to hire your own personal genealogist, you should take a look at the case studies provided by Lineage on their website. These are examples of what your report might look like so you know if this is the right route for you. The case studies outline the goal of the customer and show the full results with all the photos and documents relevant to the case.

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Give the gift of family

If someone in your life would appreciate the adventure of deep diving into their family tree, you can purchase gift cards from Lineages to help them offset the cost. Gift cards are offered in any amount between $500 and $1,800, so keep that in mind when you're trying to find a birthday or Christmas present for someone in your life who already seems to have everything.

Meet the team

There is a small team behind Lineage and you can read about each of the researchers from the website. This would be a good way to build confidence in their background and get an idea of who you would be working with. Since everyone's family history needs are complex, we recommend giving Lineage a call and discussing your situation with them to make sure you choose the right package and know what to expect as far as the timeline and process moving forward. You can either email Lineages or reach them by phone Monday - Friday.

Ask for references

The Better Business Bureau gives Lineages an "A+" rating. Unfortunately, Lineages doesn't have customer reviews on their website or anywhere else that we could find. This is crucial information when making a big purchase, so it might not hurt to call and ask for references if that's important to you. However, we read the bios of the team and this genuinely seems like a helpful and professional option for customized, personal genealogy work. They haven't earned our highest rating since this probably isn't the top option for most people starting out with family history, but if you need one-on-one help, we absolutely suggest considering Lineages.

Find My Past Review 3.5 Star Rating

Find My Past

3.5 Star Rating
  • $13.33/month - $29.99/month depending on plan
  • 7-day free trial
  • Helpful hints to build your tree
  • 1881 and 1921 census records
  • Positive customer reviews

Findmypast began in 1965 and is a technology-driven subscription service that gives users access to billions of digitized records. The company aims to allow people from the past, present, and future to connect with each other. Findmypast has partnered with The National Archives, FamilySearch, The National Archives of Ireland, British Library, and Family History Federation to give people as much information as possible.

Save with long-term subscription

Like many online genealogy companies, Findmypast offers a free trial for users to test out their platform. For 7 days, you can start working on your family tree and browse billions of records. After the trial phase, there are two plans to choose from. You could either stick with their "Essential" plan and pay $19.99/month or pay yearly which comes out to be $13.33/month. The "Ultimate" plan is $29.99 monthly or $18.33/month if you pay for a year upfront. The Ultimate plan gives you access to the largest online British and Irish set of records and comes with exclusive content and guidance from their experts.

Helpful hints to grow your tree

Some of the main documents people come to Findmypast for are the 1881 census, 1921 census, and 1939 register. Others come simply to get started on their family tree and to start compiling memories and information about their ancestors. To get started, you can fill in some details about your relatives and yourself. As you build your tree, Findmypast will match stories from their records that might belong with one of your ancestors and give you "hints" along the way. This will help you uncover new relatives, which will result in more hints, and then more discoveries.

Share information with loved ones

Users can share their family trees with friends and family members so that they too can learn more about their ancestors. However, it doesn't appear that other relatives can join their family tree with yours or work on the same line. Rather, you can send a link for people to view your tree and you can restrict access to certain information if you'd rather keep some things private.

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Import from other sites

Creating a family tree takes a lot of work. That's why Findmypast allows you to import your tree from another website if necessary. That way it will be in the correct format found on Findmypast and you can pick up where you left off by continually researching and adding to your previous work.

Happy customers

We wish that Findmypast had a rating from the Better Business Bureau. They do, however, have good ratings from their users. People say that it's easy to build your family tree and navigate the site. People especially like the hints feature that helps them when they feel like they get stuck in a rut. Some people wish it were a bit more affordable long-term to use, though.

Good option, but there are better

Findmypast is definitely not one of the first places you think of when you start your genealogy work, but it seems like a reliable, straightforward option. They do pull a lot of records from FamilySearch, which is our highest-rated site (and it's free), so if you want to create a family tree without worrying that you'll have to pay for the rest of your life to access it, you may want to try a higher-rated site before committing to Findmypast.

