Maybe you’ve just taken a DNA test and want to build a family tree. Or maybe you’re a scholar/detective at heart who thrills at untangling the vast webs of history and uncovering new discoveries about your family. Or perhaps you’re a visual person who’d rather leave the research to someone else and use your time to build a stunning, shareable family tree. You might love chatting with other genealogists, or maybe you’re the type to lock the door and dive into your research without distraction. Or, perhaps you’re just starting out, and have no idea what you like.
Today’s genealogy sites offer something for all of the above. Whether you’re a casual scrapbooker, a research addict, or just curious about where your family came from, these top ranking genealogy sites feature options for all types. Read on to find the one that’s best for you.
MyHeritage is the only online genealogy platform to present any serious challenge to Ancestry.com. MyHeritage offers more than 6 billion searchable documents, a clean site design, and some of the best genealogy research and presentation tools on the internet. The platform is available in 42 languages and has unique tools that translate surnames into different languages for more complete searches.
Ancestry.com offers a hard-to-beat mix of historical databases, family tree building tools, research assistance hubs, and matching technology that together make it one of the top destinations for budding genealogists. You can explore billions of historical records to suss out far-reaching relatives and ancestors and then chart your findings on an easy-to-use family tree builder that comes equipped with ancestor discovery features that utilize its enormous network of users to automatically connect you to other relatives. Though others in the field have begun to catch up, Ancestry is still a go-to source for millions of users across the globe.
One Great Family
A unique approach to genealogy, One Great Family is a global project that combines collective research into an enormous, worldwide database of genealogical information that has proven helpful to many embarking on their own research. The project’s database currently features more than 200 million entries, as well as smart algorithms that expedite the process by removing duplication errors, making it a huge yet accessible resource for people from all over the world to discover their family’s origins.
FindMyPast is a very solid genealogy platform for those with an interest in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States. Offering more than 8 billion digitized records, FindMyPast has particular strength with UK and Irish records, including the 1939 British census. Irish, Welsh, and Scottish resources stretch back as far as the year 1200. It also offers good records resources for the U.S. and Australia/New Zealand. Unlike other genealogy sites, FindMyPast allows users to purchase access to individual documents.
Genes Reunited offers a wealth of genealogical tools and resources for those with British, Welsh, and Irish ancestry. Users have access to more than 515 million records that stretch back centuries and run the gamut of general censuses, military records, birth and death records, and more. Additionally, Genes Reunited offers easy family tree building tools and an active online community of users who share research tips, compare findings, and take advantage of the site’s quizzes, games, and genealogy-based hobby and craft rooms.
If you’ve hit a wall in your research, don’t have time to commit yourself, or need an expert to comb through the perplexing web of your family’s origins, Legacy Tree offers research services for hire from expert genealogists. Unlike other sites, Legacy Tree will do the work for you, and while it costs more than the other sites, and takes away the fun from making your own discoveries, it can yield some serious finds due to its experienced researchers and their access and research skills. Legacy Tree is a serious research service that will likely yield tons of ancestral and family history which you can take and integrate into your own family tree project.
More than 12,000 genealogy experts populate Just Answer, the multidisciplinary knowledge base where experts in a wide variety of fields are available 24/7 to field your questions. A helpful aide for beginners and experienced genealogists alike, Just Answer is a platform where you can ask questions about your research, get advice and troubleshooting tips, and converse with others engaged in similar research. Though Just Answer doesn’t offer databases or tree-building programs itself, it’s a great site to bookmark for when you run into obstacles or simply need some advice or encouragement from others.
How to Choose the Right Genealogy Site for You
Just as every family is different, every genealogy journey is different. It mainly depends on your preferences and level of commitment. First decide whether you enjoy sifting through documents yourself or if you’d rather hire someone else to do it. Some sites offer billions of historical documents for you to access, while others staff professionals who do it for you. It’s also helpful to think about what you’d like to do with your findings. If you want to build a family tree, you can use tree-building software that automatically matches you with relatives. If you want to scrapbook on your own, you may prefer a community-based site where you can compare notes and forge a more individualized path. Either way, there are many options open these days, and once you find the one that’s right for you, you can dive in. Good luck!