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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.
Find My Past began more than forty years ago in London, England, as a group of professional genealogists and heir hunters worked together under the name of Title Research. Their work evolved into a modern-day genealogy service that focuses heavily on records from England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland. For family history researchers whose ancestors came from the UK, Find My Past may have records that aren't available on other genealogy sites, with more than 1,000 exclusive collections that include British newspaper archives, parish records dating back to 1538, Irish court records, and more.
On the other hand, for beginning researchers based in the US or Canada, or for those whose family tree has no known roots in the UK, the records available from other parts of the world on Find My Past may not be broad enough. Fortunately, as with most of the genealogy services in our review, Find My Past offers a free 14-day trial, so that users can determine if the records and services they provide are worth the cost: $9.95/month or $114.50/year for a US and Canada subscription, or $19.95/month or $239.50/year for a World subscription.
We think that Find My Past's benefits to 12-month subscribers, known as Find My Past First, offers some unique perks. As a yearly subscriber, users can access monthly webinars on various genealogy topics, help decide which new records will be added next, and enter monthly contests to win prizes. Find My Past First also gives subscribers access to discounts with partner companies, such as Family Tree Magazine, Hooked on Genealogy, and Lifebook.
Additionally, Find My Past is one of the only genealogy services to offer access to records on an a la carte basis. For those who prefer to pay only for the records they need rather than for a monthly or yearly subscription, Find My Past allows them to buy credits - 60 for $10.95, 300 for $37.95, or 900 for $82.95 - and use them to purchase access to specific documents. On average, records cost between 5 and 60 credits, and purchased records can be viewed an unlimited number of times. Depending on the type of record requested, this may or may not be more affordable than requesting a copy of the document from a local government. Customers should also be aware that credits are only valid for 90 days from the date of purchase and expire if they are not used within that time. On the other hand, customers can have expired credits reissued to their account if they purchase more credits or a subscription within three months of their expiration.
Find My Past also offers the ability to create a family tree and connect with others; however, with its user base predominantly located in the UK, it might be more challenging for subscribers in the US to find and connect with others' family trees.
In general, Find My Past is an excellent resource for those whose genealogy takes them anywhere within the United Kingdom. We applaud their efforts to continually expand their offerings both within the UK and outside of it, but are disappointed that the US and Canada records currently available are somewhat skimpy compared with other sites while still having a relatively high monthly subscription cost.
To help you find the Best Ancestry Services, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Ancestry and Find My Past.
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.
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!
Genealogy In The News
It took DNA, genealogy and a lot of work, but after 11 years, the case of the brutal killing of a woman in her Carlsbad apartment - an attack that still lacks apparent motive - has been solved, author...
Published: Tue, 13 Nov 2018 17:29:00 GMT
If you're looking to start a family tree or find missing information in an existing project, check this out - East Central Regional Library is pleased to introduce access to MyHeritage Library Edition ...
Published: Thu, 15 Nov 2018 10:45:00 GMT
EDMOND - Animals have history, too. "The Squawk, Meow and Roar of Animal Genealogy" will be presented by Amy Stephens during the Edmond Genealogical Society's meeting at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at the ...
Published: Wed, 14 Nov 2018 01:00:00 GMT
An Orlando, Florida, man is behind bars and accused of killing a young woman 17 years ago, after police say he was identified through genetic genealogy. Authorities arrested Benjamin Holmes Friday ...
Published: Tue, 06 Nov 2018 11:29:00 GMT
WEBVTT THERE ARE SOME SERIOUS, ETHICAL ISSUES. KRISTEN: IT IS A TAKE -- IT IS A CASE THAT TOOK DECADES TO SOLVE. ACCORDING TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, DNA TESTING LED INVESTIGATORS TO UNCOVER HI...
Published: Tue, 13 Nov 2018 09:17:00 GMT
Results from a genealogy website led Orlando detectives to the arrest of a man they believe killed a University of Central Florida student 17 years ago. Benjamin Holmes, 38, was arrested Friday on cha...
Published: Wed, 07 Nov 2018 08:40:00 GMT
Genealogy is a popular way for people to learn about their ancestry. Now, it's become a major asset for law enforcement in helping solve cold cases. When investigators tracked down the suspected ...
Published: Tue, 13 Nov 2018 16:32:00 GMT
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