Genealogy Reviews
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Who Do You Think You Are?

Who Do You Think You Are?

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Taking a cross-section of readers with different research needs and levels of experience, they were set up with basic membership of five of the biggest websites for eight weeks to see what they made of them. Our five recruits tested the following websites...

... with 3/5 reviewers rating
as their No. 1 site.

Like Jane, Marjorie noted that content was geared towards English users: "It is not as expansive as some websites. Content is limited and I was unable to find entries for Lancashire and Nottinghamshire in parish records." Mike, however, was more than happy: "Data for my membership level was very good. I also like the Surname Concentration Maps: very informative."

Our testers thought the basic record holdings met expectations, and you can search the census by address. Raymond said transcripts were better than other sites. Marjorie gave it top marks: "An excellent selection - Channel Islands censuses and nonconformist BMDs, quality transcripts and a facility to report errors. I like the census search by county and year, I found several ancestors".

But's more advanced content - particularly the huge number of databases - made it top of the class. "Within 30 minutes I had found 1, 2 and 3 x great grandparents using the master search of all databases as well as address functions and the use of the wildcard," said Marjorie. Raymond was "impressed by extras such as the ability to display the geographic changes of a surname through the censuses".

The site was, in most categories, rated above the competition with out testers who were particularly impressed by its ease of navigation, family tree builder, variety and scope of content, as well as the value for money. Three of the five picked as their top site.


Subscription: Annual £78.95;
six-monthly £44.95

Pay-per-View: From £5

Free Trial: go to for a 30-day trial with 25 credits

An all-rounder that was popular with our reviewers for its value, content and ease of navigation, as well as its impressive range of functions and features. is run by data provider S&N Genealogy Supplies. As well as holding good basic records (all censuses are complete, with plans to add the 1911 as soon as practical), you can search a whopping 1,100 English parish register transcripts, which can take your family back as far as 1538. It is also home to the Official Non-parochial BMDs set - records of nonconformist groups from Quakers to Methodists. And it offers subscribers c1911 data on several English counties to tie in with the most recent census; lists of the Knights of England going back to 12th century and a Surname Concentration Map, 1851-2002.

This was the most popular site with three of our testers - Raymond, Marjorie and Mike. But what was it they liked so much?

Our reviewers like the surname map

Our testers couldn't agree. Raymond found it "very easy to navigate; the home page well laid out and useful". Conversely, Marjorie said: "As a new user, I would have benefited from clear terminology, eg 'BMD/Census' rather than 'Research View'."

"I'm really impressed
by the extra features"

Raymond, the intermediate researcher

FAMILY TREE BUILDER's family tree builder got a good response. Marjorie liked "the clear screens and the drop-down list. I would have preferred to see more guidance on adding sources". Research Log, Research View and Tree View facilities appealed to Mike.

All but Scottish reviewer Jane felt the site was worth the fee, mainly because of the wealth of data. "The all-inclusive 12-month subscription is excellent value; search features and transcriptions are excellent," enthused Marjorie. Mike added: "Very good value. It's overwhelming at first but then the world if your oyster."

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