Genealogy Research Sites – Let’s Compare

Welcome back!  We will take a closer look at the websites that I gave a history of in the last article and what they have to offer. As, well look at different membership pricing.

I will give my thoughts and opinions. I will leave the decision making up to you as I have said before, there is so much information. It becomes quite a task to simplify, make it less confusing, so bear with me as we continue, and by the end of this article, please let me know your thoughts and opinions.

I look forward to sharing the information—about each of the following genealogy research sites and what I like about each one. There is nothing that I don’t like about each website, so I will not be able to provide the proper pros and cons approach. I will let you decide for yourself.

5 Popular Genealogy Websites Comparison 

Download (PDF, 113KB)

Family Search

FamilySearch A no-profit website having no membership fees. That certainly is a bonus and great when you are just starting. Family Search is a church ran site, but membership is free to everyone. It is easy to start your tree; they guide you all the way. Pretty sweet set up.

All you do is create a membership and start your tree. Once you’ve built your tree, you will see a little blue square beside your deceased relative; this indicates that they have found a Record Hint(s). Finding these hints can be so exciting. Once opened, you can view the source document’s information, which you can attach or dismiss. You also have the option to download and print or save the source document.

Also, if you find a source attached to someone else’s tree, you might be able to contact that person. If they wish to share, you will find available contact information. You might find another relative!

Source Box

Now that your tree is set up and your logged-in. There will be available hints on your home page in the form of pictures or documents. They might belong to someone else’s tree but shows relevant information to one of your relatives — a cool feature you can check out these sources. Either dismiss them, attach them to your relative, or put them in your “Source Box” to review later. The Source Box is an excellent feature while you are researching.

The site also has “Recommended Task” on the home page great feature; it shows hints or additional information from your tree.

The home page also offers “Recent Viewed People.” It lets you know who you were looking at when you visited, which reminds you of where you left off.

To Do List

The home page also has a “To-Do-List” that you can create and check it off as you complete the task.

In the top menu bar, you will find “Memories.” I haven’t used it yet; it looks pretty cool; you can save pictures, documents, audio, stories. I look forward to using it soon.

Research Wiki

Family Search “Research Wiki” is an excellent tool. There is tons of information and volunteering. I know you will like this feature; it is highly informative with high social content and sharing.

Another cool feature is a section titled “Get Free Personal Help with your Family History.” And a button that says, “Find a center,” that takes you to a map. These are the Physical locations for Family History Centers (libraries). You can visit these centers and do genealogy research with access to the microfilm and microfiche not yet digitized. They have patrons to help you use the microfilm readers and aid in your inquiry.

FamilySearch has an extensive digitized library. They have millions of microfilms and microfiche regularly digitized — this work of digitizing records in by volunteers.

I have been using Family Search for a few years. They have grown and improved over the years; it is my go-to site; everything starts here for me.

There is not anything I don’t like about this site. Go ahead and join, remember no fees, let me know what you think by leaving a comment.

Ancestry

Ancestry Website has three membership plans. These plans do offer several membership options; you’ll be able to select a plan based on either U.S. only, U.S. and International, or All-access, where you can access Newspapers and Fold3 military records.

When you create an account, it is a 14-day free trial, an excellent feature as it gives you a lot of time to check it out and decide if it is a fit for you.

I like Ancestry; it is easy to maneuver. The home page has a neat feature you can customize with several widget options to choose from, and you can continually change these widgets to the order you want them.

Trees are easy to create; you can start from scratch, import trees from Family Search, or upload a Gedcom file (file from genealogy program).

You can do a new search from anywhere, home screen, your tree section. You can access your tree from the navigation bar or the family tree section on the home page.

Another feature that I like is My Shoebox; if you find any documentation and wish to keep it to photocopy or need to review it later, you can save it in my shoebox.

Ancestry Academy

Has a wealth of information in the form of informational and how-to training videos. This section has “I am counting about 64 videos” on several topics and the last average of 1hr long, impressive, and I am sure you will find it quite useful.

There is also a Message Board where you can find other members with similar interests. It has 25 million posts on more than 198,000 boards.

On the Home page, there is a Quick links section that collects places where you have visited. Also, a “My To-Do List” where you can list what you are missing about a relative, keeping you on task.

You can even hire a pro genealogist if you wish. There another section called “What is Happening in Ancestry,” which lets you know what new records they have added.

