Monday, April 16, 2018

Geneorama 2018

My husband and I helped in the Research Room at Geneorama which is the generally yearly genealogical conference held by the Ottawa Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society. We had a number of people use the databases which had been provided to the event by Ancestry, FindMyPast and My Heritage. Since I am a subscriber to all three I thought I might write up some of the thoughts that came to me when people asked which one was the best. I would say right off the top that none of these services are better than the other they simply offer material sometimes similar but often quite different and from different areas of the world.

Because my ancestry is 100% England itself thus far (i.e. all of my forebearers were born in the counties of England except for my mother, her father and his mother who were born in Canada but their parentage was English). Three of my grandparents were born and lived in England to adulthood and in the case of my father who was also born in England his parents were close to 40 years of age when they came to Canada with him as a child of nine years.

I will talk about the three databases in alphabetical order as that is the easiest way to present them.

Ancestry offers a lot of American records which is one of the reasons I do not use it as often as Find My Past. I do not have any American ancestors but do have a number of American cousins (2nd cousins) and their descendants. Ancestry also offers a lot of British Isles records and on occasion I do use the database when I can not find a particular record on Find My Past. There are some databases on Ancestry that are not on Find My Past. Ancestry has a DNA service with over 8 million subscribers. For me this is the greatest benefit that I derive from Ancestry as I have four of us (siblings) on Ancestry and I have had a few interesting matches that have been quite helpful. Ancestry does not have a chromosome browser limiting the value of this service to my research project for phasing my grandparent's autosomal DNA. The ability to create as many trees as you wish in Ancestry is also interesting. They do offer hints which can be quite helpful.

Find My Past is the service of which I make the greatest use. Their databases are extremely helpful in my family research but also for my one name studies. They offer the 1939 Register which I have found extremely handy in my DNA research as well as writing up my family history. The military records are quite extensive and I found my great grandfather wounded after the first Boer War which exactly matched the stories which my grandmother had mentioned. I had a number of questions about Find My Past yesterday. Find My Past does not offer DNA testing and one wonders if in the near future this service will offer DNA as their two major competitors do do so.

My Heritage has a lot of European records which makes it very handy for my husband's research. I do searches on My Heritage but I make the greatest use of their new DNA database. They offer a chromosome browser which offer triangulation of results a nice extra. This database got a lot of use at the Conference and there were a number of queries about My Heritage.

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