Wednesday, November 7, 2007


A couple days ago I signed up for membership at genealogybank. It's a $20/month membership, but they were running a special annual price at the time of $70 to celebrate their anniversary. They've decided to keep an annual price, but have raised it to $90, which is still a huge savings. (For exact prices, subtract 5 cents from each number.)

I'm not sure how long I'll keep the subscription. It's definitely worth $20 to subscribe for a month. I found close to thirty obituaries of extended family members. I'm researching both direct ancestors, and all descendants of ancestors, though the more distant the cousin, the less interest I tend to have in them. For the relatives I don't know very well, obituaries are a great resource since even the most basic often list the names of children and grandchildren. And in the few cases where the individual was known in the community, you get glimpses into their life. I also found out information on closer relatives I've actually met which I didn't know previously. For example, I knew that a great uncle's first wife had multiple sclerosis, but I didn't know he was one of the co-founders of the local chapter of the National MS Society.

In my entry on Google News Archive I mentioned discovering an obituary for a distant relative. I didn't purchase the whole obituary as the snippet the News Archive provided was quite ample, but GenealogyBank had the whole article which provided even more information.

However, alone, the obituary collection doesn't justify an annual subscription. I copy and pasted the text from all the obituaries I could find into a Word document. When my collection of surnames increases, or after a suitable length of time to produce new entries (sounds morbid, I know), I could purchase another month.

They have a collection of historical newspapers one can search. I didn't have much success in finding useful information in this search. My ancestors just didn't rate many news stories. And until I have new names to search, the historical newspapers aren't going to change much. Sure, they are supposed to be adding newspapers all the time for all their searches, so it might make sense to buy 1 month a year, but I don't feel it's a resource I need constant access to, so I'd rather save $70/yr which can be spent elsewhere.

Still, I highly recommend the site, because the information I did find in one sitting was well worth a month's cost. And some may have greater luck with the historical newspaper search than I did.

No comments: