I should lead by saying that this decision kills me. I have been a happy customer of Ancestry for years now, and I don’t have one complaint with them. Still, I have my reasons, and it’s not just about the price tag.
1. I have a LOT of findings to sort.
Let me show you something real quick.
See that “Transcribed” folder there? See how it’s empty? Or how about that “153 items” in the lower corner? I find joy in the discovery… not so much the organizational side of things. And the kicker — I have a ton of folders that look like this one. This is the research equivalent to being told, “Finish what’s on your plate first.”
2. Deadlines are great motivators.
There are databases on Ancestry that I’ve put off exploring, so deep and wide are their cavernous depths. I tell myself, “When I finish this or that project, then I’ll look at them.” You can see how well that’s working under reason #1. Maybe if I looked at my subscription as having a deadline, I would jump in there and glean what I can from their awesome pile of resources.
3. You don’t grow by staying in one place.
Continuous access to Ancestry, in a weird way, has hampered my growth as an amateur genealogist. I’ve gotten lazy, and I realized this last year when I discovered first Familysearch, and then fultonhistory.com with its massive collection of New York State newspapers. Happy as I was for awesome new resources, I couldn’t curb the disquieting feeling, “Why wasn’t I aware of this?” How about RootsIreland.ie? There’s also the fact that there are actually great GenWeb sites for some of the most important counties to my research. Finally, you can’t motivate yourself toward a GENEALOGY ROAD TRIP (insert geek-out moment here!) by being happy with what you’ve got.
4. I don’t know what I might need next.
As you know if you’ve been hanging out with me lately, I’m trying to finish my novel. What you might not know is that I’m already pumped about the next one. I have an exciting little baby idealet for a new historical mystery, and while Ancestry has been a great resource this time, I don’t know yet what resources will be most helpful for the next book. I need to reserve some room in the budget for those yet-unknown needs.
5. Okay, so maybe it is about the price tag, a little.
I think Ancestry is a fantastic value, don’t get me wrong. Like I said at the start of this post: I’m a happy customer — and will definitely re-subscribe when the time is right. However, I mentioned RootsIreland.ie … and I’m getting awfully curious about Archive.org. Also, I’ve been wondering what’s new at Newspaperarchive.com since I cancelled a month-to-month subscription a couple years ago. Not to mention my other interests — like finally joining American Christian Fiction Writers this year, and maybe attending a writers’ conference or two.
It all comes down to priorities, and making wise choices.
Sigh. That doesn’t make it easy, though.
Question for you: What’s your favorite web resource? (Free or paid, genealogy-related or not!)
P.S. The winner of last week’s giveaway is: Linda Arthur Tejera! Congratulations!
Updated 4/18/2013: A lot of people seem to find this post by searching for Ancestry.com subscription rates. If that’s you, you’ll find them here. Thanks for stopping by, and hope you’ll visit again! (As noted above, my only affiliation with Ancestry.com is that of a happy customer. Completely free-will linkage.)