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Is one Family History site any better than another?

(40 Posts)
Alima Fri 13-Nov-15 09:17:41

I am about to pick up on my family history delving after over 10 years. There are far more records on line nowadays, used to spend days visiting local history libraries. The thing is, which site to subscribe to? My interest will be mostly in parish records and newspaper archives. They all seem to do the census records. Should I go for Ancestry, FMP, or Genes Reunited or are they pretty much the same do you think?

mollie Fri 13-Nov-15 09:41:56

I generally use Ancestry but have used the others in the past. I suspect I opt for Ancestry out of habit and I like the layout. My experience is they all have their good points and their quirks. My bugbear is transcription, it can vary from site to site so if you don't find someone you know should be found then consider trying another site. Ancestry had a family of Green down as Grun and Lee as See but I only picked this up when I tried on FMP. Good luck.

Anniebach Fri 13-Nov-15 10:15:42

I use Ancestry and FMP, also family search , this has a link to FMP to see original records but only if you subscribe to FMP

Alima Sat 14-Nov-15 21:00:10

I think I may be getting the hang of GN at last. Having discovered this thread has duplicated others on here I have gone through to get hints and tips which have proved very useful. I had a delve into My Heritage tonight, it is brilliant. Brought up a load of names already on someone's tree that I already have as the families are connected. However, I think someone has kidnapped my maternal grandmother. Will be spending Sunday scouring the documents I have in my possession to bring her back to her rightful place in our family tree. Has anyone else had a fight on their hands to claim their ancestors?

MaizieD Sun 15-Nov-15 17:43:48

So, can you more knowledgable people tell me just what family history sites there are on line?

I've been doing a tree on Ancestry off and on for the last few years and I know about Find My Past. Family Search has been useful up to a point and so has the Free BMD site, but I've never heard of My Heritage. What other sites might I be missing?

And how much can you find without having to subscribe?

Ginny42 Tue 26-Jan-16 21:13:19

'Family Search' is free and owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I use it a lot and it's a good place to start I think. You can begin to build up your tree there.

I subscribe to Find my Past and where my main tree is stored with photographs and other documentation. It works out quite expensive, but it's my hobby and I enjoy exploring the lives of my ancestors. You will be able to find a certain amount of information and then you'll reach a file with a lock! In order to probe deeper, you'll have to pay. One night after weeks of searching and turning back when I reached the lock symbol, I reached for my credit card and there they all were - my family.

There is an but I chose .com because most of my ancestors, with the exception of my great grandfather, emigrated to the US/Australia.

Tonight I'm working with all three open and cross-referencing.

A good place to start is Cyndi's List where a very wide range of sites are listed.

Internet is an amazing tool for finding who you really are. Top tip: if you have someone with an unusual name follow them!

I hope you enjoy finding out about your family and wish you every success. I found many cousins we didn't know we had and now family on both sides of the Atlantic are in touch and meet up whenever we can. Good luck!

mrsmopp Wed 30-Mar-16 13:31:22

I have used the genealogist site and they have a users forum which is very useful as there are some very knowledgeable researchers on there ready to help out if you hit a brick wall. I've had lots of help from them - they went to a lot of trouble when I got stuck.
Family search came up trumps finding my relatives who went to South Africa - I found all their BMD records there. Also it has the bonus of being free!

Badenkate Wed 30-Mar-16 13:59:36

FutureLearn is running a course on family history at the moment if anyone is interested. You can still join and start at the beginning and it's free.

Pittcity Wed 30-Mar-16 15:10:22

Essex libraries offer Ancestry and Find My Past free on their computers. Do other areas do the same?

Badenkate Wed 30-Mar-16 18:33:45

Shropshire do. Shrewsbury has volunteers in the Archive library in the mornings when they're open to give help

pompa Wed 30-Mar-16 19:38:52

WE have used Find My Past and Ancestry. We find Ancestry much the best, more accurate,more comprehensive and the tree system provides more cross references with others trees.
Word of warning about both, they will automatically renew unles you email or phone to stop it.

