Genealogy subscription sites: what's hot for 2016

By Editor, 26 January 2016 - 2:44pm

2016 is going to be a bumper year for genealogists. We look into our crystal ball and find out what the leading genealogy subscription sites will be offering customers over the next 12 months...

Ancestry 2016

Annual subscription rate: Essential £95.99, Premium £119.99, World £179.99
Pay-per-view: £9.99 (for 12 record views in 14 days)

Senior Content Manager Miriam Silverman promises another bumper year at Ancestry, with the addition of millions of records and a number of features, products and tools.

Collections added recently have included parish records from Gloucestershire and Bexley; War Diaries from the First World War; and City, Town and Village Photos (1857-2005); Freemason records and Police Gazettes. It also launched the Scotland National Probate Index (Calendar of Confirmations and Inventories) 1876-1936. Plus, there were new features such as Life Story and Historical Insights, designed to help tell the stories of ancestors’ lives and add historical context to research.

In 2016, it plans to add further parish records, with collections from south-west England, east England and the East Midlands, as well as millions of Irish records to tie in with the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising. “We will be adding further criminal and occupation records and continuing to update and grow our collection of cemetery records across England and Scotland,” says Miriam. “We will also be providing members with further materials to enhance and guide their family history discoveries – including a specialised military resource and educational tools for novices and professionals alike.”

Ancestry will continue to invest in the AncestryDNA arm of its business promising new features and enhancements to the current ethnicity and cousin-matching tools.



Findmypast 2016

Annual subscription rate: Britain £119.95, World £155.95
Pay-per-view: £6.95 (60 credits for 90 days)

The big news so far this year for Findmypast (FMP) is the integration of the 1939 Register into the Britain and World subscription packages from 16 February. Another big recent release is the 220 million electoral registers issued in conjunction with the British Library, and FMP promises millions more records in 2016. These include Royal Navy and Royal Marine Service and Pension records (Greenwich Pensioners) in association with TNA, plus additions to the ongoing TNA Prisoners of War and Crime, Prisons and Punishment collections. More material will be added to the Norfolk parish registers, Westminster Collection (parish records with valuation lists, settlements, apprentice and workhouse records), and the Yorkshire and Staffordshire collections. It also plans to add new Irish parish records and Irish Quaker births, marriages and deaths.

There’s to be more global sources including US Naturalisation petitions, updates to the PERSI index and images and the US Quintin collections. Finally, spokesperson Megan Charnley tells us that more features will be added to the free online family tree, with improved Hints and more offers and benefits for Findmypast First members. New records will also be added to other sites in the stable, namely and The latter, a US-based genealogical search engine acquired in 2014, will see new US newspaper collections as well as “many more vital records”.



TheGenealogist 2016

Annual subscription rate: Starter £54.95, Gold £78.95, Diamond £119.95
Pay-per-view: £5 (50 credits for 90 days BMD index only)

Having just completed its Tithe Maps project, TheGenealogist is not resting on its laurels. As well as adding to its recent Norfolk parish registers release, TheGenealogist team is promising new software, records and interfaces for 2016. MD Nigel Bayley reports: “We are launching a range of interface improvements and are also redigitising key records. This means our users will have access to new high-quality, high-resolution zoomable images for a wide range of record sets including the census. The new features include the ability to alter contrast, brightness, rotation and inversion of our images.”

The team also has a new book interface, which reveals page extracts with the search criteria highlighted, allowing you to decide whether to view the record. There’s to be new TreeView software for Mac, PC, Android and IOS phones and tablets. New datasets include more parish records, tithe maps (with tags to show where your ancestors lived), transcripts of directories and electoral registers, new passenger lists and other emigration records.  


Other specialist subscription sites

British Newspaper Archive

Annual subscription rate: £79.95  Note: access to BNA newspapers is included with a Findmypast subscription
Pay-per-view: £19.95 (40 pages valid for one year)

Now boasting almost 12 million pages, 2016 will see many more Irish papers, as well as local and national titles from England, Scotland and Wales. Spokesperson Megan Charnley says: “We’ll be adding many more 20th-century papers, including many post-1950 editions. These will be a fantastic resource for anyone researching their ancestors in the 1939 Register.”


Deceased Online

Annual subscription rate: £89
Pay-per-view: from £1.50

Deceased Online has just added records from the London Borough of Southwark to its site, which means it now has nearly nine million burial and cremation records for London alone. During 2016, the team expects to add material from at least three or four more London areas including one "very famous and prominent cemetery". Its Nottinghamshire collection has also grown recently.

Spokesman Richard Gray says: “I would hope that by the end of 2016, we will be approaching 65 per cent of all burial and cremation records for the capital since the 1840s. We also have a growing number of records for London dating back to the 17th century as we are digitising more burial records for private/church and closed cemeteries as well as those held by various archives.” 

By the end of 2015, the site will have between 25 and 30 million records from across the UK, and it hopes this will grow by up to 35 per cent during 2016. “We’ve added several cities’ records across the UK and will continue to add more cities from the South-west to Scotland.”


Forces War Records

Annual subscription rate: £54.95

This military records site announced recently that its WW1 Hospital Medical Records Collection has reached half a million records. And Marketing Manager Jennifer Holmes says it is working with various history centres and regimental archives, including the Army Medical Services Museum, to ensure record collections keep growing. For example, it is expanding the Victorian Collection, specifically adding the 1861 and 1871 Worldwide Army Indexes.

The 1861 index is compiled from musters contained in The National Archives’ WO 10-11-12 War Office paylists, listing around 245,000 men serving in the April-June Quarter of 1861. The 1871 index lists all commissioned officers, NCOs and other ranks serving in the April-June Quarter of 1871, plus boys, musicians and civilians working in the armed forces as clerks, pension recruiters etc and contains the names of around 205,000 men. Jennifer also reports Forces War Records is working on a unique feature that plots the route of regiments during battle.

Words: Jonathan Scott

This is an excerpt from the article '50 hottest family history websites to watch in 2016' that appeared in the January 2016 issue of Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine


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