Hi gang. I just signed up with Ancestry.com. I saw the commercials on the History Channel. I am FASCINATED by this site! I stayed up ALL NIGHT LONG last Monday night because I could not stop searching. I learned more about my family in one night than I've ever known. With my dad passing when I was ten and then remembering only adult conversations about family when I was a kid, I didn't have a firm grasp of my roots. I only knew that my mom's mom died when she was young and that my mom's dad came from Lebanon in the early 1900s. I knew that my dad's parents came over to America from Poland. What I found out is, my grand dad was actually Syrian and I was able to find my mom's mom and her entire family going back until about 1850s in Pennsylvania (so far). I was able to find my dad's family and his dad's family and was surprised to discover that my granddad actually came over as a boy with his big family. For some reason, I'd always assumed that my grandparents came over as a couple... not true. They met in Cleveland. What I found fascinating was that that line was actually Russian-Polish... apparently they lived right on the border? Don't know... gotta do more research.
The way the site works is amazing. You put in the names and info you know into a family tree, then the site automatically goes out and searches public records (births, marriages, deaths, passenger lists, etc.) and identifies potential matches. You then compare the found records to what you already have. If you select the record, it adds that data to what you have already (merges, actually). THEN, using the new info, it goes out and does another automatic search.
The fun part of the site is the process of discovery... it's a thrilling detective game. And every time you add a piece of the puzzle, it then searches again and makes new potential connections that you can accept, reject, or put aside. I am HOOKED.
You can test drive the thing for three days for free, then they ask for a pretty hefty sum (about 300 a year) to continue. There are some free things that continue working. But for me, it answered more questions in eight hours than I'd ever learned in my life...
Try it and enjoy what you can find... www.ancestry.com