Will Ancestry.com Really Help Me Trace Family History?

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Does Ancestry.com really work?The Ancestry.com commercials on TV make it seem that if you use their website you’ll likely find that you’re related to some amazing person long since passed. So does this really work, or will you be left wondering why you had to use your credit card to find out your ancestors were a bunch of lame-os?

Overview
Genealogy is a growing hobby as more and more baby boomers are retiring and finding things to fill the void that their job once did. For some, delving into the family history is a hobby and a fun way to find out where you’ve come from. In some rare instance it’s found that people’s families have a checkered or glorious history. in most cases though things are a little less glamorous and a little more yawn inducing.

The Claim
Ancestry.com is good at not making big bold claims for their service. They simply plant the idea that if you start searching your family records you’ll stumble on an interesting factoid or two that you can bring up at the next cocktail party. It isn’t very dubious, but it is slightly exaggerated, as the average user will find nothing of any real value, and only an exceptional user will find they have an exceptional family history.

The Hype
The hype comes in the form of the commercials they run showing people learning seemingly interesting things about their ancestors.

They do push the limits on what is considered interesting. One customer they showcase looked up his family and found out they lived next door to the Wright Brothers. It’s doubtful that in 100 years people will feel giddy that their ancestors lived next to Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg.

The Cost
If you want to delve deep into your family history it’ll cost you. Ancestry.com usually runs a two-week limited access free trial and this is the time you should take advantage and use it to find the info you’ve been wanting to get. They try to save the juicy bits or the older stuff for their paid memberships.

They want a whopping $146 per year for full access. This is rather alarming for records that are available at public libraries and other databases with a little hunting. If you’d rather have it spoon-fed to you in one place you could pay the price and knock yourself out.

The Commitment
You have to do the digging, Ancestry.com just provides the information. It’s up to you to go exploring and follow the trail through your family tree. This could entail hours and hours of searching, but if genealogy is a hobby of your this will be something that you don’t mind doing.

User Feedback
Those that have tried Ancestry.com have reported that it does a good job of compiling information from many different sources and presenting it all in one place. There is a preference shown for Ancestry.com over other similar services like Genealogy.com.

It does seem like Ancestry.com is better funded than their competitors, and perhaps this leads to more data being gathered and a friendlier user interface. These would combine for a better user experience and help it to gain status as the de facto place to search family histories.

Does Ancestry.com Really Work?

Ancestry.com doesn’t do anything ingenious or remarkable, it’s just a storehouse for information that is readily available for anyone to obtain. It “works” because it provides things like census data and other public records for those that are wishing to search for this kind of thing. Some people might think that it constructs your family tree for you by just entering your name.

It does not do the research for you, it merely puts the information at your fingertips and allows you to construct and save your family tree online.

Our Recommendation
If exploring your family history is something that brings you a lot of joy and satisfaction, and you don’t mind spending money to have public domain data presented to you, Ancestry.com is one of a few options available to you.

Official Website: Ancestry

What do you think? Does Ancestry.com really work?

67 Customer Reviews on “Will Ancestry.com Really Help Me Trace Family History?

  1. I am usually the master of research. So when I decided to try Ancestry.com I thought,”Whoo, can’t wait to find out who I am.” What did I discover?! …….Absolutely nothing. All it did was take me in a circle as if my father is the only one with his name and he suddenly appeared out of thin air. No grandparents, no nothing! So disappointing. Left me with more questions than when I started. Huge waste of my time and hope.

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