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GenealogySpot > Fee-Based Databases

Fee-Based Databases

With all the free genealogy searches available online, you might wonder why anyone would bother paying for information that could help them identify their ancestors. Like food in a convenience store, fee-based genealogy site subscriptions are not necessarily known for their bargains.

However, genealogy is a time-consuming hobby and if a little cash can help speed up a search of several databases, many family history buffs are willing to pay for that ease.

The subscription page at Burke's Peerage and Gentry lists some reasons why this is so: such sites provide accurate, easy-to-read records available at your convenience. The tease of a Web site that offers further information to genealogy hobbyists, sparing them lines at a library photocopier, can be enticing.

For its subscribers, Burke's offers an e-magazine, which contains articles that offer insight into scaling ancestry obstacles. There are other free genealogy-centered e-zines available, such as one offered by RootsWeb.com, but it is rare to find one focused primarily on British genealogy tips. Burke's British-based records date back hundreds of years and might save a dedicated amateur genealogist a trip 'across the pond.' Special deals, such as Burke's offer of an annual subscription price of $79 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee, may just make the hobbyist's subscription decision a little easier.




An example of a pay-per-use fee-based genealogy site is Scots Origins. This "official government source of genealogical data for Scotland" offers a subscription program that, for a set fee (which varies in American dollars per currency fluctuation), allows access of 30 page credits per day. This limited access might be helpful for individuals unsure if their ancestors are Scottish or another closely related nationality. Scots Origins also has interesting articles about Scottish history, including causes of immigration. Origins.net, the parent site of Scots Origins, also sponsors Irish Origins and English Origins.

If your genealogy to-do list specifies the American Civil War, you might consider subscribing to the American Civil War Research Database for an annual fee of $25. Access to regimental rosters and lists of about 2.7 million soldiers are just some of the benefits of membership.

One of the largest online genealogy search engines, Ancestry.com, makes free searches available to visitors. But reading the results from its valuable database collections, including its U.S. Census records, isn't always free.

Type in your ancestor's surname and some of the results that appear may have a little icon of a lock beside them. This means you must buy a subscription to access this information. If you're an amateur genealogist against a virtual brick wall, this can be very hard to resist. Other rare information offered at Ancestry.com includes city directory listings, histories of various regions across the United States, and parish and probate records.

Ancestry.com has various subscription plans, including the U.S. subscription plan costing $119 annually. Because so few genealogy sites have scanned U.S. census images, subscribing at such a location may be a good investment for individuals who do not have time to search through census microfilm at the National Archives or at their local libraries.

Genealogy.com is a fee-based genealogy site offering several membership levels. An annual online subscription costs $49.99 and a monthly online subscription costs $9.99. Both levels are automatically renewing, meaning you will need to call and cancel your subscription or your credit card will automatically be charged when membership expires. This is a practice common to many of the larger genealogy sites and something to be conscious of if you are considering a subscription. Marriage indexes and veterans' schedules are some of the benefits of subscribing to this site.

Like Ancestry.com, Genealogy.com members may upgrade their subscription access to include census records at an additional fee. At Genealogy.com, a 1900 Census Annual Online Subscription is $79.99 while monthly access to the same records costs $14.99. What's the fuss over census images? They offer some of the most sought after ancestral information on one record. Census images can save a researcher time and money by providing the birthplace, ages, occupations and additional information about an entire family.

People researching their roots might also be able to locate information about their family history at MyTrees.com, which boasts more than 122 million names. It's not the largest fee-based genealogy site online, but it is one of the most affordable with a subscription fee of $15 a month or $100 a year. As a free bonus for visitors, MyTrees.com's free newsletter includes a section dedicated to genealogical humor.




   --- T. Beecham

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