Our reviewers evaluate products and services based on unbiased research. Top Consumer Reviews may earn money when you click on a link. Learn more about our process.

Archives Review

Sunday, December 5th

2021 Genealogy Service Reviews

Archives Review 3.5 Star Rating


3.5 Star Rating
  • Free 14-day trial
  • Over 11.6 billion genealogy records
  • Owned by Ancestry
  • Cancel any time

Archives began in July 2009 with the aim of making family history research quick and easy. They have billions of digitized records and images and continue to grow thanks to their partnerships with FamilySearch and the National Archives Administration. In 2012, they became part of the Ancestry family and continue to build on their platform to provide good experiences for users.

Owned by Ancestry

Since Ancestry is the owner of Archives, most links you click on will provide the same information as found on Ancestry. You can buy their $99 DNA kits through Archives and all of the records you find on Archives are on Ancestry as well. This is a good thing since Ancestry has the largest collection of family history records and is a reliable, professional service.

All the basic tools

At Archives you can create your family tree, link with other family members, and upload important documents, photos, and stories about your ancestors. You can browse through Archives' collection of vital records (and print them from your computer), military records and make notes to help you stay organized.

Best Genealogy Services

Free trial, then billed monthly

You can try out Archives' service for free by taking advantage of their 14-day trial. This gives you instant access to over 11 billion genealogy records, the family tree tracing tools, and unlimited search access. After the trial ends, you'll automatically be billed $9.99 every month until you cancel. This is a good price when compared to other genealogy sites, so it might make it one of the most affordable resources out there.

Interesting to people of all experience levels

It doesn't matter if you're a genealogical expert or not: the Archives platform was built for hobbyists, beginners and experienced professionals. It's easy to navigate and takes minimal effort to use since you'll be saving on trips to the courthouse, cemetery, churches, or records offices like people used to have to do.

Working to improve

Despite their professional presentation, Archives receives poor ratings from users over the last few years. They do not have their own Better Business Bureau profile or rating (Ancestry has an "A+" ), but based on the feedback from people who have subscribed to their services, it's clear that they've had some hiccups and are working to improve. Common complaints include cancelling and being charged for memberships months and even years later. This ended in credit card disputes and headaches for those who had to deal with it. It seems they are continuing to refine their processes after their merger with Ancestry and working hard to grow, but in the meantime it is best to just use one of our higher-rated sites.

What is the Best Genealogy Service?

Throughout all of time, people have had a deep personal interest in knowing where they came from. Our family, culture, and geography shape who we are, so it provides a unique perspective about ourselves when we are able to trace our ancestors and learn more about the people who came before us. Studying family history has rapidly grown into one of the most popular pastimes for people in the United States.

It hasn't always been simple to trace our roots. In the past, researching a family tree was a lengthy, often painstaking process. Rather than quickly jumping online and doing a few searches, you would have to track down hard copies of vital documents, which often cost as much as $20 each from government agencies.

The Best Genealogy Services Compare Genealogy Services Compare Genealogy Service Reviews What are the best Genealogy Services Best Genealogy Service Reviews

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).
Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

People would travel far to find gravesites of family members to gather what local information they could, read through old journals, and put in hours worth of phone calls to try to connect the dots. Oftentimes language barriers, hard-to-read handwriting on old documents, or distance led genealogical enthusiasts to a dead end.

Thanks to the people who laid the groundwork for genealogy the hard way, online platforms have been created to compile everyone's histories into a simple, searchable database. Since these services have launched, it has opened doors for billions of people to find lost family members and learn about their ancestors. It's never been easier to dive into your genealogy. Some services offer a look into your lineage with just a vial of saliva or swab of the cheek through DNA testing.

As you browse different genealogy services, there are some important things to keep in mind:

  • Features. Are you able to create your own family tree on the website? Can other researchers have access to the family tree to add relevant information? Does the platform allow you to upload photos, documents, stories, and other personal details for individuals on the family tree? How about DNA matches with potential blood relatives?
  • Variety of information. What types of records will you be able to obtain from the genealogy service? Do they have government records (birth and death certificates) as well as published information from news sources submitted by other users? What unique information do they offer that you aren't able to find for free online?
  • Cost. What is the cost to access records on your family tree? Do you pay a one-time fee, or does the service require an ongoing subscription? Are you able to get discounts if you use it long-term?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best genealogy services available online. We hope this information helps you learn more about yourself, reconnect with estranged loved ones, and be inspired by those who came before you.

The Best Reviews of Genealogy Services