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Reviews Society, Genealogy Ancestry

50 customer reviews of

I would have given this site a five star rating IF...
I would have given this site a five star rating IF it delivered as promised when you sign up. Don't get me wrong... I use a lot, found a sibling and many cousins through That said, the site has software glitches that it cannot repair.

Since September 2013 has failed to deliver invitations to join my family tree (I sent them to family members) and failed to deliver email notifications of data updates to those who are already members. I have called, written and even posted on their Facebook page to no avail. Ancestry know of the problem BUT cannot tell me when the problems will be fixed. charges a lot of money for full access to their site and data. I do think this is the most comprehensive genealogy site available but not the best, by any means. Plus... the DNA test is a rip-off. All you get back are "possible" matches of third, fourth, fifth, etc. etc. Cousins. None of them have been real for me.

So, if you choose to go with I recommend you sign up for the least expensive option. Or, try another site until they can get their glitches repaired and working again.

Great Genealogy Site - Tons of Records and easy to add sourced data to your own tree.
I have researched my family history over the last 30 years so I know what it is like to actually do the legwork and locate birth, marriage and death records by looking them up on microfilm at the county court houses and libraries. If you want to truly research your family tree and create solid documentation with sourcing along the way, then Ancestry is what you want.

A note about DNA testing which I have also done on Ancestry. The DNA testing is really to be used as a supplemental type of data to help you work through roadblocks or find cousins and others that may be sources. Yes Ancestry have some nice charts and maps that show you geographically where you family came from and their migration path, but do not expect DNA to be the end all for genealogy research. I also am disheartened by people who rate Ancestry poorly because their DNA test came back to reveal that their parents lied to them. Come on people - you choose to take the test, the results and how you handle it is on you!

Ancestry shows you actual documents about your family so you can determine who is who for yourself. As far as the Ancestry trees created by others... they are only as good as the person who put them together. I do not view ancestry tree results for my research unless I have hit a stone cold brick wall and even then, I only use what I can prove with historical documentation.

The other thing that I think is so valuable about how Ancestry works is that every time you save information from a document to your tree, they are tracking the source information in the background and it is always there if you need to prove you are related to someone specific.

They have also done a really nice job helping us to merge new data with old information, make updates or edits. You get to see the old and the new and choose which facts or data you will use.

I have more than 7000 folks in my family tree and through ancestry I can prove that I am a daughter of the american revolution multiple times over, that I am also a 4th generation American, my ancestors fought in the Napoleonic wars, were shirttail relatives of the royal Stuart's of Scotland and were pioneer farmers in Iowa. I know the part my family played in history and I continue to learn more as Ancestry is digitizing and adding data from across the world as fast as they can get it done. Thank you Ancestry! -Rachel

When idiots take over a great company
First I want to say, I have nothing against change as long as it is good and works, some on other sites seem to think most of us are complaining because we are afraid of change. I was excited when I heard Ancestry were improving it and making some changes, until I first tried it last summer, I reverted back after giving it a month, because it was such a mess, they forced it on us December 15, no choice.

The death of started when Permira Advisers LLP, bought it in 2012, it has been all down hill since then. It is now unusable as it has destroyed 15 years worth of work I have done since I joined the site in 2001. I have it on my FTM but unfortunately when I opened it up, it synced so now it is not accurate, I will have to revert back to my last backups. I have done a great deal of work in the short time since the last backup so all of that will be lost in order to get an accurate tree. Ancestry has now mixed up my photos which are now attached to the wrong people. Right now, you can't trust that the information in anyone's tree is accurate since so many things have been mixed up.

If you try to go back a page in your browser, you get an page not available error and you have to click on the session history list to get back to where you were. What used to take one click now takes 4 or 5 at least, a page that fit on your screen and was readable, now is the length of several pages. When you try to add photos of multiple ancestors, to all of them you have to first go to the page of the photo, click details which expands the page so that you have to scroll down using 2 different scroll bars, then click add, which brings up your trees, you type in the name, when it starts bringing up the list of possibilities after you type in the first name, the whole page jumps, and un-selects the box you were typing in, if you keep trying to type it assigns the photo to someone in the list, not the one you want, you have to be very careful and still I ended up having to delete and try again multiple times on most photos I was trying to assign, it used to be you were on the photo page, clicked the button add button next to the photo (no scrolling required) it brought up the box to select which tree, you put in the name and the list came up, no jumping of the page and it was easy to select. The new details arrow is a shaded area at the bottom of the page that covers about 1-2 inches of the screen, if your photo etc. takes up the area, the bottom part is unreadable. The whole thing is a mess and unusable. If they set out to destroy the best ancestry site, they have succeeded. They had a survey up but the page now says sorry this survey is no longer active. It had a sliding bar on how much you like the new Ancestry, I am guessing they got tired of seeing responses that said 0%.

Can't remove card card information and could not find father family
The big issue I have is the fact Ancestry doesn't allow the user to delete their credit card information. This is contrary to asking someone to steal my information without me giving you permission to do so. So you loose a star for not allowing a user to remove their information from your system. Also There wasn't much this platform could offer me at this point, because I was looking for family members on my father's side and did not get any responses. So I felt like I wasted money for something I thought would provide some real answers. But what I do know that what listed on my profile might not be my real father although he is on my birth certificate. However, non of the surnames matches our names. So it is very likely that my real father's bloodline is not aggressive enough to contact me, or Ancestry just are not on your platform. I have the same results from 23andMe. So I will not be renewing my membership in the future as well. But I did like Ancestry setup much better. I did find a lot more about the mother side of the family I already know. So that was good. I did get my mother's picture and my aunt's school picture. This was good. But that's not why I purchase the plan. And it did not appear that the sale's rep didn't really care although she did her job professionally and she honored my request. I just wish Ancestry (and 23andME) did more to help their members. But I guess this was a learning lesson. You give but you don't get and that makes me very disappointed with this process.

