A is for……

Ancestry.

Ancestry.co.uk to be precise.  This seems like the best place to start an alphabet of genealogy posts, as it was with Ancestry.co.uk that I began my family history adventure. It’s the only site where I’ve had a continuous subscription since I started in 2005 (though I admit I do cancel my membership every year just before it expires, because I really object to not being able to untick auto renew!)

Ancestry has a lot to offer as a genealogy site, not least a big membership, which increases the likelihood of people making connections through their family trees. I’ve met a couple of cousins through the site, and made contact with several others.

There is an extensive range of document collections, and as I’ve discovered in the last couple of years, the military records are particularly good. It’s so much easier to build up a picture of someone from 100 years ago when you are able to see his military record cards, read the relevant war diary, see how much accrued pay was due to his relatives when he died in service and if you’re lucky, read his service papers.

There appears to be no limit on the number of trees that you can maintain, either. I think I currently have about 150 trees (accounting for research outside of the family!) and have had to learn the art of careful naming to be able to find/manage them effectively.

In recent years the Ancestry DNA database has begun to offer new possibilities for connecting with relatives. I succumbed to temptation last year and did the DNA test – have found a few links with that, but haven’t really had the time to get to grips with it properly yet – that’s something I intend to do this year, once other research activity slows down a bit.  I’m still not sure why it’s necessary to charge almost £20 p&p for the kit, which comprises a  lightweight box, small enough to fit through a standard letterbox.

I’m also getting to grips with the idea of synching my main tree with Rootsmagic.

Another plus point – excellent message boards.

I prefer other sites for access to some records: Findmypast has far more parish records – great for baptisms and marriages, more WW1 service records, and, of course, the 1939 Register.  That balances against Ancestry’s superior hints system, military records and worldwide records.

I’ve blathered for too long – in a nutshell, ancestry has entertained me for the past 12 years, and looks like giving me a good few years yet.  Big treat next renewal – I’m allowing myself a year of worldwide access!

There again, I could have chosen Accuracy, Artist or Adventurer for A. Maybe a rerun will be required later on!

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