Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Paid Online Genealogy Tools - 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Week 2


Week 2 – Paid Online Genealogy Tools: Which paid genealogy tool do you appreciate the most? What special features put it at the top of your list? How can it help others with their genealogy research?

I have subscriptions to a few paid online genealogy tools (Ancestry.com.au, Findmypast.com.au, Findmypast.co.uk). I know they are available through many libraries and genealogy societies, but as I don't have a drivers license or public transport close at hand, having a subscription from home is a convenience for which I am very grateful.

My Ancestry.com.au subscription is a UK Heritage Plus Package which gives access to Australian, Irish and UK related records. I have, on occasion, purchased 10 pay-per-view 14-day credits so I could access records from USA and Canada. I find the collections on Ancestry.com.au are very useful, particularly the Australian Electoral Rolls 1903-1980, the UK Census Collection and the London Collections. I also appreciate the family tree builder and the ability to attach records to specific people within family trees, member connect activity feed (which shows when other subscribers attach the same records to their family trees), the surname and location based message boards and the ability to contact other subscribers through messages.

A subscription to FindMyPast Australasia is great for accessing digitised copies of more unusual Australian and New Zealand sources such as Government Gazettes, Police Gazettes, Electoral Rolls and Directories.

I have usually only used PayAsYouGo credits on FindMyPast UK but recently took out a 6 month subscription. The collections of most interest to me there are parish records collections and the military records, particularly the British Army Service Records 1760-1915.

There are two other paid online genealogy tools I would like to highlight.

Irish Family History Foundation - This site is useful for searching the collections of parish register transcripts from various County Genealogy Centres across Ireland. Credits are rather expensive compared to other sites and you don't get as much for your money, but the ability to search and access these records online is better than no access at all. I have found many useful and interesting records through this web site, for which I am very grateful. However, I am looking forward to the day when the digitised parish registers from the National Library of Ireland are available to access online free. Then I can do all my Irish research from here in Australia. That way when I finally get to visit Ireland someday I will be able to spend lots more time looking at the landscape and buildings, Churches and graveyards.

UK National Archives Documents Online - I have used this site to purchase digital copies of PCC Wills in the past. I know it can also be accessed through some genealogy societies libraries (such as the Genealogical Society of Victoria). This saves having to pay £3.50 for each document downloaded. According to this news item, Documents Online and the National Archives Catalogue will be soon become part of the Discovery service, which is currently in beta mode.

So which paid genealogy tool do I appreciate the most? I am going to say Ancestry.com.au because it gives access to such a vast amount of data and digitised records, and because it provides features such as the family tree builder and the ability to attach records to relevant people in your family tree as you find them.

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more.

Copyright © 2012 Australian Genealogy Journeys.

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