The USGenWeb Project Review 3 Star Rating

The USGenWeb Project

3 Star Rating
  • Free for everyone
  • No signup or registration
  • Volunteer organization
  • City and county-specific information
  • Opportunities to volunteer and submit information

In 1996, The USGenWeb Project was known as the Kentucky Comprehensive Genealogy Database Project. The idea was to provide a single place to go for genealogy data related to all counties in Kentucky. As time went on, the project expanded and genealogists decided to create a similar set of pages for all US states, thus becoming USGenWeb. It is an ever evolving platform that has been recognized by Family Tree Magazine, FamilySearch, Education World, and Global Information Network.

Volunteer-run

Although USGenWeb isn't the prettiest website, we are all about the heart of this organization that is free for all users and run by a group of volunteers (btw - they are always looking for more help). These people work to make it possible for people to have free genealogical resources to learn more about their families. How cool is that? Through this platform you can find a variety of county and state resources including maps, photos, historical documents, transcriptions, helpful links, and more.

Ongoing project

USGenWeb is an ongoing project with endless opportunities for more information on their site. They rely on volunteers and people submitting information and making in-depth pages about the counties of other states to make this a comprehensive research tool. What you see there today may be different next year if they get more submissions. Because of this, some states and counties may have more information than others.

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Free to use

Since USGenWeb is free for all users, there is no need to register, login, or provide any identifiable information. To get started, you just select a state from their dropdown menu that you're interested in and you'll unleash hundreds of links and state-level documents. Truth be told, you'll kind of need to know what exactly you're looking for before coming here. This is a non-profit website, so don't expect high-level organization or presentation. It can be a bit confusing to identify exactly what would be helpful here unless you go in already knowing what to search for.

No user ratings

When it comes to finding ratings about USGenWeb, they really don't exist. The Better Business Bureau hasn't rated them and there aren't user reviews either. However, this isn't necessarily the type of site people leave reviews for. USGenWeb requires nothing of its users, so you come looking for something and whether you find it or not, you move on having lost nothing.

Nothing to lose

There's no reason not to utilize USGenWeb if you are looking for information specific to an area of the United States. Whether it be finding a name from a cemetery, checking obituaries, learning about the history of a city, or even getting involved yourself with one of the ongoing special projects, USGenWeb is a neat tool that exists just to serve people looking for family information. However, it's definitely not a well-rounded genealogy website where you can create your family tree, take a DNA test to connect you with living relatives, or connect with others who are working on the same lineage, though: you'll need one of our higher-ranked services to do all of that.

My Heritage Review 2.5 Star Rating

My Heritage

2.5 Star Rating
  • Paid plans ranging from $129/year - $299/year
  • Free basic subscription
  • 30-day free trial with DNA kit purchase
  • 19.8 billion records available
  • "A+" Better Business Bureau rating

MyHeritage is an Israeli company that launched in 2003. It is a place to create your family tree or continue building one you've already made somewhere else. With the technology on their platform, you can repair, enhance, colorize, and even animate historical photos. They've been featured by The New York Times, TechCrunch, Good Morning America, and Fox News.

DNA kit

In addition to their platform capabilities, MyHeritage promotes their cheek swab DNA kit that reveals your ethnic background and could match you with newfound relatives. It analyzes 2,114 geographic regions and supports 42 languages. If you just want the DNA kit, it costs $39 plus the cost of shipping. If you're interested in that alongside all that MyHeritage has to offer, you could order it with a 30-day trial added on. This makes the most sense, so we recommend doing this if you're buying a DNA kit anyway.

