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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.
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 Find My Past 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!
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