Pros / You can search through 20 billion records from 80 different countries.
Cons / You have to pay for a subscription.
Verdict / Ancestry.com is the best overall genealogy website because it’s easy to use and has enough historical data to help you flesh out your own family tree easily.
Ancestry.com a great collection of tools for researching and building your family tree. Whether it’s the desktop version or the app you won’t have any problem figuring out how to use it. You’ll also have access to more records than any other website we tested, making it the best genealogy search website.
According to the website, Ancestry gives you access to more than 20 billion records from 80 countries of origin. This is far more than other sites like MyTrees which only has 1 billion resources to search. Ancestry also adds an average of 2 million records to the website daily so those numbers are constantly changing. You can search as far back as the 13th century, which is when The Crusades were happening. The downside to this is that to get access, you have to pay for a pricey subscription. There are several levels of membership to choose from at varying prices and you can pay less per month if you sign up for one year. You can also hire an expert to do some genealogy research for you, though that service costs extra on top of your subscription.
Once you’re signed up you can build your own family tree. Like all the genealogy websites we tested, you will need to enter basic information like birthdays and possible death dates about close family members like your parents and grandparents. You have to enter dates in day/month/year format, which is strange if you’re not used to it. Once you’ve entered information about your close family members, the website should start showing you “hints” in the form of little green leaf icons, which will lead you to either more detailed information about that person or people they’re related to. You can even view photos users have submitted like gravestone images or historical family portraits.
One flaw in the system is the inability to note divorce, multiple marriages and stepchildren. For instance, on the Ancestry app you can only note two parents aren’t married when you first add them. You can go back in and edit that option. Once you do though, you still can’t add another spouse to either parent if they’ve remarried.
Ancestry also has an app that is easy to use if for no other reason than it’s very similar to the website. You can build a family tree by looking at hints in the form of public records to flesh out the details. You can also order a DNA kit through the phone app and access your results. If you’re curious about Ancestry’s DNA testing, check out our DNA testing site review. There is no messaging within the app.
If you want to really go the extra mile, Ancestry offers DNA test kits just like MyHeritage. Once you order it, Ancestry sends you a package with instructions showing you how to properly collect your own DNA from your saliva, secure it in a tube and send it away to Ancestry for testing. The site says they can estimate where you come from in 350 ethnic regions around the world, which they claim is 5 times more than other DNA tests on the market. These regions include numerous parts of North and South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Roughly 10 million people have taken part in Ancestry.com DNA testing.
If you want to use several sites to dig deeper into your family history you can export and upload your family tree as a GEDCOM file. That way you can transfer your information from website to website rather than entering it manually every time.