Site does what is designed to do, which is search for...
Site does what is designed to do, which is search for names in records, the one main problem with names is how Ancestry were written and how one person deciphers their name, maybe they have language barrier or a writing style that is unreadable and it is up to volunteers of these data base to decipher what was written. So it is up to the user to be creative ( guess) how the name is spelt, back in the day all records are hand written, this is what I have found ex. When searching my grandfather; the person writing the document crossed the "d" making it appear it was a "t", writing blurred letters from one to the next ex. "e" to "n" or "i". The people deciphering the text are doing this with good heart but major errors can take a easy search to a hours of sifting through documents = time is money
Your subscription has an expiry date.
Word to the wise. When you quit this daunting task and cancel, you will lose access to all the work you have done. Even the stuff you have added your self, picture, other vital document relevant to your Tree so on that note PRINT everything your find, save the images to your computer as a back up make a lovely paper trail, store in a filing cabinet or binder unless you want to pay Ancestrydotcom for the rest of your life just so you can read it at a later date.
Side note; it can take a long time to research your family specially if your ancestors came from another country, while some searches are easy many are not so YOU must think first how common your ancestors are or how obscure.

Signed up for the 14 trial May 17 2012, decided to...
Signed up for the 14 trial May 17 2012, decided to try it a month and used PayPal to pay for the service. After finding what I could about my family which really was no all that much I decided the service is very limited. My wife who really wanted to investigate her family found very little, so much she was really disgusted with the site. We decided to cancel the service online. Like many people out there, when you cancel something on their website you think it's all over, but nooooooooooo! Ancestry kept submitting bills to PayPal and PayPal kept paying for one year. I found out because I had to visit PayPal concerning an amount I paid for a book this year only to find Ancestry has been receiving $34.95 a month for 11 months. I called to cancel and found Ancestry do not reimburse monthly payments, only annual payments. So the lesson learned here is visit your PayPal account monthly to check what is being paid out. It shows up in your bank statements as "PayPal" with no separate statement. I personally wish karma on the business managers who decide not to pay back customers who honestly find the mistake. They are no different than thieves with business suits. Ancestry should think that bad publicity is worse than reimbursing a honest customer.

A Huge Flop in my opinion
You do not have time to read my reviews of your NEW enhanced version. I have just looked at half a dozen sites and not one of them has favorable comments that are not overshadowed by an enormous negative reflection.
I do not like any feature of the new ancestry program. The time line is cluttered by every family members info. The Life Stories are a joke filled with the wrong information on the ancestors I viewed. Oh yes I can edit it but I spent my time documenting it and getting it right to have to endure someone else's mistakes in my view.
I added a will yesterday that attached a wrong death date and when I added it to all the children it gave all of them the same death date. Every time I add a record I do not want to wait for the timeline to highlight before I move on. My time is valuable and this version is a Power point presentation, not user friendly it is time consuming and not logical.
40 yrs I have been researching and I have had FTM since version 1 15 yrs with Ancestry and this is not worth the effort for me to have to click click click and then redo the errors that come with the program.
This was more than an enhancement to the program it is a major overhaul and like when Henry Ford introduced the Edsel a lot of hype and a big Flop!

There are a lot of problems with
There are a lot of problems with 1.) you are paying for information that is free elsewhere, birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, & census information. A few sites have allowed free access to their information, but do not allow them to charge the public for the information, find-a-grave is one such sight. 2.) it is not uncommon to come across many family trees that contain conflicting information, such as death dates, or birth dates, some trees won't have dates at all, other use terms like about, or after in front of dates. You just cannot be sure the information is accurate, so you have to weed through the garbage much like a detective to determine what is correct and what is not. 3.) the search functions stink, Ancestry pull up to many results that just do not match the search, and no matter how you try to limit or add information to a search the results are much the same. Because of this there is way to much information to review and 99% of it is useless, and a waste of time, when you are looking at thousands of results you like me will just give up after about 5 or 6 pages of results. 4.) what really gets me mad about is that once you decide your tree is complete, or you no longer want to use the site... you cancel the "membership". But be fore warned. All those birth certificates, death certificates, census reports etc, that you searched for are no longer available to you. That's correct you paid for the information, but cancel the membership and you can't review it again. So if your smart you will print out copies of all the official documents that you found to verify information In your tree. Keep it in a separate file, because you will want to review the information again, without having to pay for it again. 4) finally, make sure your tree is set to private, this way no one can steal your pictures, or stories, I made the mistake of not setting the tree to private and many of my pictures are now on other trees. When I asked them to delete my pictures they tell me screw off, they paid for them...

I would like to say doing the free try out was fine which I only tried it out a few times like let's see 3 times. Really was useless for me. However few weeks later my wallet was stolen and I replaced my debit card with a new card. Long story short 2 new bank cards later I long forgotten I sign up for them. I never caught on Ancestry were taken money out my account (stupid) me until my son school wanted a print out of payments then I notice ancestry was STILL taken money out my account.
I was in complete shock for I never notice since they were taken it out around rent time. The guy basically told me but saying clear not them of course many people bank off those who do online banking and that VISA itself was the one updated my cards with out informing me. They ONLY refound me this months charge! Are you fkn for real right now. I'm contacting a lawyer over this issue for many reason like let's see the main one I never gave any one my permission to update my new credit CARDS yes more then ONE card number in the first place. Please be careful giving your card number to them in the first place for they have access through visa itself to update your credit card any time you change them or when they expired and I feel that's complete BS. Thanks for making me feel real comfortable banking with a bank in the first place. Online bankers beware they are some sneaky ass people

Website is okay, Support is AWEFUL!
I've had a lot of problems since signing up for a subscription, but nothing like what others have experienced. I did the Free 2-week Trial, but called about half way through to see if Ancestry had any promotional offers. I was told there was going to be a special offer Memorial Day Weekend for 1-month of All Access for $31, and all I had to do was wait for the email. Well, an email never came so the day I was told the offer would expire I called. One of the few times I got someone who was actually nice, and helpful. It turned out the offer was actually 6-months of All Access for $99, and a better deal! So I told the woman to sign me up. It wasn't until my free trial was cancelled that it was discovered I didn't qualify, and the remaining time on my trial couldn't be added back. So I asked if a supervisor could put the offer through since I had been told I qualified, and before I knew it a supervisor did just that.

