The Genealogist

The Genealogist is a popular UK website and one that I haven’t used a lot. But it is always up in the top websites and has many people that love it. The website started through transcribing British census records starting with the 1891 census but has built up a collection of different UK records now. They have added births, deaths and marriage records, military records, parish records and many more. This website always ranks well in comparisons with other subscription websites, so I thought is was worth have a bit more of a poke around.

Currently you can have a free 14 day trial of the website. You do need to enter your credit card details but if you go into “My account – subscription history” and cancel the subscription before your 14 days are up you don’t pay anything. Just make sure that you receive an email to confirm your cancellation and contact them if you don’t.

The look of the website feels a bit dated. But the ease of using the search tool is good. Once you find a result you can either save it into your tree or into your  “research log”. Treeview is unlike Ancestry with your family tree remaining completely private. So no-one is able to see your tree unless they contact you and you invite them. Using Tree view can get a little bit of getting used to. It’s best to add the tree first before you search, so that your search results can be saved to the tree you created. The beauty of tree view according to the genealogist is that it recognises the family group and when looking through census records, it can find them easier. Interesting idea.

An interesting feature that I found when going through census results was the ability to click on the address in blue and it showed who was living at addresses on the same street. This feature is also handy if an ancestor was in a workhouse, so you can view all the residents. Many people also like the surname distribution map that can be viewed through results from the census. I’m never completely convinced of this to be able to narrow your family origins down, but I guess it doesn’t hurt.

I love that they have a tab with photo archives. When I do any family history, I am always searching around for great photos to show my family where they came from. With website, I was able to type in an area and had numerous photos of the different areas come up. They do have different categories to search down the left hand side, but I didn’t find they were particularly fruitful in the categories that I picked.  If you want to download the photos for personal use, they are free.

DNA testing is becoming very popular and the Genealogist is happy to offer this service too. They have an article to tell you all the benefits of using the DNA testing. After reading some reviews, offers a reasonable service. However, I find that many people are disappointed with DNA testing as it takes a bit of patience and research to figure out what the results really mean.  The price is getting cheaper but I think the knowledge needs to get better in this area. I looked into DNA testing earlier this year in my blog.

The social area has articles and some are from members. I read a members article about an Australian man that didn’t know he was adopted and it was excellent. The surprise of finding out and the steps taken to find  more information. It was a real joy to read. I like the forum as there is always hiccups with technology, so knowing that you can ask for help is great.

There are many subscription websites out there. Many people pick one and stick with it but over time it can be important to see what types of records you really want and what price that you are willing to pay for it. There may be other subscription websites that may suit  you better. So next time your subscription comes up, have a look around and see whether you still have the right fit.

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