Saving Money on an Ancestry Subscription

Updated on November 27, 2017
Virginia Allain profile image

I'm carrying on my mother's research into our family history. I've self-published some family memoirs & learned a lot about different eras.

A screen shot of some of my ancestors from the Ancestry. com site.
A screen shot of some of my ancestors from the Ancestry. com site. | Source

Saving Money on Your Ancestry Renewal

‎I found some helpful tips on saving money when renewing my Ancestry subscription. The ideas came from a discussion in the Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness - U.S. group on Facebook.

I suspected that the site pricing varied greatly--depending on what sale they were offering. I just wanted to make sure I would get their BEST price. At the time of the discussion, my renewal was coming up next week.

Check below to see the advice I received that saved me some money.

Graphic created with Glass Giant
Graphic created with Glass Giant | Source

This Is the Biggest Savings - Use Ancestry at Your Public Library

Alternative to Having a Subscription, Use the Library

Melissa offered this tip, "I have been a subscriber for years but a few months ago when my current subscription ran out I decided to conduct a little experiment and see if I could get by without Ancestry.com. So far I have found that I can get what I need from free genealogy sites or by contacting a local repository by email, phone calls, or snail mail. I am talking about getting actual documents too. This may not work for everyone but for me so far it is working. I'm still keeping my family trees on Ancestry.com because they are still free to access, add to, and even use though I am not a subscriber. I can't see others trees but I like having mine on there for others to see and hopefully to find connections. I may subscribe at some point in the future but right now I am doing okay and not missing it at all."

Bonnie said, "Depending on how often one uses ancestry -many libraries subscribe and you can use it for free. Make it a day to get out and about and check out the library." Nancy added, "My library's edition is better than my home subscription. Through the library, I have access to records in Europe that I can't access through the US edition."

I know some libraries let you access their databases from home using your library card number. Inquire at your public library about that.

You can use the public computers at the library, but usually there's a wait time. If you take your laptop, most libraries have Wi-Fi. Ask how to connect to the library databases.
You can use the public computers at the library, but usually there's a wait time. If you take your laptop, most libraries have Wi-Fi. Ask how to connect to the library databases. | Source

Discounts You Should Check Out

Get a Discount

Cindy said that she had an AARP membership, so she gets Ancestry's World Subscription for $209 for the entire year. The AARP membership is pretty cheap for those 55 and older. The discount on Ancestry is about 50% then. It doesn't apply to the All Access subscription.

Sherri O. heard that you can get 7% back if you order it through eBates.com. For those without an AARP membership, that would be worth checking out.

Janet C. said that one cheap option for a subscription is to purchase the Family Tree Maker software. The top version (Platinum) comes with a 6-month subscription.

Take a Break from Ancestry - Then Get Special Offers

Drop Out and Later Subscribe Again

Janet C. reported that another way to get a discounted price is to opt out of the convenience of auto-renewal. Those that are not on auto-renewal are the ones that receive all the discount email promotions. The lowest that I've seen is the $49 for 6 months of US Discovery or the $111 for 6 months of World Explorer membership.

Jon P. reported that he had been a continuous member of Ancestry.com for many years. Before that, he had purchased the service off and on for many years. "I think that I often pay MORE (as a consistent, ongoing, member) than I would sometimes pay if I were a new member--or if I routinely stopped the service and then subscribed again." He thought they should do more to reward long-time members and I agree with that.

I know when I did not renew one year, Ancestry sent me various email offers with discounts.

Visiting Cemeteries Is One Way to Collect Family History

A grave for a Civil War soldier in New England -  Samuel S. Wiley. He died April 17, 1872. He served in Company D, 8th Regiment Maine Volunteers.
A grave for a Civil War soldier in New England - Samuel S. Wiley. He died April 17, 1872. He served in Company D, 8th Regiment Maine Volunteers. | Source

Alternatives to an Ancestry Subscription

Skip Ancestry and Search Online or in Person

Bonnie E. felt that those new to the game or working on really in-depth family lines, there was nothing new because the stuff she needed wasn't posted by anyone else, and/or some states didn't release their records en masse.

I'm not willing to do without Ancestry though. They are putting new information on all the time and new subscribers add their own information. You never know when you will hit the jackpot to fill a gap in your family history. Besides, Ancestry only costs about 50 cents a day. If you start driving around to cemeteries and courthouses, it will cost you lots more.

Melissa commented that keeping up with your tree is free. However, if you have documents attached from Ancestry.com directly, you will not be able to access them. What she does is download the images from wherever she gets them to her own computer and then attach them to the tree on Ancestry. Also, you will not be able to look at shaky leaf information. She felt that "having my tree on there for free helps me make connections to possibly cousins!"

Graphic created with Wordle
Graphic created with Wordle | Source

Special Deals for Mormons

Rebecca recommended that you register on Family Search which is free. If you are Mormon and using Family Search, then you will receive an email that will give you the link to use to get the free membership to Ancestry. They also get free memberships to FindMyPast.com and Heritage.com. If you have questions check with your Family History Consultant, they should be able to help you.

Is Ancestry Worth the Price?

Pam P. said, "I pay 29.99 a month for World... I use it every day for hours, so I'm OK with paying $1 a day for my habit." The regular membership is about half that price. I'd willingly give up drinking sodas or cut some other expense to have my genealogy fix daily.

When you are first starting to research, the regular membership is fine. That amounts to about 50 cents a day. As you get more advanced and see that you can't progress without searching overseas records, then it's time to expand to the World membership.

If you think of the time and the cost of visiting courthouses, cemeteries, and other primary sources, you'll see that Ancestry is a bargain.

Keep in mind, that the reason genealogy sites charge for their services, is so they can finance the process of digitizing more records.

Look for Huge Discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

If you are new to Ancestry, they offer really good discounts on Black Friday and around Christmas time.
If you are new to Ancestry, they offer really good discounts on Black Friday and around Christmas time. | Source

© 2017 Virginia Allain

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