Unfortunately, from that day forward I experienced constant website issues. At that time ThruLines hadn't worked since day one, and my tree met all requirements. But everyday was a new problem which they of course started blaming my computer, browser and/or internet. I admit I got nasty with them on more than one occasion because I was fed up with their lies, and making excuses. Things now seem to be in working order, at least for the moment. I was given a total of 7-months additional All Access to make up for the hassles, and the half of my subscription which was wasted due to their website issues.

In the end they are a company you have to stay on top of constantly, and more often than not you will have to argue with them. I know at least half the people I talked to didn't even have basic knowledge of how the website worked, and definitely should not have been hired for their positions.

Many of your "ancestors" are not YOUR ancestors. Do. Not. Trust. No proof of relationships.
First of all, lets everybody make their own family tree, so looking for the profile of an ancestor is confusing because there will be about 1000 or more profiles for one person, often all with conflicting information. Stupid. Also, it does not require you to PROVE with real documentation the links between relations, so over the past 20 years "clickophiles," as real geneologists like to call them, have made up the worst, most convoluted, mixed up family trees. Example: Say your 3rd great-grandfather was named "John ReviewFeeder" and he was born in Tennessee in 1836. Well, Turns out, there are 500 other "John ReviewFeeders" with the same info, but over time the "clickophiles" have listed yours with 7 wives and 23 children. You know good and well your family stayed in Tennessee and didn't join the false prophecy cult of mormonism, so now you're confused AF. Oh look! He had three daughters named Elizabeth born in 1856, 1860, and one born in 1922! My goodness! Four sons named John boorn in 1839! Two of his wives had children when Ancestry were just 6 years old! Another when she was 80!

Seriously. is F***** up. If you really want to know who your ancestors were, you are going to have to comb every record available for each one to prove relationships to others. DO NOT JOIN ANCESTRY! DO NOT TRUST ANCESTRY!
Besides, if you join, you'll be paying money to the mormon cult. They want to wait until you die and "offer" you (and your ancestors) up to the mormon gods or something. Lol. Oh and don't give them your DNA. FFS do not give your DNA.

Wikitree is where it's at. Don't forget to prove relations.

Beware - scam!
I have much of my family's historical information and had been on looking up more. I ran in to a roadblock so decided to use their "professional" genealogy services to hopefully complete my family tree (at least until it could give me information on my German ancestors). I paid over $3000. 00 to have them do this research for me. I emailed JC Bossone the family tree that had been handwritten by my great aunt as well as info my parents had given me. He told me it might take a while but Ancestry would try to trace my ancestors to Germany (or wherever they are from if the records indicated something else). Understandable, right? Well, I eventually received an email that my tree was complete and I would be receiving my booklet soon. I excitedly went online and was dismayed that there wasn't any new information. I got my booklet and it had all of the information I had given them and copies of a couple of papers my great great grandmother had signed for a pension for my great great grandfather from the civil war. Well, I already had these (you can get them free online from a civil war database). It had absolutely NO additional information and actually contained LESS info than I already had. I emailed JC and he replied telling me that they have to verify information before they move on. Verify what? I gave them all of the info so if they took five minutes (as long as it took me) they could have verified all of the info. That's what I got for $3000. 00... What a joke!

I adored Old Ancestry, but since the launch of "NEW ANCESTRY.COM" it's been disappointing. Ancestry haven't fixed any of the issues users were unhappy about, such as wide borders around records and photos, overlays that obscure records when viewing them, not enough notation space when adding facts to tress, frames that don't frame photos, etc.

They say they value user's privacy, yet it can take 1-6 months to actually get your tree down from the web. They only do this when they have enough switches to warrant going in to do it. My tree is down in the US but still showing on their European site. Making one's tree private should happen immediately - not in 1-6 months and it should include all of the world wide web not just the US.

One used to simply tick a box to make some individuals within a tree private and still keep there death information. Now if you want to make an individual private they have to be listed as living and you need to remove their death information and transfer it elsewhere into the fact or note section.

It takes forever to upload photos to one's tree from the iPhone app and often they time out while loading as it takes too long to load. Placement prompts like how to delete something, or add names/notes to photos were in logical places like under or on top of the photo now you have to search for them in illogical places. Or access them after clicking on several links to find them.

All of these functions used to be an intuitive pleasure with Old Ancestry. Now anytime you want to do something you have to click on 6 things before you figure out how to do it. If you clicked on a picture or fact it immediately opened, and you did not have to position your cursor just so on something, or click on yet another link to view image" or "view fact." If I am clicking on an image/fact, clearly I want to see it, not have to click a 2nd or 3rd time, on a further prompt. And I definitely I want to view the whole record, not view it under an obstructive indexing overlay. I also would like to be able to line photos, (open in two windows) next to one another, so I can compare physical features, not have a 2 1/2" inch right and left border between them. I would like to insert my own dates in the timeline not have them automatically put in by what the census says, or an incorrectly transcribed Ancestry index. The annoyances keep rolling. When I open a record that I have saved to an individual, I want to be able to see the index first and to be able to click on the other family member's indexes via that central index. Here is no longer a way to do that now. So I have to keep a pad handy or add and subtract dates rather than clicking on the wife, child, to quickly to see their year of birth.

Things that should have been added to the graphic design such as a place marker when searching through hundreds of hits, were not. So one invariably forgets if one has viewed the proceeding hit after one back clicks. It would be wonderful if the one you were currently on just before back clicking high lighted from the rest of the list.

