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.

The Canadian Library & Archives

Tuesday Tips

I had the opportunity to do some genealogical research for a friend who knew virtually nothing about her grandfather, Andrew Halcro.  He died in 1925 at the age of 48 and was not talked about much by the family.  What made him of interest to me is that he was born, lived his entire life, and died in Quebec, Canada. I have very little experience with Canadian ancestors and thought researching him would be a great exercise for me to learn more about Canadian research.

First – Family Search

My first step in learning about an ancestor is to try to find the individual in Family Search. I quickly found my subject as ID: LYBX-5WS. Next, I go to Sources for the individual. In this case, I learned that someone had associated three sources with events in my subject’s life.

    1. 1881 Canada Census showing Andrew in the household of his father, Frank.
    2. 1891 Canada Census showing Andrew in 1891 Census but no image of the record.
    3. A 1998 obituary of one of Andrew’s sons indicating that Andrew was the son’s father.

Going from the most recent record back, I reviewed the 1998 obituary and then incorporated it into my research. The 1891 Canada Census was something of a conundrum. Why was there no image at FamilySearch?

Library & Archives of Canada

I was pretty sure I’d find it at Ancestry.Com, but that requires a World Explorer License. So, I did a Google search for: 1891 Canada Census.  I immediately saw an entry for the Library and Archives of Canada. I did a search for Andrew there and immediately found him. His entry was the only result.  There were links to download an image for the entry in either JPG or PDF format; I like that.

I then began to look at what else they have at the Library and Archives of Canada. All kinds of Census records from 1825 “Lower Canada” to a “1926 Prairie Provinces” Census.

As I wandered around the site a little bit, I learned they have Military Records, Passenger and Border Entry Lists (Immigration records), Birth, Marriage, & Death Records, Divorce records, and even some city directories online. What a great resource; not only does it have wonderful records, it is free. Anyway, it is a “Bright, Shiny Object” in my current project, so I took some notes to come back and data-mine the resource soon.

I searched the Family Search Records and was not successful in finding any new records relating to my Andrew. However, I noted there was another person with the same name living in the same town at the same time. I would need to be careful to differentiate between my Andrew (1876-1925) and this other Andrew (1811-1878) in any records I find.

Future Actions:

Datamine for the Halcro family in the Library & Archive of Canada.