Friday, April 02, 2010

A world without Ancestry.co.uk

Yesterday I received my annual renewal reminder email from Ancestry.co.uk. Last year I had difficulty affording the annual subscription fee - and this year it has increased by 29%. The exchange rate between the NZ dollar and the UK pound might be the best it's ever been (so it didn't actually convert to as high a number as I was expecting) but it's still getting up there.

Has the time come for me to put my money where my mouth is - i.e. firmly at home with the in-tray full of resources waiting to be studied, transcribed and incorporated into my personal genealogy, the one-place-study and the one-name-study? But what would my genealogy world look like without the instant gratification of immediate access to Ancestry? I've never contemplated such a thing before. Although I use a wide range of online and offline resources Ancestry is fairly central to my genealogy workflow, but perhaps it needn't be that way.

I certainly have more than enough to be going on with as far as the Wing One Place Study is concerned - frankly, the discipline this exile might impose is probably a good thing! But I was determined to make serious inroads into my father's side of things this year and this would definitely make that task more challenging.

Some of that money I wouldn't spend on Ancestry would no doubt (in an emergency only of course, but let's not kid ourselves that emergencies don't exist even though everyone involved has been dead for decades if not centuries) end up in the pockets of the alternative sites. Options like:
* FindMyPast.co.uk who I see offer a 20% loyalty discount on their subscription renewals - something which would have made a difference to my current opinion of Ancestry had they had a similar deal. Nothing like being a continuous subscriber for several years and not getting any discount at all to make you feel valued!
* TheGenealogist.co.uk who I'd never been tempted to give any money to as their website did a really bad job of providing specifics about what you might actually get for your money - however I see that they have improved in that respect.

After the initial shock, I have to admit I'm actually not so scared by the idea of going cold-turkey. So what do you think - should I embark on this, my great experimental Ancestry-free year? Or shall I save that for 2011, when the impact of exchange rate changes will likely give me a much larger shock?

6 comments:

Daphne said...

I have honestly thought about not renewing my Ancestry membership too. I love how much it offers, but (though I think the price is reasonable for what it offers) I wonder if I should be spending that money ordering certificates or buying books that would help my research (and not have a recurring fee) or... you know... if something happens having an actual savings account. Hmm. Post on your blog what you decide to do.

Shelley said...

I mostly do without an Ancestry sub. If there's something I really need there's always Library Edition. Once or twice a year though I'll subscribe for a month and download like crazy!

Brett Payne said...

Hi Alex - Good to hear about others in the same boat. I, too, have agonised a bit about the Ancestry sub, as it's a lot of money, whatever the exchange rate. I use it so much that I think I would really struggle without it, but then I thought I would never be able to give up smoking, and I managed that ;-) Regards, Brett

Purple Heather said...

The transcriptions on FindMyPast are generally more accurate than those on Ancestry (so I've been led to believe).

Once I've not got a significant amount of new info from FindMyPast in a while I may move to others but can't afford more than 1 subscription a year.

wanderinggenealogist said...

Don't forget the Library Edition. Also don't forget the GRO indexes, I have most of the census entries I need, but still have loads of BMD entries to find.

I have always been put off by the terms and conditions of findmypast and the genealogists. I don't know if they enforce the rules about personal research only, but them seem quite restrictive about doing look-ups and don't know how it would affect your Wing research.

Alex said...

I will certainly look at the terms and conditions of the other sites, it will be interesting to see how they compare.

 
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