If one loads a record from a parent company like Fold3 and and no longer belongs to those sites, one can no longer see the document, (although one has already paid to view, copy and save it to Ancestry.) So unless you down load it else where, or still belong to all 3 sites at the same time, those records no longer open and are now un viewable. I wish they would just roll it all together into one big site, as remembering when one membership starts, ends and what coupons applies, is annoying. The further paid access to premiums versions of Fold2 and Newspapers is infuriating. is not a cheap membership to start with, having to pay even more for premium access on it - is abusive. Why they moved the military collection over to Fold3 rather than just keeping it on Ancestry and charging a bit more would have been preferable, as searching over there is like wading through an exhausting swamp.

The customer service used to be stellar, and is now spotty. The CS staff don't seem as well trained as they once were, and always need to check with a supervisor. They are constantly experiencing a "high volume of callers" so waits for CS reps are long.

Family Tree Maker should download everything one has in each section, not just some of what you have spent years compiling.

They don't seem to be adding records at the rates they should given what they gross annually. Nor do they correct small thing like indexing transcription errors, pointed out to them. Regarding resources and record collections, one often does better searching free sites like:, the German and Italian Genealogical Group. I can't understand why a site run by a single man, the Old Fulton Post Card Historic Newspaper Archive, has more papers than the Library of Congress, yet Ancestry can't get more obits, papers and records online is beyond me. They're certainly not putting any money or time into functional graphic design, or the development of a better iPhone app. It's clear that whoever did the graphic design on New, or what ever focus group they pitched the new features to, never actually used the site for serious research.

Suspect the only person leaving positive feedback on "New Ancestry" and it's features is likely a relative of someone working on the tech and graphic design team - or a VP's spouse, as actual customer reviews seem to all bequite damning.

Worst customer service, do not buy
I was given an Ancestry DNA kit as a Christmas gift in December of 2018. As instructed in the directions, I registered the kit on an account I opened and mailed the kit in the first week in January 2019.

I never heard back about the progress or receipt by Ancestry so I call them on 2/6/19. I spoke to a customer service rep named Matt. After a half hour of fumbling and lack of knowledge, Matt finally located the kit number I provided. He told me that Ancestry personnel had entered my email address incorrectly on his end. He said it was an error on their part and could not be corrected because of the way their program was designed. So he said he would mail me a new kit. We doubled checked the shipping information to
Make sure Ancestry had the correct name and address.

On 2/11/19, not having received the kit, I called again and spoke to Brenda. She told me it would take 7 to 10 days to receive it. I gave her the original kit number and asked her to check the date Matt mailed it out. As before, after about 30 minutes of being put on hold and fumbling back and forth, she told me she couldn't find any record of it being sent. Once again I gave her all the shipping information and she said she would send out a replacement kit that same day.

On 2/25/19, guess what. Still no kit received. I called again and spoke to Crystal. Another 30 minutes or so, after explaining everything again, Crystal told me they had no record of a kit being sent to me. I asked to speak to a supervisor. Crystal balked, but put me on hold until one was available. Another 15 minutes went by and Crystal was back telling me the
Supervisor was still busy, but she would send another kit out. We carefully went over the shipping details. She said it would be shipping that day and after waiting another 5 to 10 minutes she provided me a confirmation number.

Today is 3/11/19. Yup you are correct, still no kit. I called again today hoping I would be able to talk to a supervisor. The recording said there would be at least a 30 minute wait to speak to a customer rep. I had other things to do.

By the way, I gave all this information to Ancestry in an email survey. Gave them 1 star saying I would never recommend them to a friend. The automated survey responded to the 1 star and asked why. I explained it and have never heard back from them. Same zero response from an email I sent through their website to customer service.

This Company Is a Scam--I can't even cancel my "so-called" subscription
I called customer service today to find out why I was being charged $99 every six months (presumably because I failed to see some tiny print on a back page somewhere that made this unconscionable "renewal" occur-- that in itself a scam), and I was on hold 50 minutes. Finally, I reached a customer service representative. But when I told her that I needed to inquire about an unauthorized subscription charge, without comment, she transferred me to a number that caused a loud screech to come out of my phone. Then after 30 seconds, my call was intentionally dropped. WHAT A SCAM! Seriously!

It gets worse. At a minimum, I knew I needed to cancel my so-called subscription online immediately. THERE WAS NO WAY TO DO SO. I clicked on How to Cancel My Subscription. I followed the instructions exactly, going to My Accounts page that said Cancel My Subscription. But guess what? The link to Cancel My Subscription does not exist! I even had my twenty-year-old come over to the computer to double-check the process. She said "Wow, what a scam. The link's not there."

At this point, I've contacted American Express to dispute the latest charge. I will NEVER, EVER, EVER use Ancestry again. I am appalled at this entire
Scam by what I thought was a reputable company. WHAT A WAY TO MAKE MONEY! You've breached the public trust with your consumers, Ancestry, and I couldn't be more disappointed.

Comments From a Long Time User of
I read through many of the comments and see lots of self-inflicted wounds. Some comments are hilarious. I've been using Ancestry since 2010 and I've used it extensively to create five trees. I started off using the two-week free trial. I now use it for one month at a time. Sure, I'm required to signup for a longer period but I mark my calendar and cancel online before the automatic renewal. I've never had a problem except once and then I called in to make the cancellation. A BIG hint folks: you can still access and update your trees even when you're not paying. You just lose access to the databases but a work-around is to use FamilySearch and Google which is free. I sign up with Ancestry once or twice a year as my schedule permits and use it for a single month at a time. During that month I do extensive work and research. The greatest benefit is Ancestry's extensive research library and databases. I also like the fact I can work on my trees even when I'm not paying. Beyond that there are problems. (1) Like many, I don't care for the new format but I've gotten used to it and can move around quickly when the site is not bogged down. I noticed some say when the change from the old format to new took place Ancestry lost information or it was changed. I don't understand that, I have thousands of people on my trees and nothing was lost nor changed. Having spent hundreds of hours on Ancestry I know some users do not property format dates nor places so that may be the problem. Ancestry has never changed any of my records or trees; the new format adjusted the presentation but not the records (2) Ancestry's search engine is a puzzle - the results at times make no sense, in short - I hate their search engine. HINT: When you do find a valid hint record and open it look along the right and you will see "Suggested Records - those tend to be credible and apply to the person you're researching. (3) Ancestry users tend to be cut and paste types meaning they pay no attention to the validity of the data thus many family trees are crap and should never be trusted as "factual". Some errors are so blatant you wonder how the person ever made the initial input didn't catch it but its, garbage in, garbage out. Example: very common to see parents too young to give birth or born AFTER their children. Lots of "huh? And those errors are repeated over and over. On that same note if you're posting pictures, documents etc, ensure you provide your source. I've seen the same picture for "Joe Smith" posted on Joe Smith's of varying age and location. Ancestry throws it up as a hint and users snap it up because there's no way to figure out it the Joe Smith is of your lineage or not. I've posted lots of pictures and I always provide an approximate date if one is not given, location, and identify the person(s) in the photo and any notation on the back of the photo. (4) Some Ancestry resources like: US and International Marriage Records, Millenium File and Family Records cannot be trusted. Use as a last resort. Find-A-Grave is also full of errors.

