It has been more than three years ago that access to Ancestry.com was removed from family history centers. Removed might nit be the correct wording since some of the resources of the site continued to be available, but it felt as though it was being removed. Many of the collections on Ancestry were no long available, including most of the United States census and the British census. Shortly thereafter FamilySearch worked to replace at least some of the resources by indexing the 1910 census and purchasing subscriptions to HeritageQuest online and FindMyPast, but the loss of Ancestry continued to leave a hole. That hole has now been filled as nearly all of the Ancestry.com records can now be accessed for free from the Morgan family history center.
Ancestry continues to invest more than any other organization other than FamilySeach in acquiring, indexing, and publishing records online, and they have the largest online collection of records. They have become the market leader in online genealogical research. Over the last few years their “shaky leaf” has added a new experience to genealogical research that has helped many beginners to connect with original source records in ways they might otherwise have never achieved.
The Ancestry online collections includes:
A full collection of the United States, United Kingdom, and Canadian census records with an every name index linked to digital images
A good collection of Australian election rolls
The social security death index (available for free at FamilySearch.org)
The index to the civil registration records (birth, marriage and death) of the UK (called FreeBMD)
* A wide range of birth, marriage, and death records from various US states
World War I a draft registration cards
A variety of other war service records
A strong collection of United States immigration records and selected records from other countries.
A wide variety of other records
The only negative about the Ancestry experience is price. On the one hand the price is a bargain vs the cost of ordering many individual microfilm and waiting for them to arrive at the family history center, or visiting the archive. On the other hand they are the most expensive of the online services by a large margin. The Ancestry US collection subscription is $155 annually. The full world collection is just under $300 annually. It is a great resource, but if you are only searching occasionally it can seem a steep cost.
If you are looking for a way to use Ancestry for free, whether the cost is beyond your budget, or you would just like a taste of the service before you buy, visit the Morgan family history center. With some small limitations, the full range of ancestry databases are available to search for free. The other benefit of using the service in the family history center is that you can be given help in using and interpreting the information you find.
It is good to have Ancestry back in the family history centers. This addition makes the family history centers the single best place to access all of the online records. It also means that virtually all of the websites, both commercial and non-profit, that publish genealogical records are now available at your local family history center all free.
The Morgan family history center hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Stop by and have a look at the records from Ancestry, the other subscription services available at the center, the local resources at the center, and all the new record sets published by FamilySearch.