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Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, FindMyPast: What’s Best?

Understanding one’s genealogy can be an exciting venture that threads together the rich tapestry of your family history. Whether it’s tracing your ancestors back to their roots or delving into forgotten family stories, ancestry research platforms – like Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and FindMyPast – bring these possibilities right to your fingertips.

If you find yourself considering Ancestry vs FamilySearch vs MyHeritage vs FindMyPast for your genealogical journey but don’t know which one suits you best, we have got you covered! All these platforms offer unique tools and databases for researching family history.

Ancestry vs FamilySearch vs MyHeritage vs FindMyPast: A Comprehensive Comparison

Genealogy research has grown in popularity with the advent of DNA testing and an increase in easily accessible historical records. In response to this, several platforms facilitate family history research by providing resources and tools for individuals to trace their ancestry. Four of the

Ancestry vs FamilySearch vs MyHeritage vs FindMyPast: A Comprehensive Comparison
Ancestry vs FamilySearch vs MyHeritage vs FindMyPast

main contenders in this space are Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and FindMyPast. Let’s dive into a comprehensive comparison for better understanding.

Background Overview

  • Ancestry: Established in 1985, Ancestry started as a publishing company but quickly shifted focus towards genealogy research tools. It is renowned for its comprehensive database collection and advanced DNA testing services that enable users to uncover extensive information about their family history.
  • FamilySearch: Sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), FamilySearch was launched in 1999. With free access to an exhaustive range of historical records worldwide alongside supportive volunteer assistance, it emerged as a popular platform, especially among the budget-conscious segment.
  • MyHeritage: Founded in 2003, initially focusing on connecting families across the globe via technology paired with genealogical database creation, eventually led it to offering DNA testing services, making it an even more versatile tool for tracking familial roots.
  • FindMyPast: British-based FindMyPast was established in 1965 with a substantial original British and Irish database, making it particularly useful for those seeking UK or Irish roots.

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Why Compare?

Comparing these platforms helps potential users identify which service might best fulfill their specific needs based on parameters like depth & breadth of record databases, usability & flexibility definition depending upon unique features offered by each platform, such as online tree building or availability of DNA services, etc.

Deep Dive into Each Service

To truly understand the value each platform has to offer, we need to delve deeper into their specific features, strengths, and weaknesses.

Ancestry in Focus

Ancestry is arguably one of the most widely recognized genealogy platforms globally. It lays claim to a wide array of features, such as:

  • An extensive database: Ancestry boasts accessing over 20 billion historical records and over 100 million family trees.
  • DNA Testing: Their comprehensive DNA testing service gives a detailed breakdown of ethnicity and can successfully trace ancestors across different continents.

Despite its strengths, however, some issues might deter potential users:

  • Complexity: As a complex platform with numerous elements, beginners may find it slightly daunting at first.
  • Cost: Though it offers a two-week trial period, Ancestry comes with higher subscription costs compared to others.

Comprehensive Look at FamilySearch

FamilySearch stands out for its abundant resources, all available for free, making it possibly the best bargain on our list. Some defining attributes include:

  • Affordability: Free access to billions of historical records
  • Strong community support: FamilySearch encourages collaborative research via shared notes & suggestions


  • Limited scope for DNA testing services
  • The user interface could seem dated when compared to newer platforms

Breaking Down MyHeritage

MyHeritage distinguishes itself by focusing specifically on European history, which can be of great benefit depending upon the nature of your family search. Key features include:

  • Region-Specific Resources: Specific focus on European genealogy
  • User-friendly Interface: Very engaging & intuitive design

A flip side could be

  • Pricing Model: No permanent free option is available
  • Limited Historical Records in comparison with its counterparts Dissecting FindMyPast

Known for its rich UK-origin resources, FindMyPast can be particularly useful when tracing back roots from that part of the world.Its primary strengths include:

  • Specialization: A rich collection of U.K. census records, historical newspapers, and parish records.
  • Access to PERSI (Periodical Source Index): Largest subject index to genealogy and local history periodicals.

Negatives could be :

  • Pricing: An expensive service with no free tier
  • Limited globally diverse resources.

Each service offers unique USPs & combinations of various features. It is crucial to understand your specific research needs before choosing the right platform for yourself.

Comparing Key Features

When diving into the realm of ancestry-related platforms, it’s necessary to understand some key features they offer and how they compare. This includes aspects such as online tree-building capabilities, DNA testing services, and the breadth of available records.

Online Tree Building: Ancestry vs FamilySearch vs MyHeritage vs FindMyPast

The ability to build an online family tree is one of the basic offerings of these genealogy platforms:

  • Ancestry: This platform arguably offers one of the most comprehensive and intuitive family tree-building tools. Users can start with simple information like their name, parents’ names, etc., and let Ancestry’s algorithms do the rest. The platform automatically scours its databases for any information related to your inputted family members.
  • FamilySearch: Operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, FamilySearch perhaps has the largest user-collaborated Family Tree in the world. However, this also means multiple users may edit a single entry, sometimes leading to errors or conflicts in data.
  • MyHeritage: Known for its sleek user interface design & accurate match suggestions. It also provides a color coding system that allows you to sort people by lineage or other factors within your family tree.
  • FindMyPast: Mainly focused on UK records it offers a fairly good but not sophisticated functionality for building an online family tree when compared with others.

