Thanks to a marketing blitz on TV and the Internet, just about everyone’s heard of the subscription genealogy records service Ancestry.com. The company started as a small publisher in 1983, and as it expanded, redubbed itself MyFamily.com, with Ancestry.com as its primary product. Now it’s The Generations Network, and properties include Ancestry.com , Ancestry.ca, Ancestry.co.uk, several other international sites, Genealogy.com, MyFamily.com, RootsWeb and Family Tree Maker software.
Ancestry.com has three membership levels, with the free basic registration (click Community and Create Your Free Profile) entitling you to post a family tree, create a photo book and join its online forums.
Access the eight main areas of Ancestry.com via the navigation bar on every page. Except for the record search, all these features are available with a free registration.
The Learning Center has several subsections: Get Started offers simplified beginning steps and research forms; Find Answers has videos and tips on using the records in Ancestry.com; Build a Tree explains how to create a family tree on Ancestry.com; Join the Community introduces you to the site’s member profiles, blogs and message boards; Discover More touts various aspects of Ancestry.com; and Keep Learning links to experts’ genealogy advice.
If your Ancestry.com searches are unsuccessful, try these strategies:
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• US Deluxe Membership (includes all Ancestry.com content): $155.40 annually, $50.85 for three months, $19.95 monthly
• World Deluxe Membership (includes content on Ancestry.com, Ancestry.ca, Ancestry.co.uk, and other worldwide sites): $299.40 annually, $83.85 for three months, $29.95 monthly
• Paying subscribers: 850,000
• Content: 26,000 databases with more than 7 billion indexed names
• all available US census records; many Canadian, England and Wales censuses
• US border-crossing records and microfilmed passenger arrival lists
• military records including Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWI and WWII databases
• vital-records indexes from various US states, Canada and the United Kingdom
• 20,000 digitized family and local history books; city directories and yearbooks
• newspapers dating back to the 1700s
• 8 million user-contributed family trees
1983: Founded as Ancestry, a small publishing company
1997: Paul Allen and Dan Taggart buy Ancestry, launch MyFamily.com
2000: MyFamily.com buys RootsWeb
2003: MyFamily.com acquires Genealogy.com and Family Tree Maker
2004: MyFamily.com licenses Ancestry Library Edition to ProQuest
2006: MyFamily.com becomes The Generations Network (TGN)
2007: TGN acquires Relative Genetics
2008: TGN debuts World Archives Project