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Ancestry Review (www.ancestry.com)

Ancestry Review (www.ancestry.com)

To be kind, I am going to conclude at the beginning and say that you should try the Ancestry to see what you think of it. During the free trial, you should dig up as much information as you can and when you are finished you should cancel your subscription. I wouldn’t recommend using the paid service because I think it is too expensive for what is essentially a great (but slightly unreliable) records service. If you are happy with the service and you would like to keep using it, and/or you feel like you are getting good value for your money, then by all means you should allow your free trial to run its course, at which point they will start charging you their monthly fee. I say the service is good, but it is expensive.

What Does Ancestry Do?

Ancestry is a website that allows you to look into your family tree using the records they have stored. There are records from things such as census takers, and immigration records. There are also records that are old and have been scanned into their system where you have to read them manually. The website also contains information from other Ancestry members who have added things over time. The website gives you access to possible information about your family tree. As an unbiased researcher, you do have to take what they have on record with a pinch of skepticism because the Ancestry website database does contain errors here and there. Plus, it may push you down the incorrect path because of incorrect information that another person has added, or because a certain father or mother was not correctly entered within previous records.

Steps showing how the Ancestry website works

Ancestry – Pros

  • Ancestry has billions of records that date back to as far as the turn of the millennium. The company itself is partially to blame, but some of the best contributors are regular people who are updating their records for the benefit of future generations.
  • The company owns a very extensive collection of immigration records, which means in some cases people are able to track their bloodline right back to the time when their ancestors first entered their country.
  • The fact that people are able to record things onto their family tree is quite a benefit. It is more good than bad, in my opinion, but I am aware that some people may use false information to alter their family tree.
  • There are multiple research tools, there is a massive database of information, and you are given access to a large amount of well-indexed data.
  • You do get a free trial that allows you to see if the website works for you. I feel that this is very important because there are going to be some people who use the website and have very little to learn. There are others who will use the website and consider it too complicated or labor intensive to warrant their time. Plus, some people may feel that the family-tree-building process is too slow and they do not want to spend their money on a subscription as a result.

Funny family tree with family sat on a tree branch

Ancestry – Cons

  • What is with the price of Ancestry? Are they going to kiss me too for that price? They want $19.99 per month for a monthly subscription? Who do they think my ancestors are? Millionaires? Dukes? Kennedys? Plus, on their purchase screen they have the cheek to call their 6-month $99 subscription a “Best Value” deal. I think Ancestry is a great website and is brilliant for people in the US who are looking into their bloodline past, but I wouldn’t pay $20 to see how many nuts and fruits are in my family tree.
  • Conducting research and building your family tree takes a very long time. It takes a lot of research and work. This may not be the website’s fault directly, but I have to wonder how quick they could make it. After all, it is probably in their interest to make the process as long and difficult as possible so that people have to subscribe for longer.
  • Some of the search results are awful. Despite the fact that the company has done a lot to index things such as census reports, they have done a poor job with other types of records. Many times, people have to search through scanned documents manually. What is annoying is that if you complain about their search engines, they just send you back an instruction article on how to use them,(as if we have never used search engines before).
  • Getting the free trial is very easy, but getting them to cancel your account so you are not charged is very difficult. They do the same thing that companies such as Experian do where they sucker you in with a free trial and then make it so difficult to close your account that you end up paying for a month or two before you are able to sort it all out.
  • There are some respected historians who claim that this website and others like it have very poor practices for historic record keeping that focus more on pleasing the crowd and less on accuracy.
  • As you may expect, calling the customer support line to cancel your account is tricky because they resist you. It is a good idea to make sure your bank refuses payment if they try to take money from your account when your free trial is over. You have to enter your bank account details or credit card details prior to them giving you a free trial.

Terrible customer service image of homer with wiggum

Are You 50% Victim?

One of the things I do not like about these types of website, besides the price, is that they encourage people to look back into their family tree to see if they have an excuse to be a victim. People discover that their ancestors were a black mix, or were Kurdish, or whatever, and then they go around feeling proud that they are part of a victimized minority. Suddenly, people have a reason to feel like a victim, which is just plain wrong. It reminds me of the advert on South Park where DNA & Me helped people find out how much of a victim they were.

DNA and Me advert on South Park tv screen

Come on America, you used to be a proud people, stop relishing the fact that you may be a victim of one sort or another. You make your own luck in this world.

Conclusion?

As I said in the introduction, the service is pretty good with regards to how much information they have in their records. The only issues I have with the Ancestry is that they charge too much, and they pull the old free trial that-is-difficult-to-get-out-of trick. Also, don’t try their DNA testing thing because it is crap.

About The Author

Ash The Great

After a varied career in different industries from the hospitality industry to the financial consultancy industry, Ash now spends his days working as a professional writer.

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