Brightsolid to Launch 1st Pay-As-You-Go Census Records Site

Brightsolid to Launch 1st Pay-As-You-Go Census Records Site

Remember how British genealogy company brightsolid was poised to announce plans to launch a new product for the US market? Here it is: Brightsolid just announced a new pay-as-you-go site for US census records, 1790 to 1930, plus 1940 when it's released later this year. It'll be called CensusRecords.com...

Remember how British genealogy company brightsolid was poised to announce plans to launch a new product for the US market? Here it is:

Brightsolid just announced a new pay-as-you-go site for US census records, 1790 to 1930, plus 1940 when it’s released later this year. It’ll be called CensusRecords.com, and is already live as as an early beta version that invites user feedback.

This is the first site that will let you search for your ancestors in the cnesus, then purchase the record with their names—a model that’ll potentially make census research more affordable and accessible to those who don’t want to commit to a genealogy website subscription.

No doubt brightsolid hopes—I know I do, too—that the pay-as-you-go service will lure casual researchers to get more involved in family history research.

Censusrecords.com visitors will be able to search for free. To view documents and download them to their computer, they can subscribe or buy pay-as-you-go credits, which start at $7.95 for 1,000 credits (good for 60 days).

Pay-as-you-go costs could add up if you’re not sure you’ve found your ancestor and have to check a bunch of records, but if you’re sure you’ve found the right folks, this could be your most cost-effective approach.

With the confluence of several factors—a growing interest in family history, economic concerns, anticipation for the 1940 census, and “Who Do You Think You Are?” showing genealogy to the masses—Censusrecords.com is poised to be a big hit. What do you think? (Hit Comments below to share your thoughts.)


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  1. I’m unsure if this model is a good buy for the casual user who is only interested in census records.

    Assuming you don’t live in an area with free access to Ancestry at your local library …

    If you have more census records than you can search for and download in a 14-day free trial at Ancestry, then you’re going to probably be spending more money by the pay-as-you-go method.

  2. $8 to download "a" census page? Seems ill-fated when you can access the same info for free at many libraries, or for not a ton more, subscribe to a pay site with unlimited access so if you’re not sure you’ve got the right person, so can keep looking…or if you make a discovery in the census record, you don’t have to spend another $8 to get the next generation back.

    Maybe I’m reading that wrong, and the $8 gives you more than 1 census record at a time? I certainly hope so. If not, it sounds like an example of a foreign company with very little understanding of the American marketplace.

  3. Hi, Scott,
    To clarify, the pay-as-you credits start at $7.95. I did some digging on the site and found that you get 1,000 credits for $7.95 (I’ll add this detail to the post), and they’re good for 60 days. I couldn’t find information on how many credits it costs to view a record. Records are still being added and the site is still in development.
    I hope this helps.
    Diane

  4. Why does this company think it will make money on the census, when you can get the census information for free on Heritiage Quest, and on Ansestry Library. Why would you want to pay for it when copies can be made of the information for ten cents? FamilySearch will be puting out free access to the 1940 cencus and it will be for free on the National Archives site.

  5. Patricia Spindle Beyer

    I agree with Patricia Skubis. I can view Census records on Ancestry.com by subscribing to the site and then can use it every day all day long. Sounds kind of silly to me. If they are going to charge for this census, then charge fo it. None of this silly credits thing.

  6. I whole heartedly agree with Patricia Skubis. I am a member of HQRL and have been accessing the Census records for several years through my local library.
    It does sound as though they are using the ScotlandsPeople model for credits and payments. There you can get 30 credits for £6 and they are usually used up before they expire.

    Jo-Anne Smith Huber

  7. Brightsolid had this model for the 1911 UK census when it was the only way to get access to it (before it went on to their subscription site Findmypast). The cost ended up being exhorbitant – just the same as it to use the Scotland’s People site (which had the model under previous controllers but it now also controlled by Brightsolid).

    If you can wait until the 1940 census goes to a free or subscription site instead of PAYG, then I encourage you all to do so.

    Maureen