Best Big Genealogy Websites of 2015

By David A. Fryxell Premium

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These websites are great places to begin your genealogy research or build upon what you’ve already discovered.

Not satisfied with buying up competitors right and left, this family history heavyweight also is giving its main site a makeover, with the most dramatic changes seen so far in Ancestry Family Trees. Its mobile app for iOS will add a full-search feature of the main attraction, 15 billion records in more than 32,000 databases, available for $149 for six months’ global access. (A World Explorer Plus plan throws in sibling sites Fold3 and for $199 for six months.)
In addition to an ever-growing global collection of databases transcribed from microfilm, this I-can’t-believe-it’s-all-free site from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has enhanced its online family trees by adding hints for suggested records on the site that may match an ancestor in your tree. And a new partnership with the New England Historic Genealogical Society will make millions more records accessible to LDS church members and visitors of local FamilySearch Centers.
No longer just for English researchers, this subscription site ($16.63 a month if you subscribe for a full year) nonetheless continues to add to its core strength. New additions include English wills and probate indexes, and UK parish records. Irish researchers will want to check the new Thom’s Directory 1844-1900, a street directory and almanac for Dublin. Plus the site has a growing US collection (including censuses) and is linking its searchable Periodical Source Index (PERSI) to the original genealogy journal articles.
Building your online family tree is only the start here. Thanks to acquisitions and partnerships, MyHeritage now offers a wealth of searchable databases as well—6 billion historical records in all—including millions of new Scandinavian records such as Danish censuses and Swedish household examination rolls. Family tree plans range from free to $119.40 a year, with a separate data subscription also priced at $119.40 annually.
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From the September 2015 issue of Family Tree Magazine