DNA - if you're doing the dna feature read the instructions carefully because there are multiple things to do. Once you get your kit you have to register it before you send it back for processing. And remember, you might think you know your ethnic background but dna is a different animal. Dna varies among children of the same family. My father's side is solid German and my mother mostly British. I'm 79% British by dna. My dad's German side doesn't make me 50% German in dna terms. Readup on dna for explanations. And in case you're wondering my dna test does validate ancestors (1st and 3rd cousins) on both my father and mothers side so I know who my parents are. Immediate family and first thru third cousins are the only really valid dna matchs. The rest is meaningless at this point although in the future it will help validate family matching.

BTW, I'm 63, male, am not a member of LDS nor associated with Ancestry. Just a regular guy who enjoys "serious" ancestry research as a hobby.

2 years experience using Ancestry
I was very new to family research in 2014, and pleasantly surprised at the vast amount of records available at Ancestry. These official records from Government agencies, parish records + more seemed to back up what I knew, and some records corrected family misinformation.

I even had a very heart warminmg success when my hairdresser casually told me about a relative who had been killed age 24 and she had brought up his little girl, now an adult. With just his name and city of birth I was able to trace his family, and she has now found her grandmother (who never knew about her granddaughter). Tough to argue with those kind of results.

And very positive results in tracing cousins ancestry. Of especial interest has been the Departure/Arrival information from National Archives, showing overseas travel. I located a 2nd cousin of my late father and he never knew we existed. I visited him just in time, he passed away 3 months after that. I wouldn't have found him without this information. Other family relatives are excited to see journeys that their parents made with themselves as infants

However, Other members public trees were a very different picture. I found other trees that had very incorrect information about my family. Some even had cousins that didn't exist (Ancestry were children of other couples who had same surnames, not even same first name). Many other public trees has wrong dates (off by years). I even went to the trouble of acquiring their birth certificates and putting that family in my tree (but disconnected from my family) so others could find it and see the errors. There needs to be a way to dispute incorrect information in other public trees, or a way to only allow validated portions of trees to be public.,

There is value is seeing other peoples trees, but there needs to be some sort of "rating" system to indicate relative quality/accuracy before other people just copy rubbish and make more rubbish.

This is very much a feature of today's world: "DisInformation". It really is troublesome to see so much rubbish, and makes it extremely hard to filter the good from the bad. I know feel the need to completely review all of my tree information that has been gleaned from other trees. Colour coding to separate an official record from a public tree would be useful (as some competitive tools allow). Be very careful with public trees. I now consider them almost 100% speculation. Just last week I was researching an ancestor from teh 1700'as and found a large group of people with the same info. Hmm. 'Strength in numbers?" NO. "fools never differ". They were all from another country, and had all keyed on someone who has exact same name but very different parts pf the country. There was a lone person who like me, just has a little bit of info. So the 2 of us (<10%) appears to have valid info, and 90% have rubbish. People act foolishly in crowds, and this is what Ancestry appears to be morphing into: A pool of rubbish driven by crowd instinct (and corporate greed), rather than a serious genealogical tool.

The DNA aspect is also questionable. I can trace my heritage to UK (87% UK, 13% Irish). Ancestry suggest that I am 22% Scandinavian (they got the 13% Irish correct)., Hmm. I suppose if you include the Vikings then everyone in UK is 22%. So I think that their sample/reference database is in error. I consider Ancestry DNA a waste of money, and just a gimmick. They may have scientific machinery performing tests, but they are making too much of a "leap of faith" in their assertions. I have taken other DNA tests (Family Tree and 23nad ME and find the FamilyTree research to be most effective, and better use of my money).

The clincher came with this new look and feel of their website. It is plain ugly. It is now harder (takes longer) to achieve tasks, Many more clicks, can no longer hover to get results). The insertion of arbitrary "this world event was going on at the same time" in the timeline is very annoying. I think this was built by folks who see the future as 100% tablets/touch screen oriented, and are excited by electronic toys.

The New Maybe/Undecided hints, while initially seeming useful, really isn't There is no way to search and find all the people that you have with Undecided hints. You have to look at each person individually to see if they have such hints once you have indicated Maybe. There is no way to search/find all the people that you have marked as Maybe.

There is no concept of backward compatibility, a concept poorly understood by new software developers (I have developed software for decades, even on these new tinker toy computers). They seem to think that changing something that has impact on customers is perfectly acceptable. New functionality is welcome, but provide it via new options that the user can activate/select when they are ready, not on a developers timetable,

Ancestry has lost me as a loyal customer. When my current subscription expires, I'm gone. Period. I'll come back when they pay me.

If you haven't yet signed up for Ancestry, don't bother. There are better places to waste your money.

