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Ever wonder what mysteries lurk within your family tree? You might be surprised at what you can dig up about your roots and how fun Ancestry.com makes genealogy research. The most well-known genealogy website, Ancestry.com lives up to its high-profile reputation. This company placed first in our best genealogy software online comparison review and second in our best DNA ancestry test comparison review.
In 2012 private equity firm Permira acquired Ancestry.com for an impressive $1.6 billion. And in April 2016, Ancestry.com received a $1 billion investment from Silver Lake and GIC. Obviously, genealogy research pays off!! We give you an in-depth Ancestry.com review to help you see if it’s the right path for your genealogical journey.
- 32,600 collections — a wide variety of historical records
- Intuitive website with excellent beginner and advanced search tools
- 14-day free trial
- Customer support 7 days a week – phone and email
- View public member trees
- Create a personal profile
- Excellent Learning Center includes blog, webinars, tutorials, videos and tons of articles
- The most active online community we’ve seen with a member directory, forums, message boards and social media
- Free Ancestry.com App (Android and iPhone)
- Free templates to keep you organized during your research
- Consumers report unhelpful customer service reps
- Free trial required credit card
- Canceling your subscription is difficult, according to customer reviews
- You incur a fee to download your family tree offline
Ancestry’s abundance of features far surpasses what its competitors offer. Their historical records top 16 billion—much more than any other site.
Ancestry Key Features
- User-friendly Card Catalog that allows you to filter searches by collection, location, dates, and languages
- In-house professional genealogists for hire to help you with research
- My Shoebox tool: a place to store records from your searches
- Highly active social media presence including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Tumblr
- AncestryDNA: discover your genetic ethnicity and locate new family members with their advanced DNA autosomal testing technology (read our AncestryDNA Review)
- Millions of searchable records and images connected to the Holocaust (available for everyone to explore)
U.S. Discovery Plan: access to all of their U.S. records
- $19.99 per month
- $99 for 6-month membership
World Explorer Plan: access to all of their U.S. and international records
- $34.99 per month
- $149 for 6-month membership
World Explorer Plus: access to all records on Ancestry.com, Newspapers.com and Fold3.com (a fun and helpful U.S. military genealogy website)
- $44.99 per month
- $199 for 6-month membership
What’s the Buzz About Ancestry.com?
We did some digging of our own around the web to see what customer feedback we could unearth about Ancestry.com. Here’s a sampling of Ancestry.com reviews by real users.
Positive Ancestry Reviews
I have been a member of Ancestry.com for just about 10 years and have found it invaluable in the research associated with my internationally recognized website soldiersofthequeen.com While my website does not contain extensive genealogies I do research the more immediate families (parents, spouses and children) long forgotten British soldiers from Queen Victoria’s reign as well as other aspects of their lives of which many rather amazing details have come to light. Without Ancestry my endeavor would have been next to impossible since I live half a world away from most of the original records. – Edward, TrustPilot.com 5/9/2017
I’ve been involved doing family research for over twenty years. I’ve used most of the available sites on-line, and have found Ancestry.com to be the best of these. It has proven to be indispensable [sic] in my research. They are continually working to improve it and add features. It’s relatively easy for anyone to use – whether you’re a beginner or an expert. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is serious about genealogy. – Susan M., TrustPilot.com, 6/9/2015
Negative Ancestry Reviews
Ancestry begin another ripoff today. They offer a 14 free trial but you must give your bank details before you can start the ‘free’ trial’. Under no circumstances do this as they will start taking payments from your account whether you cancel the free trial or not. They will continue taking funds even if you do manage to get through to customer service and cancel. – Bernie K., SiteJabber 7/21/2017
The fact that I have to wait hours+ to speak to a human being about matters concerning my account is RIDICULOUS! I was requesting a refund on the same day that my trial was ending and they still charged me and I have yet to be able to get my money back. My money back from a service I DO NOT use, why is this so difficult. – Kaye W., TrustPilot.com 4/28/2107
Why Pay for Research When You Can Do it for Free?
You can only get so far in your research with free websites, say experts. And most free sites don’t give you the advanced tools you get with Ancestry.com. Yes, free online genealogy websites help get you started, but statistics show that paid sites can take you the distance. GenealogyInTime Magazine conducted a study of the top 100 genealogy websites and found that website traffic for paid services accounted for 56% of all traffic, compared to 44% for free sites. If you’re serious about tracking down your ancestry and want to do it right, Ancestry.com is an excellent choice.
Finding Long Lost Relatives
The following video tells an amazing story of what one family found using genealogical research on Ancestry.
Other Ways to Trace Your Roots
Ancestry.com is one of several similar websites that can help you research historical records and make connections with potential relatives. See how Ancestry.com stacks up against its competition in our best genealogy website reviews. Another excellent way to discover your heritage is by taking an at-home DNA test, which can shed light on your ethnicity and tell you who you share DNA with in their database. Be sure to check out our in-depth AncestryDNA review and our comparison article where we review several of the best DNA ancestry tests on the market.
Have you uncovered any family mysteries using Ancestry.com or other genealogy tools?
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