Newsletter - 22nd March 2012

UPDATED Australia & New Zealand special edition



Are you paying too much for your Ancestry subscription?

Ancestry has many sites around the world, but the prices the sites charge vary enormously from country to country.


Right now subscribers to are paying a LOT more than people who subscribe to the UK site - even though in many cases they’re accessing exactly the same records. Even subscribers to and are paying more than they would if they went through the UK site, though the discrepancy isn't quite so great.


Of course, it isn’t immediately obvious that there’s this difference. For a start, the prices on the UK site are in pounds – but there’s a free site called that will translate from one currency from another.


Note: your bank will probably add an extra 2 or 3% for themselves – there probably isn’t anything you can do about that. But the overall savings are so great that it’s really nothing to worry about.


The other way Ancestry muddies the water is by having different names for the subscriptions available from different sites - even when they offer exactly the same thing.


If you already have a subscription to Ancestry’s UK site, then congratulations – you’re already paying the cheapest prices. But if you currently subscribe to you can get a significantly better deal by switching when your existing subscription expires.


I suggest you start by going to the paragraph that’s head up with the name of your current subscription. However, once you see how great the savings are you may decide to use some of them to upgrade, so that you have a wider range of records available. In some cases you can get more records and still pay less!


World Heritage subscription

This is the most expensive subscription that Ancestry offers, and the one where you can make the greatest saving. charges $449.95 per year, with an introductory rate for the first year only of $299.88 – but even the introductory rate is a lot higher than you ought to be paying.


When you go to the website they'll quote you £155.40 for a one-year Worldwide subscription (which is the exact equivalent of the Worldwide Heritage subscription – it gives access to the whole of Ancestry’s worldwide collections). But if you live in Australia you won’t pay as much as that, because Australian Sales Tax is lower than UK Value Added Tax. All of the members who have followed my advice so far have been charged just £135.13 when he followed my advice, which at the current exchange rate is about $206. SAVING – UP TO $243!


Remember, if you already have a World Heritage subscription you’ll be charged a staggering $449.95 when it is renewed – so my advice is to cancel it now, just in case you forget to do so later (don’t worry, you’ll still have access to all the records until your present subscription expires).


Warning: Ancestry will try to redirect you to your local site – but if you click here you’ll be taken straight to the UK site.


UK Heritage Plus subscription

This is the middle of the three subscriptions on offer from, and offers access to all of Ancestry’s UK collection, plus records relating to Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland. At $215.40 it costs MORE than the $206 you’d currently pay for a Worldwide subscription through, even though the Worldwide subscription gives you access to Ancestry's entire collection.


So that’s your first option – save a few dollars and get access to many more records with a Worldwide subscription from


But what if you only want access to UK records, and don't need Australian and New Zealand records? In that case the Premium subscription from will save you even more money. It’s billed as costing £107.40, about $163 at the current exchange rate, but you will be charged about £95 (because of the differences in tax rates) - so the amount you save could be as much as $70. The actual price in pounds will be shown before you make your purchase.


Warning: Ancestry will try to redirect you to your local site – but if you click here you’ll be taken straight to the UK site.


UK Heritage subscription

This is the cheapest subscription on offer from, and offers a fairly basic set of UK and Australian records – ideal for beginners, perhaps, but not for anyone who has some experience – and at $179.40 it isn’t actually much cheaper than UK Heritage Plus, even though it offers a far smaller selection of records.


If you only need basic UK records, and no Australian or New Zealand records, you can save about $50 by going through where the Essentials subscription costs just £83.40 a year, about $128 at the current exchange rate, but you will be charged less than that (because of the difference in tax rates). However, if you’re serious about family history my advice would be to upgrade to the Premium subscription, which gives access to all of Ancestry’s UK records and will still cost you less than you’re currently paying.


If you do need Australian or New Zealand records the lowest cost option is to stay with your existing subscription. But don't you think it might be worth $30 extra to get access to Ancestry's entire collection with a Worldwide subscription through the UK site? Even if you don't need worldwide records the additional UK records (including online images of parish registers from several counties) you'll get access to are well worth the small additional payment.


Warning: Ancestry will try to redirect you to your local site – but if you click here you’ll be taken straight to the UK site.


Other options

After all this discussion of Ancestry subscriptions you might be surprised to discover that my personal favourite for UK records is - I find it much easier to navigate and use than Ancestry. For example, it could take 5 or 6 searches at Ancestry to locate a birth, marriage or death index entry that you’d get to with one search at findmypast. Something else I like is being able to search the censuses by address, as well as by name.


Findmypast also offer a Loyalty Discount for subscribers who renew, currently 10%. If you do decide to switch to findmypast I’d recommend a Full subscription, rather than the very basic Foundation subscription.


Genes Reunited offers most of the same records as findmypast, but isn’t as powerful, because there’s no Advanced Search. The Genealogist is the other big site, and whilst most people don’t find it as easy to use it is the only one to offer access to pre-1858 wills and non-conformist records held by the National Archives.



I will be continuing to update this page form time to time, so I suggest you bookmark it on your browser – that way you’ll be sure of getting the latest information when your existing Ancestry subscription expires.


About the LostCousins newsletter

This is a special edition of the LostCousins newsletter - click here to see the latest edition of the main newsletter. It’s free to join LostCousins and all members are entitled to receive my newsletter, which is usually published twice a month.




Peter Calver

Founder, LostCousins


© Copyright 2012 Peter Calver