5 Reasons I’m Letting My Ancestry.com Subscription Run Out

Surprise! The Ancestry.com subscription cost isn’t the only–or even the main–factor.

cost of ancesty.com (and other factors when thinking about a subscription)

The decision to let my Ancestry.com subscription go just kills me. I’ve been a happy customer for years, and I don’t have one complaint. Still, I have my reasons, and it’s not just about the price tag.

1. Free Library Access for the Win!

I’ll admit, this wouldn’t have worked at all when I first started searching Ancestry. Those early finding-sprees lasted for days, and I accumulated many folders like this one:

A few of my genealogy discoveries from my Ancestry.com subscription. Well worth the price.

The real cost of Ancestry.com? File storage space! (Kidding…mostly.)

Eventually, the initial flurry slowed. Since I no longer need Ancestry every day, or even every week, it’s smarter to access it from my local library system. Your mileage may vary, but if you’re not a daily researcher, it’s worthwhile to find out what is available to you locally.

True, that means carving out the time and making a research plan, but it combats another problem. Continuous access to Ancestry hampered my growth as an amateur genealogist. To put it bluntly, I’ve gotten lazy. Time limits and specific research questions impose discipline on my chaotic methodology!

And speaking of which…

2. I Should Probably Organize What I Already Have.

Confession time: I find joy in the discovery—not so much the organizational side of things. Add in my way of always juggling multiple projects, and presto! I never get around to filing, indexing, or tagging like I should. Those aforementioned folders lose their charm when I’m struggling to locate some missing tidbit for a blog post.

The thrill of the hunt is undeniable, but before I continue, I need to establish some rules and conventions to make it all more manageable.

Of course, when the time comes to resume the search…

3. Ancestry is not the only game in town.

Is Ancestry the best genealogy subscription site? Well, it depends. They certainly have a brag-worthy collection of databases… but what are billions of pages on Ancestry if FamilySearch or GenealogyBank has the one record you need? I mean, I searched years for a certain obituary, and finally found it during a FindMyPast free weekend promotion!

Look for web resources specific to your needs. I love fultonhistory.com and its massive collection of New York State newspapers. There are rich, active GenWeb sites for some of the counties key to my research. One commenter below touted NEHGS. And how about RootsIreland.ie? All these niche sites, free and subscription, are waiting to be accessed!

4. Have Questions, Will Travel.

You can’t necessarily do everything on the ol’ computer.

As regular readers know, my debut novel, Whispers in the Branches, released in 2015. I sometimes call it my genealogy-inspired love letter to my family, and Ancestry.com seeded plot ideas and simplified my research.

However, my new novel demanded a 600 mile trek out of my comfort zone. A research trip to Harrisonburg, Virginia was the only way to get the history, setting, and local flair I needed. (The photo album is on Facebook if you care to take a peek!)

Likewise, a genealogy road trip might bust that brick wall. And it’s really nice to have room in the budget for the trip when the opportunity presents.

5. Okay, so maybe it is about the price tag, a little.

I think Ancestry is a fantastic value, don’t get me wrong. As I said from the start, I’m a happy customer—and I’ll definitely re-subscribe when the time is right.

For now though, I’m taking a wider view—using other sites, re-examining what I have, hitting the road, and yes, occasionally visiting the library to see what else Ancestry has in store.

Q4U: What’s your favorite web resource? (Free or paid, genealogy-related or not!)

Here are some of mine: 7 Sites for Your Genealogy Toolbox!

Thanks for reading! Here are some other ways to connect–

+Newsletter | +Goodreads | +Instagram | +Ancestry | +Amazon

Is this what you’re looking for?—A lot of people find this post by searching for Ancestry.com subscription rates, which you can find here. As noted above, my only connection with Ancestry.com is that of a happy customer. Completely free-will linkage.

34 Replies to “5 Reasons I’m Letting My Ancestry.com Subscription Run Out”

  1. Good Luck with all the projects that you have on your plate. If you ever need me to look up something for you let me know I will be more than happy to do it for you.
    Take Care.

