08 July 2013

Travel Tuesday - OnLine VS Brick & Mortar Research

Back in March of this year, I did an initial posting comparing the costs associated with a recent research trip to Pennsylvania VS the costs associated with a subscription to an online for-profit genealogical site.  You can see the March blog here.  It was the first, in what I envisioned, as an on-going series.

Recently (2 - 7 July 2013), my husband and I traveled to the counties of Luzerne, Columbia, and Montour, Pennsylvania; we visited the cities / towns of Berwick, Benton, Briar Creek, Nescopeck and Bloomsburg.  This trip was to research my paternal ancestors and more specifically, the LEARN family.

What follows is an accounting of our expenses for our brick and mortar - 'boots on the ground' - research and a comparison of what the same research would have cost using our online subscription / resources and doing so from the 'creature comforts' of our home.

The purpose of this series is to provide both my husband, myself and the reader a cost analysis of traditional VS online research and to provide a visual, if you will, answer to a most oft asked question . . . Is a subscription or multiple subscriptions to an online for-profit genealogical site(s) worth the yearly expense?

While physical research will never be passe; there is nothing that can replace the experience and thrill of trodding the same 'physical' ground that your ancestors trod, nor the benefits of researching in the locals that your ancestors lived, worked and died.  I do think however, when you scroll down, you will clearly see that an online subscription(s) can save you significantly.  And, that isn't a bad thing. 
Note: The above captures the costs of research on ancestry.com for the specific dates of our trip.  However, in the interest of full disclosure, I have an annual World Explorer membership @ $299.30 per annum, which works out to $0.82 per day.  Again, a significant savings compared to our small six day research trip.



  1. So agree, especially for those whose families have been in the US &/or Western Europe for centuries.

    I'm at the point where I'm back before my family came to the US and is in countries with little indexed online.

    But of course finding things on microfilm (while more expensive and time-consuming than my Ancestry subscription) makes for great blog posts! :)

    1. Lara, so glad you stopped by Family Preserves, I hope you enjoyed the blog.

      Thank you for your comment.