Does NOT let you cancel your subscription
I've used ancestry for 5 years. In the past, it was easy to go on-line and cancel my subscription (when I got busy in life and wasn't working on my genealogy). I would then resubscribe and use it again when I had time. Well, I have a 6 month subscription that was scheduled to renew Dec 16 but decided to take a break for a while. Went in to cancel subscription on the website and it literally just took me back to the home page - the website has clearly been changed to not allow users access to the cancellation screen. After hunting around on the website, I found a customer service number. It said press 2 to cancel. I did so. I entered my account info, twice, and the automated voice told me it could not find my account (I was staring at my active account info on their website, so obviously, Ancestry have deactivated the ability to cancel by phone. I called back, and pressed 1, the line for people who want to upgrade their subscriptions and got a live human named Veronica. She claims that she cancelled my subscription and gave me a cancellation number. But based on the experience where they made it almost impossible to cancel, and the complaints on people on this board where their credit cards keep getting charged, I am going to also call my credit card company and put a fraud complaint in place so they don't charge my card. UNETHICAL. VERY DISAPPOINTED IN ANCESTRY. You used to be honest and had a good site. NO MORE. WILL NEVER USE YOU AGAIN>

I have a hard time believing that a professional genealogist...
I have a hard time believing that a professional genealogist finds up to snuff. It's not. It beats the old style; travel, legwork, letters, phone calls, begging, all that. Even w/ minimal expectations for a modern system I would think a professional would find it violates too many elements necessary to provide an effective, efficient, accurate, and current genealogical tool. Yes, it is an exciting concept; that everyone can share a little of the picture and all could paint the whole with a leg up from the country's many vital records... It seems to have a 'critical mass' of participants. Offers media, photo's and the like, that wouldn't otherwise be available, some bells and whistles. It is cheap storage, and not entirely inept. It will build a tree. Those prefabbed plug ins that other people have worked hard to get right, such as search engines generally work OK as long as one doesn't expect it too much, and it does search connections to a surprising quantity of databases. Even so, when I am in a pickle for info, I know of several harder working engines for particular tasks. But if it appears 'in house' or dedicated, the programming, and other peoples' use of it, is going to leave you frustrated. From my perspective, is a belief system. If you believe your Granny married herself, beget herself, and her in-laws, then that is what you will confront everyone else in the system with (Or when your kid gets hold of your password, etc. When errors are introduced, Ancestry have the tendency to snowball into fact.). This isn't an unusual example. There's not to be done but carve, carve, carve; and even w/ that attitude, after dogging through days and buckets of information that one would expect a computer to do what it does to, process, (they really can't compile 20 city directories of some one living at the same address, I have to slog through them individually or selectively dump the info!?) you will spend 25% or more of your time either making a tree out of other sources of info, or correcting the flood of mistakes that will inevitably end up on your plate no matter how diligent you are. Your choice. You'll also spend time and effort trying to hit their miniature targets with your mouse (it adds up), or miss the one they put right next to it that will take you off to no-man's-land. I ended up w/ tendonitis. My in-laws have informed me that they shared the same complaints that I now have w/ ancestry some ten or fifteen years ago. They gave up. Ancestry's choice seems to be to gussy up the template, update the color palate, make minor patches that in the end tend to slow down demand from me on its processing time, is what I see, as a likely choice when confronted w/ gutting the program and starting over which I suspect is what it would take. In my opinion, Ancestry simply could not have less commitment to their product, and spends substantial amounts of my time they could be investing in operational programming on apologizing for their failures (an example, "Thank you Sir, oh thank you for not yelling at me for things I can't fix or change." or waiting who knows how long before admitting they had a systemic issue w/ Firefox, and I had a well butchered tree. "Use Safari" they told me, but they don't support Safari and I ended up logging in every 'hint', then abandoning the project until they patched their browser issue), and leaving me in disbelief. It is an incredible time hog, and will require of you endless days to process what should properly, at this point in time, be compiled by a computer in a second. (Its comparable to say that Henry Ford has delivered to you a Model T in verdant green, which beats walking, then told you to go to the jungle to gather rubber sap from which you might make some tires because wooden wheels don't do so well on the freeway.) My impression is that they honestly believe that social graces are a sufficient and acceptable answer for a program that is so dysfunctional it would do no good to list all its issues, major, or minor. Woof. When thoroughly fed up w/ this state, they will then tell you they have a fix, in the form of the Family Tree Maker program. My suggestion is to read the fine print before you drop the extra $75. This is simply no place to be, having invested the time and effort into creating a tree that spans what seems like eons now; to be vested in this questionable program, not have any answers on how to actually make it perform as sold (and not merely as disclaimed in the fines), or even protect what information I have gathered from its supposed cure, FTM, which malfunctioned, and took a month to replace. I just want this experience over. I'll likely take what I can get out of it (I am still not clear on exactly what I will be able to take w/ me w/o ancestry's platform but I am still hoping) and leave in the past. I now wish I had investigated this a little more thoroughly. I'm now in the position to ask, would I give these characters my DNA?

Ancestry misleading advertising and broken links in website
This troubles me. I have been a steady member of Ancestry since 2009. I have since quit my full year subscription because of misleading advertisements. Ancestry treat you like a horse where they dangle the carrot just out of reach so that you can buy another product from them. Case in point is after you join you will get an email saying there are clues or "hints". When you clik their hints link it brings you to their join ancestry page and the link stops there. This happens every time.
I have over combined 3000 people in 5 different trees there. I am presently downloading them in a GEDCOM form to up load to another program.
SO... I get a "special " price on Ancestry "All Access" which includes and Fold3. I didnt find out until after I ordered the 6mos subscription that it was only a "basic" membership to these and that you had to ad another 30.00 to access that. I had years ago and let me assure you... they are useless too. Fast forward from ancestryto present day and I get a notice that there is a DNA match... How can there be a match when I never submitted a DNA sample?
BUYER BEWARE! They are all full of hidden charges you dont get to see until you join just once. Their customer service SUCKS! Should be able to clear things up with a simple email but they want you to hang on hold for 2 hrs hoping you will forget what you called for