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4 package options

The cost to use MyHeritage is based on how many people you want listed in your family tree and the amount of records you need access to. To get started, you could just sign up for the free basic plan which allows you to create a family tree of up to 250 people. This comes with no other features, so you'll likely outgrow this plan really quickly. Your paid options from there include:

  • Premium: $129/year
    • 2,500 people in family tree
    • Priority support, support matches, and advanced DNA features
  • PremiumPlus: $209/year
    • Unlimited people in family tree
    • Everything in Premium plus instant discoveries and tree consistency checker
  • Data: $189/year
    • 250 people in family tree
    • 19.8 billion records, record matches, and save records to your tree
  • Complete: $299/year
    • Unlimited people in family tree
    • Everything in PremiumPlus and Data

Silly package choices

We don't love that the package options really leave you needing to spend $299/year in order to create your family tree and have access to the data you need. The way some of these plans are minced apart seems silly since anyone creating a family tree will likely need to add a lot of people and learn about who and what to add along the way. Committing to MyHeritage is pretty expensive at nearly $25/month. This may not be sustainable long-term for a lot of people.

Bring photos to life

A feature that makes MyHeritage unique is their Deep Nostalgia technology. This allows you to upload photos and bring them to life. You can fine tune coloring and see movements in the images as if the photo was a live version. Some people find this magical and love how it brings their ancestors to life. Others see it as a little creepy. It's totally dependent on the person, but we think it's a cool idea and you might have some fun playing around with it. If you aren't a subscriber, you'll have a MyHeritage watermark on your animations, but those with complete subscriptions won't have one at all and can use Deep Nostalgia for an unlimited amount of photos.

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Mixed feedback

MyHeritage has mostly good reviews from their customers, but they are a bit more mixed than we've seen from our higher-rated genealogy sites. The positive things about this company usually have to do with their customer service. It seems like they are friendly, willing to help, and get things taken care of. However, some complain about billing issues after their free trial, slow delivery of DNA kits, and some glitches with family trees and the overall website. Luckily, they do have an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau, so we aren't overly concerned that this company is a scam or unreliable.

Not a favorite choice

Besides Deep Nostalgia, MyHeritage doesn't seem to offer anything you can't get anywhere else. They are a bit pricey for our liking, especially when there are some companies that let you make family trees and access billions of records for free. MyHeritage seems like a company with good goals and motivation, but they just don't compare to some of their competitors.

Archives Review 2 Star Rating

Archives

2 Star Rating
  • $9.99/month
  • Over 11.8 billion photos, newspapers, and vital records
  • 7-day free trial
  • Cancel anytime

Since July 2009, Archives has been helping people discover their family roots. They aim to make research quick, easy, and affordable for everyone. Archives has forged partnerships with FamilySearch and the National Archives Administration. In August of 2012, Archives officially became part of Ancestry, one of the world's top genealogy websites. Through them they've been able to continually add to their photos, records, and newspapers for users to discover.

Non-transparent pricing

To get instant access to all of Archives' 11.8 billion photos, vital records, and newspapers, you can make an account on their website. The first 7 days of your membership are free, but then the cost after that is ambiguous. We aren't impressed with how non-transparent Archives is with their pricing. Nowhere on their site does it directly tell you how much you'll be charged after the free trial until you've actually signed up. We found that after we signed up, Archives charges $9.99/month and can be canceled at any time. While this is pretty affordable compared to some other genealogy sites, we wish they were more upfront with it.

Would like to see more

We wish Archives would show more of their platform and what it looks like for people to build a family tree before signing up. Unless you provide your credit card information and start your free trial, you can't get a good grasp of what their platform looks like to see if it seems up-to-date, easy to use, or appeals to you.

Free resources

To find vital records on someone, you can easily search the first and last name and state of a deceased individual. From there you can add people you find to your own personal family tree. You can also build upon family trees that are created by other family members to make them more robust. At the bottom of Archives' website they have a "Free Genealogy Resources" link that leads to a variety of topics to help you with tutorials, finding other genealogists, and online search tips. While creating your family tree, this is a good place to turn if you find yourself in a rut.

