Last month I did something I didn’t think I would ever do: I got a paid subscription to a genealogy site. I always figured there was plenty of information to be found for free, but I decided to give it a go anyway. I got a nice offer from Ancestry.com and now have a subscription on their World Collection.
Use for my research
So far, it’s been far more useful than I had anticipated. I hadn’t realized they’ve got so many census records online. I had a trial subscription a couple of years ago, and then I couldn’t find much since the census records of the states I’m interested in weren’t online yet. But they’ve acquired a great deal of records. They not only provide the index, but you can click on to view the digitized records as well.
This way, I’ve been able to find a lot of lost emigrants. I’m researching people who emigrated from Winterswijk in the 19th century to the United States. I’ve got about 2,200 emigrants in my database. I now know where about 1,200 of them ended up (mostly in Clymer, NY and Sheboygan, WI). I found about 300 of them using Ancestry. Practically everyone I researched, I was able to find in the census records. That’s pretty amazing, especially considering the amount of mutilation that was done to the Dutch names! See my article on English version of Dutch names for some examples.
I’ve still got 1,000 of them to research but I’m pretty hopeful I’ll be able to find out where most of them ended up. Ideally, I want to know where all of the emigrants settled, whom they married and which children they had. That’s pretty ambitious so I guess I’ll not cancel my subscription after the first year 🙂
What I also like is that Ancestry not only has digital sources, but also a growing collection of images to illustrate your genealogy. An example is the following postcase of the Sheboygan High school.