Best collection of records currently available anywhere
I've subscribed to Ancestry since the beginning (around 1999)- when Ancestry had only a couple of census records and they were only partly indexed. I've been amazed at the whining and complaining I see from all of the one star posts. Like any other "contract" you need to read through the fine print and understand what you are agreeing to before signing, rather than skip the agreement part, click on "agree" then get angry.
We should be intelligent enough to know that all business change hands, and all businesses change policies. The only way to keep your data and documents secure is to have your own copy- whether that is a paper copy or an electronic file. That's what genealogy software on your computer is for. In fact, it's wise to keep a copy off site as well (a disk at a family member's house, for example) to protect you against a fire/flood, etc.
This site has the largest collection of vital records anywhere, conveniently located, available at all hours. I began doing genealogy when the only options were to write letters and visit archives. I can use Ancestry without having to drive somewhere or make appointments- or spend additional money to access a repository. Gas, parking fees, entrance fees, copy fees, and travel time are all hidden costs to doing genealogy research. I've spent as much as $50 for one record. It doesn't take long to add up. The price of Ancestry for one year is cheap for all that is available, and for the convenience, and for the opportunity to collaborate.
I love the hinting feature, where Ancestry searches for possible record matches when I'm not even online. I have plenty to check out every time I get on. I love that I can send/receive messages from others regarding research and individuals (corrections, additions, etc). I have made some wonderful connections with distant relatives that would never have happened without this site. It's great to collaborate with others! Doing so has unlocked many doors and expanded my research and knowledge.
It's not a perfect company (I haven't found any that are), and I've have disputes with them over the years. When I have had a serious disagreement, I call and talk to them- and keep talking to them until we find a resolution. Staying calm and reasonable and working together makes that possible. We have to do our part- read contracts, understand them, ask questions, understand the purpose of the website (find our ancestors, not find living classmates for example- one of the complaints I read), understand what records are available- they may not have records for the time period and area you need, etc. It doesn't mean the company is a "rip-off" just because you didn't do your part and understand what the "free trial" was or what records are available.

Website is Sometimes Agonizingly Slow
I have been a member of Ancestry for many, many years now. When I first started as a member, the site was great and always flew really fast no matter what time of the day. Since Ancestry started their television show and have had so many people try it out, it has gotten agonizingly, frustratingly slow during peak times. I also have weird results come up on the search feature, but have learned to use "suggested hints" a lot. Those are usually very valid, although even they occasionally freak out.

One thing I'm not overly happy about is that the price keeps climbing. With so many additional members, one would think that the price would go down. But then I have to remember supply and demand...

Overall the site is really easy to use and has been very valuable to me in my family research. I did notice that once the television series started, results from other members trees became highly questionable as many of the two-weekers (as I call them) just copied and pasted a lot of garbage. I do wish Ancestry would delete the trees of the two-weekers as those are not serious genealogists like so many of the rest of us that have been using and paying for the use of the site are.

Just a note on upgrading to a world subscription: read the directions on cancelling this. You must fully cancel your account online, and if you want to go back to just a United States subscription, you then have to call customer service to have your account reinstated with just a United States subscription. Yes, it's a pain, but those are the rules.

I do not belong to the LDS, nor do I work for Ancestry. I'm just a user who realizes the value that they are providing, although I wish the site was faster.

Leslie Q

Ancestry is great for taking your money but giving...
Ancestry is great for taking your money but giving you poor customer service. Ancestry have no cyber-bullying policy and refuse to do anything about it. They refuse to accept any responsibility and are more protective of the bully than the victim. In this instance, the victim did all that Ancestry asked them to do but the bully did not. Yet the bully still has control of the family message board and strictly controls who can see what. The bully has gone so far as to claim that a state issued birth certificate is not sufficient evidence to acknowledge a person. You can talk to people at corporate but they choose to protect the bully. I guess its going to have to get to a level where people are hurt before Ancestry steps up and realizes that their policies are not even worth the paper its printed on, if printed, or the zeros and ones on your computer screen. They only care about getting their money each month from you. Their customer service reps can't even follow a supposide standardized company policy. Often times the CSR's take it upon themselves to try to resolve an issue that is all ready at the corporate level. I do not recommend anymore.

Terrible customer service
This company has horrible/non existent customer service. We went to purchase the DNA genealogy kit yesterday. My wife selected apple pay as the option, as it was listed on their website as the most trusted and secure payment method. Immediately upon pressing it, without having any order confirmation to review and approve the payment was processed. This was surprising, but then we realized we meant to use a different DNA service. Ancestry were closed to cancel on Thanksgiving, which is reasonable. However, today we called to cancel, they stated they were unable to cancel the order because it was through apple pay. Elevated to supervisor, after several explanations that they are the company supplying the product, they need to be able to stop orders, same story. They can't cancel because it is through apple pay despite the payment being directly linked to my debit card, and my bank debiting ancestry directly. They can't do anything manually, they won't call anyone to cancel, they have no manual options to email anyone to cancel. Its not on their electronic system so they can't help us. They say call apple pay to cancel payment which they can't do, and banks don't cancel debit payments because they are automatic. A company that is unable to process cancelations of their own product is ludicrous! They also say there's a 15 dollar return fee for returned items. We can't even head this off now like we are trying to! They have no other emails or phone numbers to use. Only people that can't help. Thanks a lot "chris" and "joe" and for atrocious scam policies. Order #252844171

Ancestry Deletes Data You Enter unless You Pay for the International Subscription
I and 2 cousins did research in 1700 to 1900s old, handwritten Norwegian parish books, as well as Norwegian country records from various counties and towns. I have spent decades on my family tree and researched within handwritten Norwegian records dating back to 1700s. I have spent $1000s on 4 DNA tests and 12 years of Ancestry subscriptions. Now Ancestry have deleted messages with other Ancestry members, with no notice. Unless I pay for the International Subscription, I cannot access data I download from the original sources. They do not keep the links from the original sources and turn them into HTML Ancestry files and not original jpgs. So you save the link to Ancestry, not the original document you researched. Remember you are paying them high subscription prices to do data base entry for their company. They don't pay you, you pay them to enter your family's information which was hacked in 2017. They only care for profit, not you as a customer. Go to another site where the information is not charged extra. Don't build your tree on Ancestry, you have no control over it. Download the data and make a tree offline. And don't use Family Tree Builder. It is no longer supported.