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DNA kits through Ancestry

Archives offers DNA test kits, but we quickly realized that these are the same as the ones from Ancestry DNA since it links you straight to those. These are popular, insightful ways to get an overview of your ethnic origins, genetic communities, and get connected with living relatives. These test kits start at $99 and will provide you results in just 6-8 weeks.

Poor reviews

Archives is not rated by the Better Business Bureau. However, their customer reviews reflect poorly on them and we aren't impressed. People say that it's difficult to cancel your membership and you often have to make phone calls and wait quite a bit of time. Some people also felt like they fabricate records to get you to sign up. For example, users would make up crazy names in the search box and get birth, death, and census results that could be viewed after signup. We can't imagine that this company was doing well when it was purchased by Ancestry and we doubt Ancestry is pouring a lot of effort into keeping it alive.

Turn to Ancestry

Since Archives is run by Ancestry, it makes most sense to us to just go directly to them instead. Ancestry clearly has a one-up on the resources and information you can find at Archives, so for the most extensive experience, we recommend signing up at Ancestry. Archives is a genealogy service to avoid.

One Great Family Review 1.5 Star Rating

One Great Family

1.5 Star Rating
  • Prices range from $14.95/month - $79.95/annually
  • 7-day free trial
  • Link all family trees and data

OneGreatFamily aims to link all family trees together so that all knowledge and data is on one shared database. They claim to be the most technologically-advanced online records management software tool where you can view, explore, and share your family tree without desktop software. Unfortunately, their unsecure website and vague explanation of how this works does not give us much confidence in OneGreatFamily's promises.

Outdated site

You'll likely notice like we did that OneGreatFamily's website is outdated. Their font size is small and will be hard to read for some. They also don't seem to be pouring a lot of effort into the usability and appeal of their platform. It's probably the case that at one point OneGreatFamily had a unique idea and had a good trajectory ahead of them, but it doesn't seem like they've been able to keep up with other genealogy websites.

Impossible steps

There are two simple steps outlined by OneGreatFamily that should get you started here. The first is to upload a GEDCOM, or a copy of your family tree. However, spoiler alert: when we tried to do this, we got an internal service error that the link was broken, leaving us dead in the water at step one. Next, you should be able to list names and information to build on your family tree, but we weren't able to accomplish that here.

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3 pricing plans

Since OneGreatFamily offers a 7-day free trial, we know there is a paid version of this platform. However, they aren't transparent with their pricing. You have to start the subscription process to see that they have a 1-month subscription for $14.95/month, quarterly subscription for $29.95/every 3 months, and yearly subscription for $79.95 annually. What exactly you're getting out of that cost, we aren't completely sure.

Don't waste your time

Unfortunately, One Great Family is one of the few genealogy sites we've found that has less than an "A" rating from the Better Business Bureau. They receive a "B-" rating, which isn't great. This is due to their failure to respond to a complaint against the business. Normally this isn't a huge deal, but paired with their less than awesome reviews from customers and other companies, we don't see why we'd waste our time here.

Not a good option

OneGreatFamily is not a good choice for spending your money or getting access to billions of documents to build your family tree. This is likely a company that started years ago and didn't take off. Without a doubt, we would encourage you to use a higher-rated genealogy site to get reliable information and be able to continually discover new information about your roots.

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Continued from above...

Through genealogy websites you can not only learn the names of the people in your family tree, but you can usually see pictures of them and view any documents that are attached to their records. You could spend days pouring over journal entries, news articles, and contributions from other family members about an ancestor. To learn about the people who paved the way for your existence is remarkable and will likely teach you more about yourself than you can imagine.

These online genealogy platforms provide you with instant access to vast databases of historical records, DNA databases, and family trees from the comfort of your own home. This accessibility makes genealogical research much more feasible for people with varying levels of experience and resources.

Once you find an online platform that gives you all the resources you need to do your own genealogy, you'll understand why this pastime is so addicting for people. Incredible things have transpired for people who have looked for lost family members and been able to reconnect through genealogy work. All it takes through most companies is to set up an account and get started.

