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Archives vs Find My Past

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ARCHIVES

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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FIND MY PAST

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.

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Genealogy

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

  • 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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