Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Top 5 or 10 Fee-Based Genealogy Sites

It’s time once again for one of my favorite activities – Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.

Here is Randy’s challenge for us this week:

1)  Ken McKinlay posted My Top 10 Fee-based Genealogy Sites this past week, so I’ve made it the challenge this week.
2)  List your Top 5 or 10 top fee-based genealogy sites, and a short reason for listing them.

Here are my favorite fee-based genealogy websites, in ABC order:

  1. AmericanAncestors – Anyone with serious New England roots should be a member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society and this is their website. It’s worth every penny!
  2. Ancestry – Obviously, one of the major sites for research, but I only have the basic U.S. subscription, as I’ve found free or mostly free websites for my Canadian, Danish, Slovak and Swedish lines. However, it’s ever-expanding U.S. database makes it a requirement for easy research. Even those possible hints known as family trees can provide good leads to further information.
  3. ArkivDigital – I mentioned mostly free websites for my outside-the-U.S. lines. AD houses the best, best, best Swedish records and they are adding new databases all the time. What I love the most is that this company didn’t digitize microfilmed images, they went right to the source and digitized the original records. I also like the variety of subscription periods offered for very reasonable amounts – $45 for one month  or $215 for a year, but they often have sales and offer a couple of free weekends each year. I can accomplish a lot in 30 days!
  4. Family Tree DNA – I am in several DNA fishing ponds, but since ftDNA is the only site that offers Y-DNA and mtDNA kits, and they definitely aren’t free, I’ve included ftDNA on this list. So far, there haven’t been any break throughs in either of those areas, but there is always the future! I’ve also found many cousins because of autosomal matches.
  5. Legacy Family Tree Webinars – Being a retired teacher, I fully support continuing education. These webinars can be watched for free when live, but for a monthly subscription of $9.95 or $49.95 per year, a member has access to every webinar AND all the handouts that accompany them. There are also webinars in the library that are only accessible by members. The topics cover just about about every genealogical interest.
  6. MyHeritage – This is my go-to website to find distant European cousins who tie into my Danish, Slovak and Swedish lines. I also love the improvement they made to the Ellis Island website, adding more information categories and fixing the wonky images that still exist on the now old, but “improved” (not) actual Ellis Island website.
  7. Newspapers dot com – I waited for years for the Passaic Herald News to be digitized and this is the only site that has it. I have to admit, though, that I normally wait for their free weekends and then spend two days trolling the site for every article I can find.
  8. Virtual Genealogical Association – The VGA provides not only educational opportunities, but also the camaraderie of fellow researchers through a very active Facebook page.
  9. & 10. Various state and local genealogical societies – Depending on my research interests at the moment and available resources on a particular society website, I will join a state or local society for a year to have access to the materials. I’ve always done a bit of this, but with the pandemic happening and libraries mostly closed, I’ve joined several this year that I would otherwise have not.

That’s it for my favorite subscription-based genealogy research sites.

5 thoughts on “Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Your Top 5 or 10 Fee-Based Genealogy Sites”

  1. I agree with Janice about ArkivDigital. I had done all of my Swedish work with Genline back in the day, and their records are now on Ancestry. I haven’t dipped into Swedish since ArkivDigital came along and might have to give it a try once the Oakland FamilySearch library is open again.

  2. 1. RootsMagic Software (I’m counting it as a site since it’s a
    download.) I started with the free version for about a year and then upgraded and am constantly finding new things it can do.

    2. FamilyLocket – study groups, self-paced courses, consultations, research services.

    3. New York Genealogical and Biographical Society – Free membership to FindmyPast included making it a double whammy.

    4. GenealogyBank – Best source of articles for the DC metro area. Lots on my Long Island families too.

    I don’t have a 5th at the moment. I was a member of American Ancestors, but didn’t use it enough and didn’t renew. After viewing a few free webinars, I want to subscribe to Legacy Tree Family Webinars after the holidays.

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