I love this site, and a fun part is going to your tree and seeing a green leaf beside an ancestor to say you “have a new hint.” Sounds silly; that green foliage gets me excited to see what record is waiting for me to review. You will always have the choice to accept or reject the information or save it in your Shoebox.

Extensive Database

Ancestry has an extensive database and is well worth the price but, only if you are serious about keeping up with your research. So, my suggestion would be to start slow, then decide later the amount of time you intend to put into the research and select a paid membership. The pricing is well worth it if you are going to use it.

Ancestry also advertises the DNA kits, as you will see when you visit and join. I appreciate that they don’t push things on you but, the ads are there.

Like I said before I love this site as well, there is nothing I don’t like, it’s very professional, detailed, easy to understand. I am sure you will enjoy it as well.

Once you have joined your 14-day free trial, let me know your thoughts about Ancestry.

My Heritage 

My Heritage Is an excellent website with some cool features. One of these features, even though they have paid subscription plans, you can start creating your tree right away.

Upon signing up, you are creating a Basic Limited Tree for Free and can add up to 250 people allowing you time to check out the site and do some actual research. There are no added features like customer support of Smart match (matches from other members trees).

There are four yearly paid plans; each offering selected features; in each, there is a significant discount for the first year, which is a sweet feature, and their pricing is quite reasonable.

I like their tree it’s clean, and big takes up most of the screen and easy to figure out where you are and what to do next.

Cool Feature

Another cool feature is when you put your cursor on the Home tab, it drops, and there are family features, events, statistics, invite family, and site members. I like inviting family and site members.

Once you open the “Invite Family,” you’ll be able to make of list of people you would like to have access to your site. Then you send them an invitation to join your website via email; then, they can join and contribute a neat feature. Then under site members, you can see the list of members who have joined and if they are online now. From here, you can send emails to all members. This feature could serve as a tool to organize family events.

Under the “Family tree” tab and in your family tree, you’ll find, My photos, Pedigree Map, Print charts and Books, Consistency checker, etc.

Pedigree Map

Takes you to a world map and marks with a number of your ancestors’ location from your tree. I love this so much; I am sure you will agree.

All sites have a feature to let you know you may have duplicate content or if something doesn’t make sense etc. but, I like the Tree Consistency Checker; it is clean and uncluttered.

The “Discoveries” tab sorts Match by people, Matches by source, and Instant Discoveries; I like this section and the setup as well.

The Research tab has a collection catalog, birth, marriage & death, Census, family trees, newspapers, and immigration records.

DNA tab

That has several features to help you understand more about that aspect of family research through finding your ethnic background if interested.

My Heritage has everything and at a reasonable price. I am sure you will enjoy joining. Like I said before, it is so clean and easy to maneuver. I definitely will be using it more than I have done in the past.

Once you join, let me know your thoughts about My Heritage.


Find My Past

Find My Past Offers a 14-day free trial membership, which is so lovely. They offer two other groups at an excellent price. They also have three pay as you go if you are only searching periodically.

This site’s focus is British and Irish records, and I am sure you are aware that these records are enormous. They have private records not found anywhere else, although records extend to other countries as well, they are sharing partners. They are unique in that they have access to the more difficult file to find.

In the Search tab, you will find birth, marriage and death (parish registers), census and land substitutes, churches and religion, directories and social history, education and work, immigration and travel, institutes and organizations, military service, and conflict.

These searches include the United States and Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.

Family Tree Pedigree Chart

The Family trees pedigree chart is an extensive and shows-family view, pedigree view, and family group.

My Hints orange button on the family tree page is convenient by opening it you have a list of all available hints. Hints look like an aged document folder with a description of the contents and what relative it is in relation too, it looks cool.

If there is a hint, a dot appears by your relative’s name showing, they have found a record that they think matches their profile and the number of hits found. You then review and attach it to your relative or reject it if not.

The Blog page

Has a How-to guide dropbox with several tools Getting started, Break down brick walls, Newspapers, Social History, etc. videos and articles to help with your research.

Very extensive, as you scroll down, it goes on and on, this is awesome. I love this section so much; it like stepping back I time, and “seriously, I am still scrolling,” there appears to be no end to this wealth of knowledge. “Oh my gosh, my finger is getting tired.”

