Because there are two questions at hand, we will address each separately to ensure we cover everything thoroughly.
Is Ancestry.com safe?
Indeed, Ancestry.com is a secure website! Because it is a website that more or less requires you to pay to access it (though we will teach you some techniques for getting around that requirement), it is typically not worth the effort for people who cause trouble using the website.
Because the only people you are paying are those at Ancestry and the businesses affiliated with them, there is a low likelihood that any other users will attempt to defraud you.
Even while a staff member may contact you on occasion, they will never ask for your account password, social security number, or any other sensitive billing information (at least not without first identifying specific details about an item you’ve purchased).
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And both the computers and the software that Ancestry uses are built so that it is risk-free to make purchases using your credit card.
The community on Ancestry is also primarily there to use the website appropriately, which entails conducting genealogy research and assisting others with their projects.
However, to protect your privacy while you are using the website, no one other than you is permitted to view the living members of your family tree (even if your tree is available to the public), and no one other than you is permitted to edit the records of anyone who is included in your family tree.
The only exception to this rule is when you want to directly share your family tree with certain extended family members and grant them authorization to view and edit it.
There are methods available to conceal your family tree, making it impossible for anybody else to look for it or view it without your express consent. You also have the option to prevent other members from getting in touch with you by blocking their messages.
However, as stated before, most users are only there to work on their genealogical projects. Because of this, you should not be bashful about asking other users for assistance with your projects.
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Is Ancestry.com reliable?
Although this is a question that is rather difficult to answer, we will do our best to respond to it.
When it comes to the actual records found on Ancestry.com, the majority of them come from legitimate government sources; as a result, it is reasonable to assume that they are relatively trustworthy.
Because a significant number of these records have been digitized, they have been transferred from their original paper or film formats into computer files; you will be able to verify that you are dealing with authentic historical material by viewing them directly on the Ancestry website.
A few factors should be kept in mind. The first thing to note is that the technology required to digitize records is still in its infancy. As a result, the organization needs a significant amount of time to locate the various types of records it maintains, digitize them if necessary, and organize them into the online databases that Ancestry uses. This process has already taken a significant amount of time.
In addition, it is possible that some records are not yet legally accessible to the general public, while other records may be too outdated to be retrieved (i.e., they have degraded over time or have otherwise been destroyed).
In a nutshell, this indicates that the documents about your specific family might not be on Ancestry (at least for the time being), and you might be required to search for them in other places (such as a library, archives, museum, etc.).
Keep in mind that the majority of the records on Ancestry come from the United States, as this is another essential fact to keep in mind.
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Even though you can access records from other countries (including ones from the international affiliate websites of Ancestry, such as Ancestry.ca for Canada), it may be difficult to find records about ancestors born in other countries.
To learn which subscription packages give you access to records from other countries, see our article titled “How Much Does Ancestry Cost?”
Beyond that, however, the degree to which Ancestry is “reliable” is primarily predicated on the user’s level of expertise in genealogy research. People have complained that the “Hint” method on Ancestry isn’t all that accurate; however, this is primarily because they haven’t provided Ancestry with sufficient information to make a more educated assumption.
If you know how to seek what you’re looking for on Ancestry, you will most likely find what you’re looking for there, and if you can find it, you will find it. Visit the “Learning Center” on Ancestry to acquire suggestions for first-time genealogists if you need some assistance.
Alternatively, go to the online support forums or message boards to see if another user can answer your queries and see if they can find an answer for you there.
If things go from bad to worse, you may ask another user to directly assist you with the research necessary to build your family tree, or you can even request an expert from Ancestry (although this may cost additional money)!