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