archives review

Archives Review

What is Archives?

Archives is, as suggested by the name, a website containing a collection of historical family records. The resource was launched in 2009 and acquired by in 2012 for $100 million. The primary ethos of Archives is main making genealogy research quick and easy. To this end, they have designed an intuitive platform with simple search tools that give you access to their extensive genealogical records. 

What does Archives offer?

Archives is partnered with Ancestry.comFamilySearch, and the National Archives in the U.K., and the U.S. Users can access and comb through all of these resources and others, such as Find A Grave, and (also owned by ancestry). This allows users to browse a vast number of different collections, all containing a wealth of information. A few examples of their record collections are:

  • public member trees
  • 1940 U.S. census
  • Find A Grave database
  • U.K. birth and marriage records
  • World War I Draft registration cards
  • Obituaries
  • Military records
  • Yearbooks
  • Citizenship records

Archives users can browse over 11 billion U.S. and international records. The data contained in these records is all seamlessly integrated into one platform, meaning users can search for their relatives and ancestors with ease. The extensive information present in these collections can provide you with additional clues that can improve your family history research. 

The records that your Archives membership gives you access to are reliable original documents from official sources. As a result, the process can sometimes take longer because you are redirected to third party websites. You can also order copies of birth, death, marriage, and divorce certificates for your own physical records.

Archives also allows you to build your family tree, either by starting a new one on their website or by uploading a pre-existing tree to their platform. This feature enables you to incorporate your Archives research into research from other platforms.

The more you use the resources present on Archive, the more “Discoveries” will be identified. These are new records that Archives has linked to people in your family tree, and can help you uncover new clues about your family members and your heritage.

The vast majority of the records contained within Archives are of U.S. or U.K. origins. Therefore, it is particularly suitable for those interested in tracing their heritage in these countries. Archives also possess a digital library of rare local history books, many of which are unavailable elsewhere. These provide an excellent supplement to your research, bringing context to the time and place that your ancestors lived.

Archives also offer many resources to assist budding genealogists and family historians with their research. They provide a collection of guides to conducting research, building family trees, and DNA testing.

Value for money

Archives operate on a monthly subscription basis. A subscription costs $9.99, which is cheaper than some of its competitors offer. However, some similar services, such as Family Search, are free. Archives also provide a 14-day free trial where you can try out the service before signing up.


Archives is a cost-effective method of carrying out genealogy research. It is a vast resource of many European and North American records. Archives also has a simple interface for users that find more complex platforms challenging to use.

Many of the negative reviews of Archives surround not being able to find the information they desired. Archives also do not offer any DNA testing options and are purely an online records resource. As a result, this genealogy website is not ideal for those who want to incorporate genetics into their family history discoveries. They also do not have a mobile app for the more tech-savvy genealogist. The lack of these features makes Archives better suited to being a supplementary tool for avid family historians.

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