In terms of usability & comprehensiveness {ease-of-use and depth}, Ancestry could be considered superior, whereas if the collaborative effort is desired, then FamilySearch stands out.

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DNA Testing Services: A Comparative Analysis

Many people are interested in gaining insight into their ethnic heritage through DNA tests:

  • Ancestry: Offers Autosomal DNA testing services, which give an ethnicity breakdown and relative matches across all lines in your paternal & maternal heritage up to 1,000 years ago.
  • FamilySearch: Interestingly, FamilySearch doesn’t offer DNA testing services. This could be a drawback for users wanting a one-stop-shop experience.
  • MyHeritage: Offers autosomal DNA test with Genetic Groups feature that allows deeper exploration of your ethnic and geographic origins.
  • FindMyPast: In partnership with LivingDNA, it provides three types of tests – autosomal, Y-DNA (male lineage), and mtDNA (maternal line).

For expansive coverage – Ancestry and MyHeritage are recommended, whereas for gender-specific (Direct-Line ancestors) lineage insights – FindMyPast would be the top choice.

Available Records Comparison: Ancestry versus FamilySearch versus MyHeritage versus FindMyPast

Genealogy research largely depends on the variety & depth of available historical records:

  • Ancestry: Has over 20 billion online archival records, which is the largest among all platforms. It covers everything from census birth/marriage/death records to military documents.
  • FamilySearch: Boasts a rich pool of more than 3 billion digital images & scanned microfilms primarily focusing on North America & Europe but lacks in some areas such as Australia, South America, etc.
  • MyHeritage: Provides access to over 9 billion international record collections, including those from often neglected areas like Eastern Europe, which is their unique selling point.
  • FindMyPast: Specializes in Irish and British record collections.

Thus, if you’re looking into worldwide general historical research – Ancestry or MyHeritage would meet that need, while for those specifically interested in the British Isles – FindmyPast will fulfill your requirement excellently that others cannot.

Pricing Structure Comparison

When seeking out the best platform for genealogical research, one of the determining factors may be the pricing structure. Each forum – Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, and FindMyPast has unique subscription plans aimed to cater to different user needs.

Pricing Structure Comparison
Pricing Structure Comparison

Subscription Costs – A Comparative Look at Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage and FindMyPast

To help you make an informed decision about which platform might suit your needs (and your wallet) best, we have broken down the various subscription costs associated with each site.

  • Ancestry: They offer a choice between three different subscriptions – U.S. Discovery ($19.99 per month or $99 per six months), World Explorer ($34.99 per month or $149 for six months), and All Access ($44.99 per month or $199 for six months). The All Access package includes memberships to and, which provide additional resources for ancestry research. Free trials are available but typically require payment information upfront.
  • FamilySearch: In contrast to most other platforms, FamilySearch is entirely free! It survives on donations from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who manage its operations. Even though its free-to-use model significantly outstrips other platforms in terms of cost-effectiveness, it might come lacking in certain features & functionalities offered by others.
  • MyHeritage: It offers a Basic plan that is free but comes with limitations, such as being able to only add up to 250 individuals to your family tree. Additionally, they offer four different premium subscriptions – Premium ($129 annually), PremiumPlus (($209 annually), Data ($189 annually), and Complete (the all-inclusive package at $299 annually). Higher-tier packages include expanded family tree capacity & exclusive access to historical records.
  • FindMyPast: Provides two main subscription options – Starter ($34.95 for three months) and Premium ($89.95 for six months).

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Frequently Asked Question

Do these platforms offer free trials or discounts?

Yes, both Ancestry and MyHeritage offer limited-period free trials, while occasional deals & discounts may also be available across all sites.

Which is the most cost-effective platform among Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, or FindMyPast?

FamilySearch is free, making it distinctly cost-effective; however, other offerings may provide more features & functionalities against a fee.

Are the results provided by these platforms reliable?

Yes, all four platforms are recognized in genealogical circles and are known for providing accurate and reliable results.

Which platform offers DNA testing services?

Among the four platforms, Ancestry and MyHeritage offer comprehensive DNA testing services.

What is the best platform for beginners?

FamilySearch, with its free-to-use model and user-friendly interface, can be an excellent platform for beginners.

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In the pursuit of uncovering familial roots and building family trees, selecting the right platform is a critical step. Each genealogical research site – Ancestry, FamilySearch, MyHeritage, or FindMyPast offers unique strengths that cater to varied user needs.

Your choice must align with your specific requirements – whether it is DNA testing services, depth of archival records, user-friendly interface, or cost-effectiveness. As each platform holds its own merits and limitations; we hope this comparison arms you with enough information to make an informed decision in your search for ancestral roots.