Big Time Waster
I have been using Ancestry for a few months now, so I have some experience with all of its features.
On the positive side, provides nice family tree navigation tools and access to many historic public records - which definitely give it value.
My big complaint with is it's just a huge waste of time! is designed to be subscription-based puzzle game for building family trees - not a family tree tool. There's no technical reason why each subscriber must waste dozens (for some people hundreds) of hours rebuilding family trees, which were already built by dozens of people before them. I personally don't have the time, nor interest, in spending hundreds of hours recreating the wheel. There is only one family tree, which we all belong, there is absolutely no reason there are thousands of trees scattered across It's simply a revenue model Ancestry feel locks people into long-term subscriptions - which may be fine for people interested in researching and puzzle solving - but Ancestry should offer pricing which allows individuals to simply leverage work done by others. I have canceled my subscription, perhaps if new management wakes up in the future I will return to enjoy a view my family tree option - instead of playing your silly puzzle game.

If you want to ruin lives, go ahead and take the test
Every one has secrets. I woke up to finding out my mother who owns her own "pedestal" the one she so proudly sat on and dictated to us 3 kids and how to be perfect every single day of our lives, is actually a big whore. 3 kids, 3 different Dads, and she had her husband for 50 years convinced he was the father. She made him pay child support after the divorce, she reminded us daily on how bad of a father he was, he "beat" her, he was "jealous", he was selfish, he was this he was that. She forgot to leave out she was a cheating lying whore and was having affairs with his best friends.

You may know who your parents are, but there are dirty secrets everywhere. While you think your DNA test may be harmless it may kill another. I have 20+ families members who have not ate, have not slept, who spilled more tears in a week then in 30 years. Grandma is not Grandma, Dad is not Dad, uncles, aunts cousins. My birth certificate is lie, my life is lie. I haven't worked in 4 days, my sister is contemplating suicide ready to go back to the nut ward. The man that raised me, my father is crushed. I have never seen him cry so much. There is so much agony. I wish this on NO ONE.

I already had most of the ground work in hard paper...
I already had most of the ground work in hard paper copy I collected over 20 years of searching. THEN I used Ancestry/Archives at the local library. ALL was fine. Decided to get the 6month work deluxe for 149.00. ALL was fine. UNTIL, I started getting into information leading around Historic people/Events. I found TWICE a connector link had gone missing after I logged onto Ancestry. Oh, it left the kid, but without the parents, of that kid. Ya don't have a kid. Which is what/who was the connecter person leading to the next link of the tree. I Back tracked on my information. And it IS correct. So. I input it again. NOW, I don't know what the problem is on this kind of sites. BUT. I think its scam. A swindle... IM not renewing my subscription. Mid next month. Im done... AND since. Church of Latter Day Saints. Information has slowly vanished as well. Or refer ya to ancestry to view the item. And/or. Let you view after creating a "free" account and signing in. ONLY to not be able to sign in again. As the sign in and passwords. Dont work after the 1st time. I have tried everything. And still can't gain entry on that either now...
Bottom line. Ancestry is fine. TILL you get so far. After that. Ancestry block, pull, delete, info you had in your tree. Suggest ya keep a hard paper copy, a disk back up too..

Unforgiving of User Errors
I signed up with Ancestry to research my mom's family history on the date of her death. I mistyped my email address. A month later when I went to cancel, I could not find my membership... because I had keyed it wrong. Not knowing this, I input all my emails and no results. I tried this for a couple months and was starting to lose my mind. I eventually found a phone number and called Ancestry. The customer service person was polite. After trying all my emails that were not going to work, he agreed, and did a search by a partial cc number. He found I did mistype my email address. My questions is why does Ancestry not have an email verification at time of enrollment? It would avoid these, albeit, user errors. I asked to cancel and, as luck would have it, I called on my renewal date and was told I would be charged $24.99 on the current date and it would cancel a full month later. Crazy! Luckily the guy who helped me asked his supervisor to allow for a refund for the current month that started on that day, and the credit was issued. Again, why is there no confirming email at time of enrollment? Life would be much easier with this small safeguard.

Scam uses dark patterns to trick you into thinking you've cancelled your subscription so Ancestry can charge you. After it appears as though you've cancelled your subscription, you end up on a landing page with a lot of information no one cares about. Hidden away in the corner is a link that says "Cancel Membership" and if you don't see it and click it, your account hasn't been cancelled and you will be charged. In my case it lead me to being charged for my free trial period even though I only used the site for one day and attempted to cancel it on the 11th day. They don't offer any sort of refund for this, which is further evidence that they are deliberately predatory.

Aside from their behavior as a company, I didn't find the site particularly useful. I found a few interesting old documents there, but for the most part every bit of useful information came out of publicly available obituaries or Most documents I looked up on just redirected me to anyway and I had to make an account there.

Users can make family trees, which can be interesting, but they can also be very inaccurate, as all of the ones featuring my family were.

On the whole I wouldn't recommend the site very highly without their scammy behavior. They don't notify you when they charge you either, so if you don't see it in your bank records, you won't even notice that they charge you each month for a free trial that they engineered to make you think you cancelled. I even initially failed to successfully cancel it while chatting with support about cancelling it.

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Based on 50 reviews from Ancestry customers, company has accumulated an average rating of 1 stars, indicating that majority of customers are not satisfied with its service.
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Description: Discover your family history and start your family tree. Try free and access billions of genealogy records including Census, SSDI & Military records.

Address: 1300 West Traverse Parkway, 84043


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