My Top 10 Fee-Based Genealogy Websites

Tuesday’s Tips
By Don Taylor

  1. Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Ancestry – Without a doubt, I use Ancestry more than any other fee-based website. I have a World Subscription and use Ancestry almost daily.
  2. Newspapers – I find Newspapers.Com has more pages that fit my needs. Ancestry will bundle a Basic Newspapers.Com subscription with their subscription, but I find the basic doesn’t provide the information I need. Consequently, I have the Publisher Extra plan and love it.
  3. American Ancestors – The New England Historic Genealogical Society is an excellent resource, particularly for New England ancestors.
  4. Genealogy Bank – I wish I could afford all the sites I want. To save money, I switch between a Genealogy Bank and a Newspaper Archive subscription each year. Both of them are very good.
  5. Newspaper Archive – Again, I subscribe to Newspaper Archive every other year.
  6. Fold 3 – Fold 3 is the top/best site for military records. I subscribe occasionally. When I do, they give a Newspapers.Com discount. Also, it can be bundled with an Ancestry.Com subscription. I’ve subscribed that way also.
  7. General Register Office – This is the Online service to order BMD records from England and is a pay-as-you-need system. They are the place to search for English records. When you find a record you can order it (B&D) for electronic delivery in a few days. For marriage records, they send a physical copy and delivery takes a couple of weeks. I use them several times a year.
  8. State Societies – I find subscribing to various genealogical societies helpful. They typically have some kind of magazine or newsletter plus provide access to member resources. I typically join one when I’m researching ancestors in that state and see what they have. Currently, I am a member of the Maine Genealogical Society, but I’ve had memberships with the Minnesota and Southern California societies in the past couple years depending upon who I’ve been researching.
  9. Local Societies – I also maintain several local society memberships for places where my ancestors lingered. For example, many of my Brown ancestors lived in Morrison County, Minnesota, so I keep a membership with them. Likewise, my Wolcott ancestors were among the Founders of Ancient Windsor, Connecticut, so I’ve been a member there on and off. I highly recommend being a member of the local historical or genealogical society where your ancestors lived.
  10. DNA Testing Sites – Strictly speaking, DNA testing sites are “fee-based” that is to say, you gain access to resources on their site after you have paid for testing. I’ve tested with AncestryDNA, 23&Me, and Family Tree DNA. However, once you’ve tested with them, further fees aren’t charged to access your results.

My thanks to Randy Seaver and his “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun” for encouraging me to consider what I think of as my top 10 paid sites.

6 thoughts on “My Top 10 Fee-Based Genealogy Websites”

  1. Your list is similar to mine and you also included state and local societies, which are also on my list. My memberships vary over time, depending on my research interests, but I agree. They are a valuable resource.

  2. Thank you for this.
    How many newspaper PAGES does Genealogy Bank have? Family Tree says that Newspapers.com has 633 million pages, but GB only discloses the number of NEWSPAPERS it has. Most of their papers have runs of only a few years, such as 1963 – 1968, -or- 2018 – current.

    Besides page counts, one could compare these 2 newspaper databases by searching for an uncommon random name, such as Agnes Symon, and see how many different hits you get in each database. I don’t belong to both of them, but you do, and perhaps you can do this test for us readers.

    This “Agnes Symon” test would show how many more results one database has than the other, and will also show how many of the results are duplicates. For example, it might show:

    Newspapers.com found 23 Agnes Symon’s, GenealogyBank found 8. 7 of their finds duplicated each other. Thus GB found only one Agnes Symon not found in Newspapers.com. Finding this 1 out of 23 may be worth paying the cost of a GB membership, or it may not.

    1. Point well taken. Rather than the number of pages, I find it more important to see what newspapers in a particular area (where my ancestors lived) and use that as a criteria for searching. For example, if I were researching ancestors who lived in Portland, Maine, I’d find that Newspapers.com has 16,698 pages of the Portland Press Herald (1947-1950). Meanwhile, Genealogy Bank has a couple dozen papers from Portland including the Portland Daily Press from 1870-1882 nand the Eastern Argus from 1837-1888. Other dates and locations are better covered by Newspapers.com and other dates and places are better covered by NewspaperArchive.com. Each of the newspaper providers provide information about the places that are covered.
      My favorite resource is to go to The Ancestor Hunt, Under Resources, select Newspaper Links then select the appropriate Links by States. Towards the bottom of the page is a section “Subscription or Pay Sites.: In this case they show Ancestry has 37 publications, Genealogy Bank has 127 publications, Newspaper Archive has 42, and Newspapers.com has 9. The nice thing about the Ancestor Hunt page is it provides links to free sites and links to the paid sites for further analysis that will provide the number of pages/issues for the location of interest.

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