They also have a Webinars section that is awesome, Discoveries section, the Latest Records section, and still, there is no end.

This site is awe-inspiring and extensive but, not difficult to maneuver. It’s easy to start your tree and get set up; you can start from scratch or import a Gedcom file.

I can not say enough good things about this site. It is a must for everyone. I certainly will be using it a bit more while I continue my search for my British ancestors and stumble upon other nationalities as well.


Geneanet

Geneanet.org Promotes a free search subscription a great feature to get you started and allow you to test out the site but wait till you see the Full Access premium subscription pricing. My thoughts would be to join for a year; this pricing is incredible for the features you are getting.

Home Page

The home page is genuinely pleasant, clean, and comfortable to find your way around. The Search section has added search criteria that take you to another window to deepen your search. Your family tree is also visible on the home page. The family tree section is roomy and at once comfortable to keep your place when entering new information.

As you scroll the home page, there are several sections, Collaborative indexing where you can digitize original documents. I enjoy indexing. You are viewing old documents and typing the information in the instructed fields; there are detailed how-to instructions. At this point, Geneanet has 957,623 records to index, 3,412,330 Indexed individuals, 7,920 Participants. Worth checking out if you like being part of something that has excellent value.

The home page also shows a list of Recently added records, Genealogy Library with 3 billion indexed individuals — a Genealogy society Family Search collection with a partnership and a few other selections.

Match my Family Tree

Is a section on the home page where you select to have your tree matched to either, Geneanet database, Geneanet members, Famous people; all are awesome; you have a bit more control over your tree.

The Save our Graves section is where you can share pictures of graves on Geneanet and take part in the indexing of those pictures. Naturally, you can attach a photo of your ancestor’s headstone to your tree, and all the information indexed.

There is also a top Blog Post page with hoards of articles, some related to famous people and asking are if you are related?

They also have another site called Geneastar where you can surf famous genealogies. Which, you might enjoy.

I like this site; it is very refreshing, and there are lots to see you could surf for hours and not get bored.

A genealogy site you might want to consider joining and when you do let me know your thoughts?

Download (PDF, 112KB)

As you can see, all 5 of these genealogy research sites have different features, but in the end, they all serve the same purpose finding your ancestors. You can choose to join all five or check each out for a period and select the one you like best. Each of these sites will have the same records. They are sharing partners, but that doesn’t mean all shared. As for myself, I enjoy them all and find just enough difference to keep me interested in what they have to offer.

Thank you for taking the time and hopefully, you have found some useful information to help you on your journey.

Your thoughts are much appreciated.

Rose

4 thoughts on “Genealogy Research Sites – Let’s Compare”

  1. I have never thought or imagined that there will be such site about genealogy website. Indeed, there is a lot going on that I am left out of. You article as awaken me to want to research more and develop the attitude for reading more, even things out of sphere of my interest.

    But can all the information you get from these sites be true about one’s ancestor lineage. I am just curious to see how accurate those information might be true. I guess I have to try it myself. Thank you 

    Reply
    • Hello Augusta, It’s awesome that through this article you have discovered the big world of genealogy research. If we stop and pause we all have a spark of interest in finding our Ancestors, and yes you can find valid information online though these well established genealogy research websites. One of the reason these sites exist is because they love the search and love sharing. These sites have gathered old documents in which individuals have index (decipher the text) them so we can use the information. In genealogy research we are looking for Ancestors, so you will not find information on the living, the relative would have to have been deceased for several years. So don’t hesitate to try it out, you might be amazed at what you find.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      If I can assist in any way, let me know.

      Kindest Regards

      Rose

  2. Wow, I had no idea there were so many places that I could research my ancestors. This is something that I have been wanting to do for so long now. I like that Find My Past has a free trial but it seems like Geneanet might be a good one for me to start with? Which one would you recommend for me to start with?

    Reply
    • Hello Marlinda, I am glad that you were able to discover that there are several places to research your ancestors online. Either Find My Past or Geneanet would be a great choice. If you are interested in getting the most out of your free membership Geneanet definitely would be a good start. Also, don’t rule out Family Search, even though it is a church ran site it is totally free full access, and they have tons of records. All these sites share with each other, so what records one has the others could have the same record. Find My Past because they specialize in British and Irish records do have some records they might not share.   

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

      I hope this has helped in the decision making process.

      Kindest Regards

      Rose

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