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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.
Based in Israel with additional offices in Utah and California, My Heritage has been making connections between genealogy researchers and their ancestors since 2005. With more than 83 million users and 33 million family trees, My Heritage is clearly committed to helping people connect with one another. In fact, their Smart Match and Record Match system automatically alerts users when any records pop up that might be related to someone entered in their family tree. Those matches come from My Heritage's more than six billion historical records, from census records in the US, UK, and even Nordic nations, to family trees created by users at Family Search, Geni, and My Heritage itself.
Where My Heritage loses us is when it comes to their pricing and membership options. It takes a considerable amount of digging through the website to determine that there are three membership plans: Data, Premium, and Premium Plus. For $119.40 per year, a Data Subscription allows users full access to My Heritage's SuperSearch and Record Match features. The Premium plan includes up to 2500 people in the family tree, Family Tree Builder Premium, priority customer support, and several special features like Timeline and Enhanced Smart Matching. Premium Plus includes all of the benefits of the Premium plan, along with an unlimited number of people within the family tree and the ability to use My Heritage's Instant Discoveries feature, which allows users to add a group of ancestors in one click rather than having to enter each one individually.
What do those upgrades cost? Even after a considerable search of the site itself, the only information My Heritage makes available is "contact our sales representative for more information". Given that the starter plan is already a considerable amount, we would expect much more transparency with their pricing plans, especially with some user reviews stating that the pricing may vary based on how many users one has in his or her family tree.
We also were discouraged to see so many negative user reviews, almost exclusively regarding My Heritage's pricing and difficulty in getting refunds. Many customers complain that they attempted to cancel during a 14-day free trial period but were billed anyway, and getting a refund proved difficult-to-impossible for a significant number of users.
While My Heritage may give users access to an excellent variety of records and have features that make family tree building a simple process, their customer service and pricing information (or lack thereof) give us pause. In order to improve their rating, we'd expect to see more obvious pricing information and improvement in customer reviews, particularly with respect to refunds.
To help you find the Best Ancestry Services, TopConsumerReviews.com provides you with an in-depth comparison of Ancestry and My Heritage.
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
Authorities in California said they arrested a man they suspect is a serial sexual offender who committed a string of horrific crimes over 15 years, earning the name the "NorCal rapist." They attribut...
Published: Fri, 21 Sep 2018 17:05:00 GMT
SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) - A Benicia man has been arrested for being so-called NorCal Rapist, who terrorized victims from the Bay Area to Sacramento over a 15-year period beginning in 1991.
Published: Fri, 21 Sep 2018 14:09:00 GMT
LOS ANGELES -- A man accused of brutally raping women across Northern California in a series of crimes that began 27 years ago was arrested this week after DNA evidence lead police to the suspect, off...
Published: Fri, 21 Sep 2018 18:36:00 GMT
SACRAMENTO -- Sacramento police have made an arrest in the case of a serial rapist who terrorized Northern California for 15 years, authorities announced Friday. Investigators used genetic genealogy, ...
Published: Fri, 21 Sep 2018 13:45:00 GMT
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Sacramento authorities have arrested a 58-year-old man suspected of committing at least 10 rapes across Northern California between 1991 and 2006. The Sacramento Bee reports Roy C...
Published: Fri, 21 Sep 2018 17:52:00 GMT
MASON CITY | The North Central Iowa Genealogical Society and its collection may be looking for a new home if it cannot reach a compromise with the Mason City Library Board of Trustees within the ...
Published: Wed, 19 Sep 2018 14:40:00 GMT
Blaine Bettinger is a nationally known experts on DNA for genealogy purposes and author of books and webinars on the subject. Now, he's launched DNA Central. The membership-based website brings togeth...
Published: Thu, 20 Sep 2018 11:32:00 GMT
The Museum of the Southeast American Indian at UNC Pembroke will host a Lumbee Genealogy Symposium October 3-5. The cost is $25 and includes meals and copies of research. A community bus tour will be ...
Published: Fri, 21 Sep 2018 09:06:00 GMT
EDMOND - An update on DNA and genealogy will be the focus of the Edmond Genealogical Society's Sept. 17 meeting. Dr. Ruth H. Oneson, an Edmond Genealogical Society member, will present "DNA ...
Published: Wed, 12 Sep 2018 02:00:00 GMT
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