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Postby familyhistorynut » Sat Oct 17, 2009 9:14 am

I was very interested to see the views of your panel on the best subscription websites for genealogy but was suprised that my reasons for chosing these websites were not mentioned so I thought I would give them to you anyway. I might add that I have been a member of Ancestry, and GenesReunited for many years and use Find My Past on a pay per view basis.

The main difference for me between Ancestry and Genesreunited is the fact that on Ancestry there is no limit to the amount of trees you can keep and research but on GR you can only have one. Therefore on Ancestry I can split my very large tree into branches (even search for and produce a tree for a friend) and still have all the vast library of records available for them all. With GR I can only have my tree as one entity, and it is getting a bit large to keep track of it in that format. However, I do like to keep both subscriptions up because these websites seem to have totally different memberships, and therefore more chances of finding people with the same interests.

On the other hand, with Ancestry you can only see 5 generations at one time, which is great for close work on individuals but on GR you can get the whole tree on screen and navigate between branches and see the relationships between the generations in each branch.

So they both have their plus points.

Find My Past is a really good standby website with information the other sites don't necessary have. So if I can't find it on Ancestry I usually go to this website. Easy to navigate and search.

Now for the bad news. On the strength of your panel's views on The Genealogist I bought a membership, having also read what was available on the home page. When I started navigating I was horrified to find that my credits were being used just for searching! I think this is ridiculous as I could use all my credits up on searching for obscure information without necessarily finding any documents. The other thing I found disconcerting and a bit misleading was that they don't have complete records and you can pay for searching, say in parish records, only to find they don't have anything from that parish anyway. I think this is the only website that charges for searching as well as for the information you find.

I won't be renewing this subscription.

I would be interested to hear other people's views on why they chose a particular website. For instance, does anyone agree with me that 'Origins' is the worst website for navigation. I have wasted so much money on that site that I won't use it any more. However, Scotland's People is a great website.

Kind regards
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Postby colliehouse » Mon Oct 19, 2009 7:15 pm

I have subscriptions to both Ancestry and Find my Past. I have found both useful and also like the option on Ancestry to be able to put on more than one tree.
I tried Genesreunited but found it to be completely useless for me and didn't renew.
The best for me although it is not a subscription site, has been Scotland's People. Easy to use, easy to find information, the online access to certificates is brilliant and probably the best bit about it. It doesn't stop me buying a certificate but at least I'm not wasting money and time waiting for certs that are not correct.
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Postby Deputy Editor » Wed Oct 21, 2009 12:02 pm

Hello there
Many thanks for your comments about subscription websites – as we mentioned in the introduction there is a high degree of personal taste involve in picking your favourite and as with anything, it's a good idea to test drive before you commit.
It sounds like you have a fairly rounded view of what's available and I'm interested to hear how the various tree makers vary from site to site. I think there could be scope for an in-depth article on the subject there somewhere…
I'm sorry to hear you had a less than positive experience with TheGenealogist website. I believe our testers had a credit-free subscription to the site's holding, which means they could search without using up credits – sorry, we should have perhaps made this clear in the feature.
Deputy Editor
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Be warned do not publize your family tree on Ancetry

Postby bridan90 » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:19 pm

I would just like to say that websites such as Ancestry and Genes reunited are excellent for research. However there are pitfalls and I would like to point these out to everyone who is serious about genealogy and tracing your family tree. If like me you have been researching your family tree before there were facilities like the internet you will know how hard and time consuming research was. I invested a lot of time in my family tree and I am very proud of it.

When these online sites became available I was overjoyed not only was it helping me with my research but now I could also showcase my work and maybe find relatives out there with a similar interest. With this in mind I uploaded over fifteen years of family history research on to Ancestry and unfortunately made it public. Since then my tree has been canabilized by peole with it appears no serious interest at all in family history!

They latch themselves on to your ancestors the result being that your research becomes distorted as your ancestors acquire several spouses making them bigamists. They acquire children that they could not possibly have biologically conceived and they can also bilocate. One of my great uncle's was apparently in New York and Glasgow at the exact same time!

