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I often see the query ‘What have RootsIreland got that I can’t get elsewhere?’ ‘Is RootsIreland worth the exceptionally high sub?’ and ‘How do FMP, Ancestry, RootsIreland etc compare?’

Genealogy Archives

Genealogy Archives

Here’s my answer; in depth and as it relates to my research… I’m researching rural, impoverished, Irish catholic ancestors at home in Ireland and abroad following their emigration

I’ve personally researched every individual that I’ve added to my family tree, adding sources for EVERY recorded event on their lifeline with ‘notes to self’ re: the integrity of data collected, of my thoughts, suspicions, inconsistencies, similarities etc.

FREE Genealogy Records

I’ve done most of my research on FREE databases such as…

In the years of my research, I’ve taken one trial with Ancestry (12 days), one month gift voucher with RootsIreland and one month for €1.00 on FMP, apart from that I’ve only used commercial sites when they ran a promotional week / weekend / day etc.

I pride myself on how much I’ve accomplished without subscribing to any of the commercial sites

That said, I could not progress with FREE databases and indices alone, I needed primary evidence.  I needed to see the documents behind the transcriptions because as we all know…

  • Not all the information on the document was transcribed
  • There can be transcription errors


It’s that ‘little bit‘ that’s not transcribed that makes all the difference…

  • A parents name
  • A siblings name
  • A sponsors name
  • A placename of origin
  • An age / DoB etc
  • A witness
  • A fellow traveller on a voyage
  • A destination name/address

These little nuggets are how I PROVE my ancestors are who I say they are.  There may be differences in how a name was recorded or in a DoB etc., but with triangulated research, I am certain that ‘Patrick’ is one of my gggrandfathers and ‘Alice’ is one of my gggrandmothers and I can add them to my family tree

I couldn’t do that with all individuals in my family tree without access to original documents or more complete transcriptions

RootsIreland, provide extra info in many of their transcriptions, such as parent’s names, occupations, name of individual present at time of death/birth, often it states the relationship to the individual on the record etc – that’s my triangulated evidence to prove my assertion.

Ancestry / FMP and other subscription genealogy websites link to scans of original documents with all the additional information – that’s my triangulated evidence to prove my assertion

Make Informed Choices

The subscription site you choose should provide most detail on the information you seek

All the genealogy websites publish a comprehensive list of their holdings, locate that list and check it. Some batches of records are extensive and some are fragmented – some are VERY fragmented.  It behooves every potential subscriber to ascertain which site provides the most pertinent records for their particular research

Check their holdings, pay particular attention to available dates and areas.  Their headline will announce their holdings in the broadest terms i.e. ‘Irish xxx from 1690 – 2016’ but in reality there may only be fragments spanning that time frame, check the details.  The same applies to areas included in the catalogue – not all areas may be included and not over the entire timeframe

Caveat emptor!

Further Reading

The bulleted list above is only a small fragment of the FREE genealogy databases available online such as this partial list for Irish Genealogy. There are links to hundreds of other FREE, less extensive, more specific records in many other posts on this website