My personal research story starts three years ago and a free two week trail membership to Ancestry.com. It’s been a whirlwind romance with passion, discovery and angst. It was love at first sight and I’m not denying the true love was in the mix.  But I’ve changed and I think we should start seeing other people.

The business of content, all kinds, is big and it’s ruthless. If it wasn’t for Ancestry.com I would not know as much about my family history. But at some point you outgrow it and realize you can do this on our own. Many companies look to acquire content with exclusive deals, which means one website will have and no one else.  But you can get this content on your own, if you get up and get out of the house.

Pros

  • Ancestry.com has ALOT of content and the budget to acquire more.
  • You can sit in your PJ’s and do 80% of your research.
  • It’s easy to meet ‘cousins’ on Ancestry.com and the community factor is nice.

Cons

  • Cost – Depending on how much you use it, the fees are high.
  • You’re sharing your stuff with either everyone or at least Ancestry.com.  So their using you content to share with other people. You are providing them content and paying for membership.
  • Some members are very subjective about other members on Ancestry.com.  They feel that most researchers are sloppy researchers.  They probably are, me too. Prepare yourself for strong feedback and people getting mad because you used their photos even though it’s on Ancestry.com

My system is a combo of Ancestry.com, Google, Google Books, Find a Grave, going to an actual library and Footnote. It works, but I’m still dependent on Ancestry.com. the good news is that there are more venues getting and digitizing research and the competition will heat up.

Everyone has a different manor of researching and some of us are subjective. Find your own groove and don’t spend a lot of money on on it because you are smarter then that.

I still haven’t decide on the future of my relationship with Ancestry.com, but he better send some flowers soon.

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