Best Genealogy Site on the Web
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Best Genealogy Site on the Web

In this report
I am taking a look at three popular genealogy companies who market their services through the internet. These websites have become very popular with many people who are trying to trace their backgrounds. Using modern devices such as databases and computer applications, it is now fairly simple to find a relative's marriage license or military record. For those who have never seen their grandparent's signature, this is quite something. If you have ever thought about looking into your background, with the availability of these companies, it has become quite simple to do. If you have children or nieces or nephews, they will ask you for all these information at some point.
#1 - Ancestry.com   http://www.ancestry.com
Ancestry.com has more records available than any other website. Besides the usual records consisting of military service records, birth records, death records, and Social Security records, they also have an detailed photo collection. While the chances of finding a relative in some of these records are most likely low, if you had relatives involved in a historic event the odds go up considerably. For my self, I was able to find my grandfather's death certificate, a list of the students in my father's class at school, newspaper articles on my sister's career in softball, and the marriage certificate of my grandparents. There is also a world subscription which I do not subscribe to, that allows you to view records from foreign countries. Having examined this area during one of the periodic free trial periods for members, to really benefit from it you need to read the language of the home country very well, or have access to a good translator program. This company offers a 14-day free trial period. This goes by fast, so if you want to cancel, you need to keep this in mind. Even if you can only afford to sign up for a few months, the site will keep the information you entered about your family. This allows you to pick it up later on, and update any changes. I pay for them monthly, but so far I have found some unique reasons to keep the subscription intact. If you can afford a six month plan, the cost per month is cheaper. Current costs are around 22.95 per month, which reduces down to $15 per month with a longer subscription. Ancestry does not have some common genealogy records; some are not available to them since belong to other companies or agencies that will not allow them access. Still, if you want the most records at one time in one place, Ancestry.com is still the place to go.
#2 - World Vital Records   http://www.WorldVitalRecords.com
This company started out as a publishing company. Located in Provo, Utah, it started out specializing in family backgrounds of Mormon families. This database has grown considerably, and if you have someone of the Mormon religion in your background, you will find a great deal of information here. Even for those who are non-Mormons, the site offers some extensive background on those listed in their database. One item they have is pictures of numerous grave sites from all over the country. While there are some sites that deal with the graves of famous people, this site has a large collection of just regular folks. The site also features collections of historic maps of towns and cities. This company was bought by Heritage.com, a genealogy company that has picked up several companies that collect background information. Heritage is using these websites to push its family tree software. This site does have some information not available on Ancestry.com. It is definitely worth looking up family members for information. I was not able to find mine, but that tends to be typical for my name, which is really only prominent in one part of the country. Unfortunately, you have to build another family tree on each site that you choose, and a separate one for each person. If you come from a large family, as I do, this becomes very time consuming and repetitive. On the whole, this site is easy to use, and offers some unique features not available on other sites.
#3 - One Great Family   http://www.OneGreatFamily.com
This site charges about the same as worldvitalrecords.com; less, if they offer you a special price. This company features software to combine family trees together. They want to create one big family tree. While they offer the ability to combine trees (yay), they do not seem to offer anything else that is very special or different. I think the goal here is to relate all of humanity eventually to each other. This is a unique perspective. For myself, I was unable to find much information. The system told me that the family had produced about 13 people since 1900 or so. Considering my dad had 8 brothers and sisters that lived to adulthood, clearly my family has not been prominent in the geneology area. My husband's name turned out considerably more names, but no where near the ten thousand ancestors boasted about on the home page. And, as a geneology site, they do not seem to have as many detailed records as other sites. Again, I would do a cursory look into your surnames, and see what appears. If it looks like new and different data, then go for it. If you have the time and money, it might be fun to list your relatives in the world tree for everyone else to be able to use. Unfortunately, many records before say 1400 or so are a bit murky, unless you descended from noble blood. But, who knows. Maybe someday we or one of our descendants will be able to make the connection back to our Adam and Eve.
The Bottom Line
Overall, I found that Ancestry had the most data files about genealogy. They also had the most extensive photo files available to access. They were more costly than the other sites I reviewed, but overall I found them to be the best for someone looking into their background. It is a problem that Ancestry wants a separate family tree for each person; it would be wonderful if they would link this altogether for their customers. World Vital Records has some records that are only available on this site. If you feel that Ancestry is not doing enough for you, or you have a Mormon background, this site could also be quite helpful. It is also cheaper than Ancestry, but has less information. One Great Family is fairly cheap, but it has the least information available to the user. It does take all the family trees and connect them into one. This is useful if you have a large family, or you are looking for unknown ancestors. But, unless someone has entered data into the tree from your family, you may not find anything here at all. It might be fun, though, to add your family connections to the One Great Family tree this company seems to want to build. Of course, if you like your privacy, maybe not.
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Comments (2)

Good review info on geneology companies. Thank you Theresa. Hope to be in your friendship and support

Valuable post and nicely composed, too.  Thanks for the information.

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