Friday, December 12, 2014

Ancestry vs Family search: Do you get what you pay for?

I can't imagine how far I would be in my tree if it weren't for Ancestry.com

I started working on my family tree through Ancestry.com in March of 2006.  I couldn't wait to find a new record with my grandparents name on it or a new person my mother had never heard of that was our ancestor.  It was fun!  I went from record to record, discovering new secrets about my family & had no idea how big of a "project" it would turn into.

One day, a person I'd never met before answered a query I'd posted on Ancestry.  The email helped me find the maiden name of one of my ancestors & introduced me to Familysearch.org.

I couldn't believe I'd never heard of this site.  I was amazed to find that finding records on Familysearch was easier than Ancestry.  I started using Familysearch to locate certain records & then I would go back to Ancestry to save the record to my tree.  It was a long & exhausting process, but eventually, I developed a tree on Familysearch.  That was not as easy as the tree I created on Ancestry.  

Familysearch has a tough time recognizing step-parents in your tree.  Needless to say that's a problem for me, since a large majority of my family has married multiple times.  

So which one is better?

To me, Ancestry is worth it.  I love the new information they provide, almost daily. 

I've learned so much through the YouTube video they produces monthly.  Crista Cowan, the barefoot genealogist is a genius to me.  She definitely has the coolest job on the face of this earth.   I don't feel like a beginner, but if I were, she would be the perfect person to walk me through how to create the most accurate tree.  Had I watched some of her videos in '06, I wouldn't have the genealogical mess that I have now.  

There are certain areas of Ancestry that are free to view, but for $20 a month, I get more than just access to my tree & family I've connected with.  I also get access to help.  Which is what I need.  I can't tell you the number of times I've found help in their learning center or answered a question on their help page.  

However, Familysearch has a better look.  I love how my tree looks in their fan view.  It's so colorful & spread out.  It would make a great picture to put on the wall, but that's about it.  Adding new information to your tree is a chore sometimes.  I've given up more than once.  I'm trying to learn more about how to use the site, but it's not a priority.  I would rather use a site that is easy to navigate through, than a site that I have to learn to use.  It's just that simple.

Which site do you use to do your research?