    1. Thanks Jose! I think the “too-many-projects” is more a personality quirk than anything else — I’ll always have more kettles than burners! Really appreciate the offer. I still have a few months left to go, but I may take you up on it after that.

  2. Amen sister…I am so overloaded with “leaves” that I took a 6 month break. It really is like a soap opera…you can be away for quite a while, and then just pick back up where you left off without missing too much 🙂

    1. I have thousands of leaves. You will never catch up. Once you accept one, the multiple exponentially. I’ve actually seen this happen. My solution, just ignore them. 🙂

    2. Yep, I mostly just ignore the leaves. I wish I could turn off the hints just for other people’s trees. Not that I don’t enjoy looking at them, but I don’t import other people’s work. Maybe there is a way and I just don’t know it…

      1. You’re kidding, the leaves are the best bit! After months of slogging on free sites, I caved and subscribed to ancestry. And wow it’s like an aladdin’s cave of photos, unknown family members, other people’s tree and other free info.

        I guess it depends if you just want the info or enjoy the process too. I’m definitely a results girl.

  3. You are right about the priorities! I don’t know what my favorite one is but I do depend on Ancestry, Newspaper Archive, FamilySearch and NEHGS quite a bit.
    If anyone figures out a good place to look at Indianapolis newspapers, I am looking!

    1. I became a genealogy hobbyist a year ago. Despite the cost, I bought a subscription to ancestry.com to jump-start my research. I want to put all the information gleaned onto software that I have but, gosh, ancestry.com just makes research and citing too easy! Instead of using the software on my computer, I continue to fill my ancestry.com tree. But, at the very least, I recognize the need to move on, so there is that light at the end of my tunnel.

      1. I am working on becoming certified but I know what you mean. I need to find another way to document and keep track of the family. Ancestry is easy but it makes us lazy.

      2. I’ve been using the Family Tree Maker software on my computer instead of putting it on Ancestry. It was a little extra effort (especially due to the learning curve.. I have definitely duplicated some of my work) but I’m happy with my set-up now, although I am in need of an upgrade to the latest version.

      1. I have a lot of New England research so they have many databases directly related to New England. You also get access to The Register, the magazine they have been publishing since the 1850s. It has lots of scholarly reports and data extractions. There is also The Great Migration project. They are researching everyone who ended up in New England in the years 1620-1635.

  4. Years ago I purchased a year’s subscription to Ancestry (it was also about 1/3 of its current cost). I did get a lot of information but I think because I was so new at online genealogy that I missed out on a lot. This past December, I signed up for their two-week free trial. Man, I went crazy with all those dangling leaves. I ended up adding a one-month subscription (costly) and was still adding information. At the end of the month I decided there are so many free sites that I need to find and/or review. So that’s what I’m doing now. Rootsweb, GenWeb, FamilySearch, etc. Granted it doesn’t seem to be as fast or as “easy” as Ancestry but for now I think I just need to see what I’ve actually collected so far and save some money!

    1. I think you’re finding exactly what I mean. If I didn’t have ready access to searchable databases, I’d have to go digging a bit more! I’ll admit, at first browsing images that weren’t indexed at FamilySearch seemed so hard, but I think I must have learned some patience. I do need to be better about tracking what I’ve already looked at though. No sense wasting time in the same resources just because I can’t remember that I already checked them.

  5. Nice post! I paid for a subscription at geneanet.org. I find ancestry way too expensive.
    I love the website France GenWeb wich provide for free loads of different data bases.
    But I still prefer searching myself in the old records books! I research essentially in France and 90% of parrish and civil records are online for free


    1. Hi Romain! Ancestry is expensive, particularly if you’re more interested in a very focused location as you are. I don’t often get to look in the physical record books — too far away — but it’s always exciting when I do get those opportunities. 90% free online just blows my mind, and wouldn’t you know, I don’t think I have so much as one French in-law in my whole tree. Jealous! 😉 As for me, I’ve got lots of Germans, lots of Irish, a handful of English and one Greek.

