Ancestry.com

I know a lot of people who don’t want to spring for an ancestry.com subscription. There are plenty of sites who are willing to try and fill in those gaps that are free, or at least cheaper. But, in my experience, ancestry is probably the best website to use for genealogy.

One of my cousins recently e-mailed me and asked if I was a member of the site OneGreatFamily. Nope, I actually never heard of it. So I googled “OneGreatFamily reviews.” Not good. Looks like they have been reported to the Better Business Bureau multiple times. The most common complaint that I read was that many people had signed up for the free trial and then were billed nearly $80 US. Many of the complaints allege that customer service is nearly impossible to get in contact with and that they were billed multiple times.

The other, what I consider to be HUGE, problem with this site is that it’s built entirely on user-submitted material.  The site offers to constantly update your tree as new information becomes available- but how is this a perk when that material is coming from other users? I take genealogy very seriously and I don’t want to add just anything without checking and double-checking evidence. I’m not going to add a 5th great grandmother just because someone else added it. There’s no way of verifying their information.

You can see this problem pop up on ancestry.com when you compare trees. I’ve seen people’s trees messed up beyond belief because they just copied other people’s trees. Before you know it, there are fifteen trees all with the same bad information. One tree that made me giggle had the father being born less than ten years before the son, another had the mother being eight years old when she gave birth to her daughter. I HIGHLY doubt this is/was likely. It might be physically possible, in some cases, but still- highly unlikely.

Whenever I’ve come across some information without sources, I’ve contacted the user through ancestry. I don’t know if that’s an option on OGF, and I’m not going to risk being billed $80 to find out.

The websites that I currently have pay subscriptions to are ancestry.com and genealogybank.com. I also frequently use findagrave.com and familysearch.org- but these sites are free.

I’ve also tried myheritage.com, but I wasn’t impressed. They don’t have even close to the amount of records that ancestry does, and everything I found there was duplicates from ancestry. 

I have found some stuff on newspaperarchives.com. They do have different newspapers than genealogy bank. But I haven’t yet figured out  way to cut and paste or copy and paste from their archives.

I definitely welcome any hints on any other sites that others might be using. 

 

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4 thoughts on “Ancestry.com

  1. I subscribed to ancestry several times but found that
    A. The records they promised in Ireland they did not have
    B. A lot of their documents have been transcribed wrongly and the names are incorrect, even so far as the wrong sex… So when looking for my family name I had to enter all sorts of spelling. Maybe the USA site is better than the British one

    I found more helpful sites

    • Thank you for your comment. I assumed that the ancestry site was the same for all users regardless of location. Now that I’m thinking about it, I realize I was probably wrong.
      In response to your points:
      A- My husband has also had trouble locating records in Ireland. While I have had trouble finding records for Eastern European countries- which they claim to have recently added.
      B- I have run into the same problem with names and genders. I think it is half the fault of the transcribers and half the fault of the people filling out the original documents. I didn’t find the Bressler family for quite some time because the census taker had listed the last name as Pressler and for some reason, ancestry’s search algorithm seems weak- even when using the Soundex option for searches. My great grandmother’s first name was Sheldon, so both transcribers and census takers have listed her as male which has made it much harder to find her.
      What sites do you use? I am always open to suggestions!
      Like I said, in my experience I have found ancestry to be very helpful and have probably found the most info on that site. I do use it as my primary site, but I also use quite a few others.
      Any tips on other websites that you have found helpful are most welcomed- my goal is to work on my genealogy, not support any one site.

  2. Records in Ireland were practically wiped out in a fire in the central office in Dublin, but luckily I was searching for records in county Kerry which were available on irishgenealogy .ie , I also used familysearch.org. And findmypast which had some overseas records. I had to email some research assistants personally as I was looking for records in St Helena (off Africa) and that was fruitful. Newspapers archives were also good in New Zealand. I needed information from all over the world and all but ancestry came up with information. Strangely I also needed some information from Yorkshire and once again ancestry had only records for a very small part of the county!

  3. I really like familysearch.org as well. They have a lot of things that ancestry does not have- like individual town records. I will have to check out findmypast, I don’t believe I’ve ever used that site.
    I was lucky enough to happen across someone who had a contact in Slovakia who sent church records- otherwise I would have never found one set of 2nd great grandparents. So networking can be really helpful!
    I’m glad you were able to find other useful sites, relying on only one site would be so limiting- especially ancestry.com in your case.
    Thanks for the tips!

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