Pros / Customer service is personal and fast.
Cons / The website design is cluttered and old fashioned.
Verdict / MyTrees has minimal searchable records and an outdated-looking website.
While MyTrees is an affordable genealogy website, it doesn’t have as many resources as many of the other sites we tested. You can search for your ancestors and build a family tree, but both functions are clunky and the overall design of the website isn’t very intuitive. Put simply, MyTrees has been around since 1996 and it looks like the website design hasn’t changed much since them.
The site says you can search over 1 billion records with a MyTrees subscription. The book and record search includes records from the U.S. and Canada along with family histories for a few specific families. You can’t view the physical record itself but it does give you a synopsis of what that record says, so it’s great if you’re more interested in data than in seeing old documents. You can also find a huge international list of professional genealogists and their emails if you need help researching your family. We also really liked being able to buy just a 10-day membership from MyTrees whereas the other websites we tested required you to buy at least a month at a time, if not a whole year like MyHeritage. You can even get one month of service for free if you upload a GEDCOM – the file format used to save family trees – of your family history with at least 15 families and 60 individuals.
You can upload GEDCOM but if you’re building from scratch the interface looks dated, so it’s harder to use. After adding a few initial family members it’s unclear what to do next, whereas other sites like Ancestry.com automatically look for connections in their data and show you a hint you can pursue if something comes up. This site requires users to do the research themselves rather than automatically providing them with more information. Like most of the websites we tested you can find dates of birth, death and marriage for an individual but MyTrees even includes the dates for baptisms/christening and bar mitzvahs or being sealed to one’s parents in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is ideal if you’re interested in the religious history of your family.
The Every Name Search lets you look through every name in your submitted family tree against the entire MyTrees.com archives. With any search you can estimate a date associated with a person by 5 years or fewer. This can be convenient if you’re unsure of an ancestor’s birthday, for example. You can even build a family timeline, which is cool.
MyTrees doesn’t provide an app for on the go genealogy research. While the website does advertise DNA testing – there is a link that asks “Have you tested your DNA?” on almost every page – those test kits are actually from another website called FamilyTreeDNA. Along with the reoccurring links for DNA test kits, the site is generally very dated-looking. Even the signup process seemed old because your password can’t have more than alphanumeric characters. We tried to sign up with a credit card but ended up having to call when the website would only take a 16-digit credit card number. We have to admit though, we called the number on the site to submit credit card information over the phone and spoke directly with a very nice woman who was incredibly helpful. It was really nice to have a human pick up the phone and not have to deal with listening to a recording to find the department you’re trying to speak to.