, bad practice or just shrewd?

I’ve got no idea about how good the actual service provided by is – I never got that far. I was puddling about doing some research recently when I stumbled across the site. There’s a free trial so I thought I’d take a look.

On the first page I was required to enter all that generic type of information that we’ve come to expect but on the second page, woah! they want my credit card details! I thought that kind of thinking died away years ago, but no it’s alive and well and living at

I bailed at that point and took my researching elsewhere and what a good thing I did too. Today I’ve received an email telling me about people with my surname according to US Immigration records.

So here’s the rub guys

  • Who said what surname I was researching… it might not be my own. My name, Sarah, is pretty universally used for women. Don’t know any guys called Sarah so there’s a fair chance that I’m married and not using the surname (last name) that I was born with so there’s an equally fair chance that I’m researching other names
  • Who said I was researching Americans? They know from when I completed the first part of the form that I wasn’t logged on from the USA and so the follow up emails shouldn’t be centered on that. Their blurbs do imply that they rely heavily on US data but if they don’t go beyond that (other than by the contributions of members) then that should be clearly stated.

I’ve removed myself from their mailers. Hopefully that’ll be the end of that 🙂


Recent Comments



  1. dr
    July 16, 2005

    I became a member of early on before it became what it is. Most of the search engines(around 1998) were free then. Most of ancestry’s data was also free. Then they started asking for membership fees. Ok, I did this ($200. annual) under the assumption one could access all databases since it was the best membership. Not true, for UK records, there is an additional fee involved. Hello, almost all americans are immigrated from somewhere–mine was from the UK.Also, their newspaper database sucks. It does not access all newspapers and sometimes when you put in a name it will give you part of the name in a word? Such as Seum–it came up with museum.A great many of the genealogy sites that were once free are now linked directly to ancestry–it is a monoploy of sorts. I have been doing this for eight years (still a newbie), but you can rarely access census or anything without somehow turning up on ancestry once again, who wants a fee of course. So all the sites that claim”free” are but only for 14 days. Its a misconception. I have since been travelling around as much as possible.

  2. August 12, 2005

    I joined Ancestry some years ago when they offered the membership for something like $6.95 monthly. Since that time they have jumped in price, and I felt I could no longer afford it [especially with a disabling illness and cost of monthly medicine, etc.]

    Some representative called me in 2004 and told me my subscription was expiring in near future and I told him I didn’t want to ‘re-up’ a subscription. He asked if he could call again in a couple of months and see if I’d changed my mind. I told him there was no need to call again, that I wouldn’t be changing my mind.

    Well, the outfit charged my credit card anyway and after a call to Ancestry, I thought they’d removed the charge [on husband’s acct.] as I was never allowed to research Ancestry as before.

    Then just this June 26, 2005, they charged our acct. with another year’s subscription. After a call and some screaming, I was able to get a representative to agree to a reimbursement.

    Since she told me my subscription had ended in June of 2005 from when I renewed in 2004 I looked up my old charge acct records. Lo and behold they never credited my acct. last year.

    I spoke with a rep at Ancestry this morning and they say they won’t refund the money. They could tell I hadn’t used [couldn’t get on] the outfit and say that I was trying to get on by using the wrong pass word. She said she’d reached my acct. just this morning by using the correct password. [I am not even offered the area where one can sign on.]

    When I do reach the Ancestry web site, I am deemed a registered guest… no more… no less. My advice to anyone thinking of subscribing to ancestry is to research their reputation.

    I was even told that the young man who called in 2004 had no authority to either re-new, or close my account. Goodness, then why do they have anyone making the calls?

    Crazy outfit is all I can say.

  3. Tawny
    December 23, 2005

    Call or go online to the Better Business Bureau and put in a complaint. You will get your money
    back after quite a bit of time. I did this with another company. Works really well.

    Hope it works for you.

  4. December 23, 2005

    Thanks Tawny, I must check them out, but in this instance I didn’t part with my $$$

  5. May 4, 2009

    I like several others was on Ancestry when they first started. They didn’t charge for nothing now it’s $300.00 a yr. I feel if I down load my information (Which I haven’t in the last few years) I shouldn’t have to pay a fee. I have over 5,000 names in my tree and each has been researched and I am not going to give it to Ancestry. If everyone did this they wouldn’t have any way of getting information and they would have to bring their prices down.

  6. Chris A.
    June 9, 2011 has highjacked the genealogy web! All public and private websites eventually now link back to for their paid portal.
    This should be a very serious crime!
    Public records should be for anyone to view as constitutionally, intended by our state and federal governments. So how is it justified for to make a profit on these records?

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