  6. Appalling customer service, and the DNA verification system simply does not work.
    Wasted hours trying to get assistance.
    Will never use Ancestry.Incompetence again.

  7. I’ve only been doing genealogy for two years, so I don’t know a lot. I get along pretty well with Ancestry, but I bought a year membership to NEHGS almost a year ago and have not been doing well with it. They told me that their info. is different than what Ancestry has. I have yet to find one piece of information that I don’t already have on my New England ancestors. It’s very frustrating. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

  8. LOL. The google search I made was to find Ancestry.com and, sure enough, the link is you. And you don’t even have to pay for that. That is, until Google or Ancestry finds out.
    Anyway, your blog is interesting.
    My fave site is LOC.gov. The Library of Congress can help all media and is usually considered the library of last resource if you cannot locate what you need elsewhere. Another good source that I get on by email is the university that produces the Scout Report. I don’t have their URL in front of me.

  9. LOL I must admit I am one of those Google searchers! But I am glad I did! I am just getting started and the other sites you mentioned are going to be gems!

  10. I have asked for help to contact SHOEBOX and the response is you have no record, when I entered al0t 0f info in the year 2009, I had a one year subscription.

  11. My favourite web resources are the online archives of newspapers. I’ve gotten so much information from browsing birth, marriage, death and funeral notices. Living in Sydney, Australia and having a lot of family history here, my main resource has been the National Library of Australia’s “Trove” (http://trove.nla.gov.au/) and also Google’s Newspapers (http://news.google.com/newspapers) – they have a great archive of the Sydney Morning Herald.

  12. Hi. What a great thread! I also stumbled upon this when searching for an ancestry subscription on offer. I’m in Denmark and I have lots of family here. However I had/have family in the US, Ireland, UK, the rest of Scandinavia and Belgium. If I were to get a subscription it would have to be the WorldExplorer, which is pretty pricey at $199/6months. So I too would love to hear all you favourite sites. (They don’t have to be American.) And free records pertaining to certain countries would too be appreciated.
    The Danish records (if anyone needs) are free to at http://www.sa.dk but you may need google translate, as the site is in Danish with no option of it being in English. You are, however welcome to ask me for a translation or help around that site.
    Happy info hunting.

    1. Louise, I’m sorry for such a delay in answering your comment! Fell off the blogging train for a while there…

      Thanks for the tip about Danish records! That might finally convince my hubby to step into Genealogy Land with me. 🙂

  13. I ventured across this site while doing a Google search on the price of a subscription to ancestry.com. I’m so pleased I took the time to read ……… what a great site!! how wonderful that like minded genealogists take the time to share their search tools etc to help others. I’m very much the novice having only developed an interest a few months ago, & just be reading this thread I now have more resources, together with great hints & advice thanks to all of you! I’m from Australia & have roots in Italy, Isle Of Man, Wales, & Ireland. I shall ensure I tune in here regularly.

  14. I have a question; if you make a tree on ancestry.com can you still see it and the info you’ve gathered after the subscription runs out? I have put off making my tree on their site because I’m worried I won’t be able to see it when I cancel my membership. How does that work?


    1. Yes you will still be able to see your tree when your subscription runs out. You may not be able to see any censuses etc you attach to your tree though (not sure but I don’t think so) so you should download those to your PC.

      1. Thanks for your reply! I download them all anyway so I can just attach them to my ancestry tree as an upload and they should continue to show up I hope.

  15. I have been researching my family tree since 2002. I paid for Ancestry for a year and could not afford it after that. I really do like FamilySearch.org and it’s free, I also am an indexer for FamilySearch. I use a free program called Legacy for my family tree on my computer. I enjoy looking and finding out things I didn’t know. My parents have been gone a long time. No one to get the facts from.

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