I have covered the free websites I use for Australian research, which I have found is enough to build my family tree with the basic birth, death and marriage information. I get birth, death and marriage certificates when I feel I need to. But there will come a time when I need to use a subscription site. Which one should I use?
Last December, I took up their offer for 75% off, so I currently have a subscription to My Heritage. I have found too little unique content to bother about a subscription ordinarily – most of what they have is already available online for free, and of what else they have, it is often also available on Find My Past and/or Ancestry. There are only a couple of unique collections on My Heritage. Also, in my opinion, My Heritage charge too much to have an online tree and the free one only allows up to 250 people. The other sites allow you to have a tree of any size for free.
I do use Find My Past, but I find that I only need a month at a time or pay as you go subscription, or I wait until one of their free weekends, as they don’t have all the collections I need to complete my research in Australia. I prefer either to subscribe a month at a time, or use one of the free weekends, as I can download as many records as I want in that time, while with a pay as you go, you’re restricted to a certain number of records.
The subscription site I recommend is Ancestry. For Australia, some of the unique collections they have for Australia include Police Gazettes, Electoral rolls, Rate Books and Directories. Electoral rolls allow you to see where your ancestor or relative was living over time. The rate books show if they owned or rented the property, and how much it was worth. In the street section in the directories (for the major cities, such as Melbourne), it lists the houses by street, whether it was on the north, south, east or west side of the road, and which cross roads that the house was in between, so you can pinpoint exactly where the house was, and you can therefore see if the house number changed over the time your ancestor lived there.
Ancestry also have parish registers from Sydney Anglican Churches, and St Peter’s Church in Melbourne. They also have the images of Victorian passenger lists. I have used the Public Record Office Victoria for the index, but the only place I know of with the images is Ancestry.
Although most of my research has been in Australia, I am currently researching my 2x great grandparents, and all but one of them was born overseas. I have therefore compiled a list of where these ancestors were born, and which site I would use.
|Joseph Whimpey||Frome, Somerset, England||Ancestry|
|Margaret Price||Merthyr Cynog (Kinnock), Breconshire (Breckonshire), Wales||FindMyPast|
|Henry Sharp||Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England||Ancestry|
|Jane Elizabeth Oldroyd||Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England||Ancestry|
|Robert Harley||Longforgan, Perthshire, Scotland||ScotlandsPeople||Pay as you go. I also use FamilySearch and Ancestry until I can afford the images|
|Euphemia Dandie||Ferry Port on Craig, Fifeshire, Scotland||ScotlandsPeople|
|Thomas Henry Russell||Cork, Ireland||Irish Genealogy||Free site|
|Maria Louisa Doyle||Birmingham, Warwickshire, England||Ancestry|
|James Marr||Dundee, Angus, Scotland||ScotlandsPeople|
|Martha Richardson||Cupar, Fifesire, Scotland||ScotlandsPeople|
|William John Reeves||East Stonehouse, Devon, England||FindMyPast||Bishops Transcripts are on FamilySearch|
|Mary Gill||Torpenhow, Cumberland, England||FamilySearch|
|Alfred Docwra||Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire, England||Cambridgeshire Family History Society||FamilySearch has transcripts, but they don’t have as much detail|
|Mary Scott||Steeple Morden, Cambridgeshire, England||Cambridgeshire Family History Society|
|George Oliver||Melbourn, Cambridgeshire, England||Cambridgeshire Family History Society|
|Elizabeth Ann Ball – born in Australia. Her father, William Edward Ball||Gottenburgh, Sweden||Ancestry||ArkivDigital – subscription site|
|Elizabeth’s mother Ann Slawson||Brigstock, Northamptonshire, England||Ancestry|
That’s just my side. I’m also researching my ex-husband’s family, so for his side:
|George Willis||Allington, Wiltshire, England||Ancestry|
|Ann Marshall||Old Leighlin, Carlow, Ireland||Irish Genealogy|
|Hans Hansen||Lumby, Lunde, Odense, Denmark||FamilySearch||Danish Family Search for censuses|
|Catherine Marshall||Dublin, Ireland||Irish Genealogy|
|James Smith||Stevenston, Ayr, Scotland||ScotlandsPeople|
|Dora Mansfield||Tralee, Kerry, Ireland||Irish Genealogy|
|David Clyne||Bower, Caithness, Scotland||ScotlandsPeople|
|Isabella Kerr||Berwickshire, Scotland||ScotlandsPeople|
|Thomas Laver||Kingsbury Episcopi, Somerset, England||Ancestry|
|Elizabeth Male||South Petherton, Somerset, England||Ancestry|
|Jacob Thomas Alexander Mulder||Amsterdam, Netherlands||FamilySearch|
|Louisa House||Stepney, London, England||Ancestry|
|Jacob Theisinger||Bavaria, Germany||Ancestry||FamilySearch|
|Catherine Lepper||Konigsberg, Germany (now Kaliningrad, Russia)||I haven’t found any records online yet|
This is a summary:
|Cambridgeshire Family History Society||3|
|I haven’t found any records online yet||1|
Ancestry is the winner, with ScotlandsPeople coming second. I only have 2 from FindMyPast. Of course, it depends where your family came from. While for me Ancestry is the winner, that might not be the case for you. Each site has a list of their collections, so you can go in and see what they have.
- For Ancestry – https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/catalog/#.
- For FindMyPast – https://search.findmypast.com.au/historical-records,
- For My Heritage – https://www.myheritage.com/research/catalog?s=192168402.
Before using a subscription site, check what’s available on FamilySearch – https://www.familysearch.org/search/catalog. You can also use the FamilySearch Wiki to find out what’s available for the area you are researching. I also have my page Free websites for family history research, which I will be expanding as I come across more sites.
If you decide on Ancestry, most libraries have currently made their Ancestry Library Edition available for home use, if you have a library card.