So be warned. For research purposes they are absolutely wonderful. For showcasing your work or sharing your data a total unmitigated disaster, especially ANCESTRY. If you do upload your family tree KEEP IT PRIVATE! Invitation only. :roll: :!:
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Postby callbrian » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:51 pm

I have some agreement with the latest posting by bridan90. I posted my family tree on Genesreunited,I did and still get annoyed with the number of so called 'hot matches';they seem to increase after you have lapsed your subscription.
I must say though that I picked up three matches that have been very fruitful, especially on my wife's side of the family. So I suppose it's a question of whether you want to take the risk or not.
I did get a reply from someone claiming over 11,000 relatives he had discovered. Is this a record?
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Postby familyhistorynut » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:31 pm


I totally agree with Callbrian about Genes Reunited. I have tried to tell them about the duplication of hot matches but they don't seem to understand what I'm talking about.

Bridan90 is also quite correct about keeping your family tree private if you don't want it to be butchered and out of your control. Invitation only is best.

I must take issue with the Deputy Editor though, about the last paragraph in his/her post stating that the 'jury' in the 'Which Website?' article had a credit free subscription. If that had been me I would have loved the site too. But how can you say The Genealogist is 'BEST FOR VALUE' when the jury didn't have to use any credits. As I stated in my first post, it was such a shock for the credits to be going down for almost every search I made. Maybe at some point in the future, it would be useful to produce a Family History Website Comparison with such headings as, Search Charges (if any), Document Costs, etc.

Usually love the mag and have had subscription from Day 1.
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Postby Guy » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:53 pm

There is absolutely no good reason to pay one penny to have ones family tree on a website.
Sites such as Rootsweb are pleased to offer free webspace for family history.
I have been using space on Rootsweb to augment the space my ISP allocates and this allows me as much room as I need to display my family tree, photos, databases of transcriptions free of charge.

If however the question simply focused on database providers then I would plump for Worldvitalrecords-
As we have gained from the past, we owe the future a debt, which we pay by sharing today.
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Postby Miles » Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:02 pm

I find the Ancestry website excellent for research purposes with access to so many records, but don't really use the other features of the site. On the other hand I have found Genes Reunited very useful for people making contact about shared ancestors. In some cases their research has not been accurate so it is important to check the evidence, but in those cases I have found people grateful for corrections I have been able to offer. I have also been pleased to get leads from others' trees and corrections or confirmations of my own research. Pay as You Go sites are also very useful for specific records - Ancestors on Board - 1911 Census.
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Postby ksouthall » Thu Nov 26, 2009 4:49 am

I use and GenesReunited and have found both websites very useful. I have made connections with distant relatives through both sites, which has helped in building a bigger picture of my whole family. Of the two, I have found Ancestry more useful in finding out information and in making contacts as it is possible to view public trees first before making contact with people.
Some trees on both sites do contain unconfirmed information and I have made suggestions to relatives where I have information that contradicts their findings. Sometimes this has been accepted but on other occasions it has been ignored, despite their lack of records and my stronger sources; e.g. a copy of an ancestor's will that names his daughter as having married one man, confirming her as my ancestor and not theirs. Despite my requests, a couple of people have refused to remove her from their trees which means other peoplecome along, think their information is accurate and copy it into their trees, perpetuating the error.
Some trees also contain impossible information such as dates of parents' births, marriages and deaths occurring after their children were born, etc, because people have merged information from other people's trees without checking that it correct. It is interesting and also annoying to see your own ancestors' BMD details entered incorrectly; e.g. according to some family trees, my great-grandma supposedly died in America, despite the fact that the copy I have of her death certificate says she died in Hertfordshire and I have seen her gravestone hundreds of times as it is in the churchyard in the village where I grew up! It is important not to treat information in other people's trees as fact and to back it up yourself by obtaining copies of original records.
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Postby ksouthall » Thu Nov 26, 2009 4:52 am

p.s. I agree with bridan90 and keep my Ancestry tree private. I only give access to trusted family members. When collaborating with other people, I share my findings and they share theirs, which helps us all to increase our evidence-based knowledge.
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Location: Sussex

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