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Ancestry vs Archives

To help you find the Best Ancestry Services, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Ancestry and Archives.

To see ALL of our reviews for the Best Ancestry Services, please Click Here

Research Your Genealogy with Ancestry Today! 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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Best Reviews

2018

Genealogy Services Reviews

5 stars
Ancestry

ANCESTRY Visit Site

Cost:

U.S. Discovery subscription, $99 for 6 months, $189 for 12 months

World Explorer subscription, $149 for 6 months, $299 for 12 months

TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award With a name like Ancestry, it's not surprising that this service is one of the most well-respected in the genealogy world. Ancestry offers a three-pronged approach to studying one's family history: historic records and other documents, such as census lists and church registers; user-created family trees; and, Ancestry DNA which, as the name suggests, allows users to trace their ethnicity and connect with others who share the same genetic roots.

The majority of Ancestry's two million paying subscribers join the site to access its unparalleled amount of historic records reaching back to the late 1300's: more than 16 billion added to the site over the last 19 years, and with an average of 2 million added daily. These records fall under three main categories: Birth, Baptism and Christening; Marriage and Divorce; and Death, Burial, Cemetery and Obituaries. Not only can users find an indexed entry for their ancestor, but often they can also view and print a scanned image of the actual document.

In order to access these documents, family history buffs first need to choose whether they need access strictly to US-based records, or if their research will require them to look at documents from other places throughout the world. Ancestry offers two types of subscriptions: U.S. Discovery, which costs $99 for a 6-month plan or $189 for a full year, and World Explorer, at $149 for 6 months or $299 for 12 months. Many of the documents we found on Ancestry were not available on any of the other online genealogy services in our review, making it well worth the extra cost of the subscription compared with other sites. We love that Ancestry offers a complimentary 14-day trial, so that prospective customers can get an idea of which plan will best meet their research needs.

Another useful feature that Ancestry provides is the ability to create a family tree. As users find records pertaining to their ancestors, they can link the actual documents directly to those individuals' entries in the family tree. Furthermore, they can benefit from research already done by other members of their family tree and easily connect that information as well. Members of Ancestry have already created more than 70 million family trees, with 8 billion connections between subscribers' trees since early 2008.

And, for those who want to know more about their family history at a cellular level, Ancestry also offers DNA testing to enable people to discover their ethnic mix, find distant relatives, and learn more about their own unique background. Ancestry DNA was launched in 2012 and since that time, more than one million people have used the service, leading to the discovery of more than four million third-cousin and closer matches. The service costs $99 and results are delivered via email within 6-8 weeks.

Although the subscription price is significantly more expensive than other genealogy services in our review, we can't help but be impressed by the unparalleled amount of resources that Ancestry makes available to its subscribers. Whether you're looking to create your family tree for the first time or trying to track down that elusive great-great-grandmother that has stumped you for years, Ancestry is your best bet for making the connections you seek in your family history journey and earns our top ranking.

Visit Site

4.5 stars
Archives

ARCHIVES Visit Site

Cost:

$9.99/month

For those who are new to family history research, the sheer volume of available services, records, and family tree sites can be overwhelming. Archives seeks to make it simple and easy to find out more about one's genealogy.

Archives has been involved in the family history market since July 2009, thriving through partnerships with The National Archives Administration of the United States and free service Family Search. In 2012, Archives became part of the Ancestry family of companies, which made it possible for their users to access many of the same services offered by the larger genealogy site - but at a price that is much more accessible for many customers. Access to Archives' services costs a reasonable $9.99 per month; family history seekers can search more than 300 records databases, create their online family tree and connect with the same multi-million member trees available at Ancestry, and benefit from a simplified search function.

Even better, Archives has a free 14-day trial; we suggest that customers trying to decide between Archives and Ancestry take advantage of both service's two-week trial periods, to see whether they need the more robust features and records offered by Ancestry, or if the more streamlined information at Archives would meet their needs just as well.

Overall, Archives is a solid choice for people interested in beginning their family history research, or even for more experienced genealogists who find Ancestry's price to be too much for their budget. Archives earns high marks for its free trial, easy-to-use search features, and affordable access to millions of historical records.

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Continued from above

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.

  • Cost. How much will you need to pay to access the records and other information on the site? Are there monthly options, if you only need to find a few records, or discounts for yearly subscriptions?
  • Variety of information available. What types of records does the site provide? Is it a wide range of governmental data (e.g. census, death certificates, etc.), published information (e.g. obituaries and other newspaper articles), and family trees submitted by other users? Can the information the site provides be found for free on other websites?
  • Family tree features. Does the service allow you to create your own family tree and easily link information you find on the site? Are you able to connect with other researchers interested in the same ancestral line? Can you add photos, stories, and other personal details to your family tree?

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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