is the world’s premier genealogical library online. It’s hard to be involved in this hobby and not to have heard of them. In part, that’s because they now have well over 20 billion records that include cornerstones of genealogy research, ie: Complete US Census records (including the 1940 census), Vital Records (birth, marriage, death, court, land and will), Military, Newspapers, Photos, Maps/Gazeteers and Immigration Records, all fully indexed. Unlike free sites like, these indexes often link to the actual first hand records.

Ancestry is a good place to co-ordinate family tree development with other family members. You start your tree with you or your child’s name and others can add to this tree. If their information varies from yours, it’s differences will be saved as an alternate take. This is a big plus because it’s so simple. If you are new to family history research, Ancestry will guide you through the process.  Before you know it you are likely to have a significant family tree. The viewer should be aware that any family trees on any research site submitted by amateur genealogists, is 2nd hand information and should only be taken as a guide for further research. Ancestry is working to improve this by enabling family members to link original first hand sources that support their research on their submitted trees. We are seeing increased accuracy in their family databases because of this.

Ancestry has wonderful advantages. Their database is so large, you are likely to get many matches to any individual being researched.  They will give you your best matches first.  Even better, they have a new feature that has tabs showing you all first hand record matches for the person you are researching on one handy screen.  If you should choose to participate in their DNA project, they have the largest one by far with over 2 million participants.  This will help you find persons with common ancestors back about 5 or 6 generations typically on your mother’s and father’s side.

Ancestry’s vast library comes with a price. There are multiple ways around this. 1) I have a friend who signs up for this for 3 months every winter when she has the most time. 2) Ancestry has many different subscription levels. You can zero in on one aspect of your research at a time. Maybe you want to focus on just your British Isles families. At that point in time you can simply hold the British Isles subscription. In other words, you stay in control of your budget by picking and choosing what you want to research during any given month. If you can afford it all, how wonderful!

They have a 14 day free trial to get you started. I’d also recommend taking free webinars and viewing online instruction to take full advantage of their site.  In reality, Ancestry had the foresight to see how big this field could be and they are continuing to give great value to their subscribers.   The bottom line is if you can only afford to have a membership on one genealogy research site, it should be



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About Linda Coate

I've been an avid genealogist for my lifetime. I caught the "bug" from my father's stories about my ancestor, Marmaduke Coate, who bought his wife from the Indians for a horse, bridle and saddle. As a librarian, I'm combining these two interest areas to guide the family historian to the best on the net in genealogy. So that you know my background, I have been interviewed multiple times by radio stations across the country and have been the guest speaker at various Genealogy Society meetings including Franklin County, Ohio on Genealogy Software Programs and Online Genealogy. My extensive family tree, a labor of love for over 30 years is at Maybe we are related!
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