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Did you know that one of the most powerful tools for researching your family offers a free trial?
Ancestry.com is likely the most powerful resource available in the world today for creating a family tree, exploring the world of genetic genealogy, and really understanding your heritage. Ancestry not only gives you things like census records and death records, but you can correlate your family tree to a DNA test. Not only do they have more users than any other DNA testing company (18+ million), but they have also been curating a genealogy service for decades!
Ancestry will give you a 14-day trial, to explore the site and start building your family tree. But, there are several very important things you need to know before you sign up! This article gives expert tips on how to take full advantage of Ancestry’s offer - and make sure you aren’t charged a cent!
Ancestry Free Trial Tips and Tricks
Before you sign up for the two-week free trial with Ancestry, make sure you follow these simple rules. The experts here at Genomelink have designed these rules specifically to help you get as much from your free access period as possible!
1. Go Big, or Go Home - Go For All Access
Ancestry paid subscriptions are available at three different levels: U.S. Discovery, World Explorer, and All Access. The free trial that you get depends on which level you select at the initial free trial offer page. Each level has access to different parts of the site, and the All Access free trial gives you access to Newspapers.com (helpful to find published stories about your family) and Fold3.com (a site that compiles military records).
So, if you really want to see the power of Ancestry - All Access is the only way to go!
2. Select the Monthly Membership Option (for the free trial)!
It is tempting to select the 6-month membership option, as the savings are clearly highlighted in red. But, considering that Ancestry has a reputation for being notoriously hard to cancel, select the All Access monthly membership option.
This is an important step to protect yourself from getting overcharged. While the trial is technically free, Ancestry does require a credit card number or a PayPal account to get started. You will “checkout” - though you will not be charged if you cancel in time and your payment method will not be used. If you are unable to cancel your paid membership in time, this is the amount you will get charged. So, if you select the $199 option, that’s what you will be charged - even if you wish to cancel but are unable to do so in time.
3. Cancel, Even if you Like It
If you enjoy your free trial and plan on using Ancestry for 6-months or more, you will definitely want to save money by paying for 6-months at a time. With the All Access membership, you save $100 over a 6-month period. If you select the monthly membership ($49.99) to protect yourself from a $199 charge, they will start charging this monthly rate once the free trial period is over.
So, the smartest thing to do is to sign up for the free trial under the monthly rate, then cancel and switch to a 6-month rate if you plan on keeping the paid membership!
4. To Ancestry, “14 Day Trial” really means <12 days…
If you read the fine print on Ancestry’s Free Trial website, you will notice that in order to not get charged you must cancel your membership at least 2 days before your free trial is over. The free trial period is 14 days, which means you only have 12 days to cancel your membership.
One of the biggest complaints about Ancestry is that they make it very hard to cancel subscriptions. Almost all of their negative reviews on sites like Trustpilot have something to do with the company charging someone for a subscription who had clearly tried canceling. Some people have even complained that Ancestry automatically converted their free Ancestry Account into a paid membership after they had canceled, but had searched a name in the database.
Our advice is to start your attempts to cancel much earlier than day 12. You should probably start your cancellation efforts on day 9 or 10 of your free membership. This will give you plenty of time to complete your cancellation without any ridiculous rules getting in your way. That brings us to our next point…
5. Give Yourself Enough Time to Explore
Ancestry is a massive resource, and the All Access membership will give you billions of documents and historical records to explore. If you want to fully maximize your free trial, you must realize 2 things:
- You only have 12 days (Maximum, before you get charged)
- It would take years to explore all that Ancestry has to offer.
Considering these points, time your sign-up accordingly. Make sure that you can use as much time as possible during the free trial period to explore the many marriage records, international records, and other vital records. This will also give you time to build as much of your family tree as possible before your renewal date. Ideally, you should dedicate most of a week to exploring Ancestry and trying to build as much of your family tree as possible during the trial period. If you don’t like what Ancestry has to offer or want to explore cheaper options, you can always download the family tree you have completed as a GEDCOM file and use it on other websites!
6. Learn more with AncestryDNA
The Ancestry DNA kit allows users to find more relatives and connect to even more family trees, based solely on DNA. If you have already taken an AncestryDNA test, these results can be correlated to your free trial account - giving you many more connections to explore during your free 14 day trial.
If Ancestry is Too Expensive, try these other sites!
FamilySearch is a free genealogy program operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The family trees they maintain contain over 1.2 billion people! This makes them not only one of the largest family tree services on the internet, but also makes them the only free service with such a massive ability to create and connect to other family trees. Plus, with a free membership to the site, you can also access billions of historical records - from birth certificates to records of military service. The site has also recently rolled out a mobile app - allowing you to do genealogical research right from your phone!
AccessGenealogy.com is a free compilation of historical record collections from the United States. Not only does the site maintain one of the largest free records databases available, but it also has special sections for Black Genealogy and Native American ancestry within the U.S. records it maintains! Plus, you can search records by state to find historical maps, cemetery records, military records and other documents that relate to specific areas. The downside of this service is that you have to have some idea of where your relatives are from, though you can get much of this information during your free trial with Ancestry!
Named one of the top 101 genealogy research sites in 2017, this free site has digitized many passenger lists, shipping records, and other resources users can use to track down their relatives. However, this site also has some major drawbacks. The site itself is riddled with ads - many of which are designed to appear as if they are part of the site itself. You must avoid these pitfalls or you will be carried off the site into unknown territory. Further, many of the records themselves are buried in a myriad of confusing links. Though you can find your way to the actual records with diligence, many links will end up looping you back to nonsense. So, users beware!
While this site is also operated by the owners of Ancestry.com, it is technically a free service. No doubt, there are many ads from ancestry on the site trying to get you to buy into an Ancestry membership. That aside, the site can lead you to a powerful community of other genealogists trying to uncover their family history. These people can be great resources for tracking down more free information about your family! Plus, the site has a number of fun historical documents, such as postcards from different states from throughout history!