Some time ago I “liked” ancestry.com on my Facebook page. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the posts, blogs, articles, tips and announcements – along with reviewing the many user comments and feedback. I am a longtime fan of ancestry.com and have had a paid subscription for the last five years. I can’t imagine researching my family history without the help of ancestry.com. They have become the obvious market leader. I believe that their success stems from the fact that they understand the importance of (and our desire to know) “where we came from.”
Here’s my short list of what I love most:
All the records are compiled in one convenient place. I can sit at my computer in the comfort of my own home in my most worn out night-gown, drinking coffee and eating chocolate and still be accomplishing research tasks! That’s not to say that I don’t venture out. I’ve spent untold hours in libraries sifting through musty old books – in archives going cross-eyed while scanning microfilm – and have spent many a hot Texas day trudging through old cemeteries. But for the beginner – or anyone for that matter – the records compiled at ancestry are a great resource. I usually start with the “little hint leaf” but always browse the card catalog to see if there is a database available that my ancestor might be found in. Yes, I agree, there are other databases online that offer this same information for free; however, I never have enough hours in a day, and I appreciate being able to go to one website that has all of the resources compiled in one place (including the images in most instances).
Connecting with others: By far, my greatest thrill has been connecting with other like-minded researchers and distant family members – people who are as crazy passionate as I am about their family history! I receive numerous email inquiries every day via the “Members Connection” feature. Alternatively, I check it almost daily to see if anything new or interesting has been posted pertaining to any of my ancestors. I’ve had some major breakthroughs by connecting with people who are working on the same family lines that I am. Additionally, I love browsing the message boards on ancestry.com. I almost always get helpful responses whenever I post an inquiry. In addition to all of this a user has the ability to search the family trees of countless other public members. There is a fairly good chance that you’ll run across a connection somewhere. (A word to the wise: don’t take anyone else’s work as gospel. Most family trees are not documented or sourced in any way – so you’ll have to do your own homework. With that said – I’ve found many trees that offered a smidgen of information – I then used that as a springboard and ran with it – many, many times with great results. Just be vigilant in double checking everything you glean from other family trees.)
Original Documents/Census Records – A majority of the databases available at ancestry.com contain images of the original documents. By way of example, the ones that have benefited me the most are the census schedules (U.S., state, agricultural and slave) and the World I Draft Registration Cards. I have additionally been lucky enough to find a few passport applications for some of my ancestors along with some military records. When working on a thorough study of your ancestry, I believe, it is critical to be able to view the actual documents rather than just viewing an index.
So those are my top three reasons why I love ancestry.com. And here comes the fun part. Due to the fact that I am an ancestry.com member and because I have a blog and a family history website, ancestry.com has designated me as an “Ancestry Ace” and thus is allowing me to offer this give-away contest. Ancestry.com is very graciously offering prizes to the contest winner as follows:
A 6-month U.S. Deluxe ancestry membership AND a copy of Family Tree Maker 2012 (PC or Mac version available)!!!!!
This is a very exciting prize! Here’s what you need to do to enter:
*Entrants must email me at firstname.lastname@example.org (with the subject line entitled: “Ancestry Contest,” and provide me with your name, location and email address. (Please also mention whether you require the software for a PC or for a MAC.) In the email submission, please describe how ancestry.com HAS helped you break through a brick wall in your family history research. Alternatively, if you are not yet a member, describe how ancestry.com COULD help you break through a brick wall.
*Entrants must go to Facebook and “like” ancestry.com OR sign up to follow them on Twitter.
*Entrants must “Share” this blog on Facebook OR share my family history website (http://www.curbowfamily.com).
One contest entry per person please.
The winner will be selected from a random drawing conducted by me on July 4, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. (central time). I will post the name of the lucky winner here at that time along with their submission. The winner’s name and email address will be transmitted to Ancestry.com for awarding of the prizes by Ancestry.com.
Share this with all who would benefit from this membership package. Thank you again to Ancestry.com for offering to provide this wonderful prize…and good luck to you all !