If you are only just starting, the free databases will enable you to find a lot without paying.

Also have a look at the free version of Legacy, it will do everything that Family Tree Maker does, but free.

mrsmopp Mon 11-Apr-16 17:18:30

Pompa, is legacy an American site? I may have the same problem I had with Ancestry, which kept linking me with people in USA with the hints they sent me.
I have no contacts at all in the States, so it got a bit annoying sometmes.

Treebee Mon 11-Apr-16 21:57:56

I've subscribed to Find My Past and find it easy to use . FMP and Ancestry are basically the same databases so take your pick.
I can also recommend the FutureLearn course which is teaching me so much.

Leticia Mon 11-Apr-16 22:19:02

I am changing over to Find My Past. I like Ancestry but when I stopped subscribing so that I could write it all up I was shocked to find that I couldn't access all the things that I had paid for which seems most unfair. On FMP you can still see things that you have already seen as a member.

sarahc446655 Wed 18-May-16 11:23:03

Get a geneologist from they are the best and can get the all important documents to proove your ancestors. They also charge by the hour.
National Archives are a must.

SwimHome Wed 18-May-16 11:37:26

Don't forget local family history societies if your family has been centred on one area for many years. Ours is excellent and there are always members willing to give advice/help or even search alongside you until you've got underway. Often they have their own BMD files and Parish Registers on CD for you to explore. If someone else in another branch of your family is also researching it may be worth using the same software so that you can pool results. There are amazing discoveries to be made out there, for example we even found a relative who 'went missing' over a hundred years ago - they had done a runner to the USA but we'd never have known otherwise.

sarahc446655 Wed 18-May-16 11:41:19

I would like to take this opportunity to warn people about this current fashion for having your DNA analyzed to establish your ancestry. We can all acknowledge the result of being given in-accurate information, with out knowing if the people doing the test are actually qualified. (Ancestry is big on this at the moment pushing special offers all the time.)
I think the safest bet is through someone at a university department - where the test for this was first created.

mrsmopp Fri 20-May-16 17:56:28

Sarah, that Agra link just takes you to a site about setting up a domain name - is there an error in the link? I would like to ask a genealogist to trace my grandmothers background as in one of the censuses states that she is adopted.
I had her DOB and sent for a birth cert and the reply was that she wasn't born on the day we had. So I cannot find her. I can't solve this on my own.

Elegran Fri 20-May-16 18:12:54

Iif you think that you have her correct name and her approximate DOB within a few years, youmight find her yourself by searching on That would get you the quarter of the year, and the reference for the certificate. Then you can send for a certificate using that reference.

Of course, if she was adopted her new parents may have given her a new birthday - perhaps the day of her adoption. Perhaps a new name too!

mrsmopp Fri 20-May-16 23:15:33

I agree Elegran. It's a minefield. Her year of birth varies with each census then I found her at an address I knew was right in the 1939 census, and applied for a cert quoting the DOB on the 1939 census - it came back no trace. Her surname was Jones in Wales, so a BMD search gives too many results, then her birth name may not even be Jones! Talk about a needle in a haystack......
Dear Gran, who are you??

Pittcity Sat 21-May-16 08:01:31

mrsmopp I found a Jones in Wales by putting all I knew (not much) on as many genealogy forums as I could find via Google. Turns out the man in question's family were researching too and got in touch.
Worth trying?

Elegran Sat 21-May-16 09:42:59

Genes reunited is good for that. You do have to check the facts that some people post, though. Not all of them are accurate, and people tend to latch onto things and accept them and pass them on as correct.

mrsmopp Sat 21-May-16 17:12:51

Thanks for the tip! I will try that, so wish me luck. Fingers crossed....

Loiria Thu 09-Feb-17 15:19:18

Yes, Surrey library at Farnham offers findmypast free. Maybe other Surrey libraries, too. Try:- to check on yours.

ninathenana Thu 09-Feb-17 17:37:26

Despite entering exact names and d.o.b. and sometimes d.o.d I have never found any of my relatives on any site. Including my parents or grandparents. It just says no results found