Over 50s- How to make choosing genealogy sites less laborious

With the advent of the internet and the abundance of opportunities it offers, it’s no wonder genealogy research is on the rise. TV programmes such as the BBCs Who Do You Think You Are? (Where celebrities trace their ancestry, discovering secrets and surprises from their past) have helped in spiking our interest in our own families and where we descend from.


So where do you begin?
If you type a search for genealogy into Google, it’ll generate millions of results! The first few on each page will most probably be paid for results, adverts in effect; these adverts are for companies offering a service with some form of subscription or payment-generating another question’ to pay or not to pay’?

Free services may assist greatly, however access to certificates and census returns requires investing some money, a way to approach it may be to look into what each free service can and cannot provide bearing in mind that most genealogy sites offer either a free trial period or free membership.Pretty much all the geneology websites offer “free” birth, marriage and death records, however certificates should incur a charge:

Free UK Genealogy www.freeukgenealogy.org.uk an ongoing project, the aim of which is to transcribe public records from governmental sources, parish churches, and other trusted institutions. Their sister sites: www.freecen.org.uk & www.freereg.org.uk check 1800s Census data and search parish registers respectively.

Family Search https://familysearch.org The biggest genealogy organisation in the world provided by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.The service collates records worldwide making it one of the internet’s busiest genealogy websites.


If, after exploring the free options you opt for a subscription website, you’ll find quite a few options open to you. Genealogy essentially being about birth, marriage and death you’ll require a site offering the widest and most detailed transcripts of these records. Essential too,detail to whether you can access these records directly or if alternatively you’re directed to the necessary resource.

Records may be presented in a digitised format or you may have to access documents and create your own copies. The genealogy sites offer user friendly systems and software to create, and save your family tree. Exploring the market leaders, the format and presentation is remarkably comfortable to use and instructions have a clarity not found on earlier versions of these types of sites.

Here are a few suggestions (further free and subscription sites are available)

ancestry.co.uk www.ancestry.co.uk
Offering a free 14 day trail (please note many of the free subscriptions have to be cancelled if you do not wish to incur subscription charges, once the trial period has ended), ancestry.co.uk is the largest of these sites in the UK. Pricing and subscription levels are easy to find and quite transparent. Offered are a ‘pay as you go’ option plus several levels of memberships ranging from (prices correct as we go to press)
Essentials membership
UK census records
Birth, marriage and death indexes
Easy Tree Builder
£10.99 per month or an annual offer at £95.99
Premium membership
Parish records 1538-1980
Military service records
Census, birth, marriage & death records
Plus all our other UK records!
£13.99 per month or an annual offer at £119.99
Worldwide membership
Worldwide emigration records
Overseas vital records
More than 1 billion UK records
Plus all our other records
£19.99 per month or an annual offer at £179.99

findmypast.co.uk www.findmypast.co.uk
The site offers full UK census records and birth, marriage and death records dating from 1761 for a membership fee. The website is clear and concise, they also cite they have ‘The largest online collection of parish records, going all the way back to the 1500s’
£9.95 a month for the ‘Britain’ membership- £119.95 for a year (1939 Register Included)*
£12.95 a month for the ‘Britain’ membership- £155.95 for a year (1939 Register Included)

genesreunited.co.uk www.genesreunited.co.uk
Genes Reunited, originally known as Genes Connected, is a sister site to the former Friends Reunited, one of the UK’s largest genealogy websites, with over 13 million members and over 780 million names listed. Here you have a trial option too, subscription or alternatively a pay as you go credits system:
50 credits £4.95
Credits are valid for 30 days
View records on a pay-as-you-go basis
Send messages on a pay-as-you-go basis
Unlimited access to the records you have viewed for 30 days
200 credits £17.95
Credits are valid for 90 days
View records on a pay-as-you-go basis
Send messages on a pay-as-you-go basis
Unlimited access to the records you have viewed for 90 days

thegenealogist.co.uk www.thegenealogist.co.uk
As with the other sites, extremely user friendly and easy to navigate thegenealogist.co.uk holds an impressive 1,100 English parish register transcripts, enabling you to potentially take your family tree back as far as 1538.
Births, Marriages and Deaths including 1837-2005 and Overseas records
Complete 1841-1911 Census for England & Wales
Largest online collection of Non-Conformist Records
Parish Record
Wills, Probates and Testaments
Military Records
International Records
School, College & University Registers
A 14 day free trial is available with an upgrade to an annual subscription available at £119.45

picture1The Who Do You Think You Are magazine graphic

* http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/1939-register/
Finally,please remember that searching family members can be a time consuming process and often the leads may turn out to be dead ends (no pun intended!) Prices are correct on publication, terms & conditions will probably apply-please check with the respective websites for information.

Other useful resources include:
HM Passport Office www.gro.gov.uk/gro
The National Archives www.nationalarchives.gov.uk
Scotlands People www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk
UK Genealogy Archives http://ukga.org/


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