When deciding which online genealogy service to spend your time and energy with, take the following things into consideration:

  • Variety of information. Does the company have a plethora of information that you easily search online? What types of records do they keep on file that you can view? How does the layout of all the information compare to other genealogy sites? You'll want to easily be able to sort through files and keep things organized.
  • Features. Can you easily create your own family tree? Or can you search for a family member and easily get connected with a tree that has been started for you? Are other family members able to contribute to your ancestors' information through uploading documents, photos, and stories?
  • Cost. Some of the best genealogy sites are completely free. But, there are valuable resources on today's popular paid sites as well. Does the company charge a one-time fee for access to your family tree? Or do you have to pay a subscription? What happens to your family tree if you cancel your membership? How does the price of one genealogy site compare to another?

Ready to research your genealogy? Top Consumer Reviews has reviewed and ranked the best places for you to get started on your personal family tree. We know this information will help you make life-changing discoveries that give you a deeper sense of who you are and an appreciation for those who came before you.

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Genealogy Service FAQ

Genealogy is often referred to as family history: it's the study of your ancestors, lineage, and heritage. If you've ever wondered about where your grandparents came from, what family traits have been passed down through the years, or if you're related to someone famous, you've already been interested in genealogy.
There are a lot of reasons why people are interested in their genealogy. Some people are curious to verify old family stories about "the old country" or having "royal blood" . Others hope to connect with living relatives by tracing their ancestry; this is especially common for people who were adopted (or have parents/grandparents who were). And, a growing segment of genealogy researchers are hoping to get dual citizenship by documenting that their family tree has recent connections to another country.
Start with what you know: the names, birth/death dates and places of your parents and grandparents, if you have them. If you still have living relatives, they'll be one of your best sources of information. From there, choose an online genealogy platform that allows you to create a family tree and start entering the details you get. (Even guesses or approximations are okay when you're getting started.) Then, you'll use online databases to find documents that support those facts, like census records or birth certificates, if you don't already have them in your possession.
DNA testing is the biggest trend in genealogy right now, and with good reason: it's one of the most reliable ways to find living relatives, confirm suspected parentage, and even get ethnicity estimates. However, the science is still evolving, so be ready to take any results you get with a grain of salt.
You'll find everything from birth/death/marriage certificates to yearbook photos and beyond when you use a genealogy service. One of the most popular types of genealogical records is the US Census, which documents every household in the nation every 10 years. You can often find details about your relatives' educational level, income, how many children they had, and how long they had been married at the time. Even documents like draft registration records can tell you a person's height, weight, hair and eye color.
There are many genealogical records available at no cost, but the vast majority require you to pay to access them. You could pay for individual documents through county clerks' offices, but it usually makes more sense to subscribe to an online genealogy service that lets you search and view billions of records at your convenience. Most genealogy platforms also make it easy to connect with other people who might be doing research in the same part of the world or with the same family names, and to get help if you get stuck.
Not at all. You can get a subscription for anywhere from $10 to $25 per month, and there are usually discounts if you pay for your plan annually instead of monthly. Most genealogy sites also have different levels of service: for example, if you know that you only need access to records from the United States and not worldwide, you can probably choose a less costly plan than the all-inclusive package.
That's probably one of the most common questions asked by people who are interested in learning about their family tree. Most of us have heard that we descended from royalty, right? It's possible that those family stories are true, but you'll have to start by charting out your family tree to see if you connect with any famous people at some point in the past. The good news is that many famous family trees have already been established, which should make it easier to discover your connection (if there is one).

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Select any 2 Genealogy Services to compare them head to head

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  • FamilySearch
  • LegacyTree Genealogists
  • Ancestry
  • Genealogy Bank
  • Lineages
  • Find My Past
  • The USGenWeb Project
  • My Heritage
  • Archives
  • One Great Family
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