31. A free 11-day trial of Ancestry: Berlin and Dresden sorted for 1874-1920.

Posted on Facebook on 9 February 2017.

The websites Ancestry, Heritage and Geni have been known to me for a number of years. I have extracted as much free information from them as I can. I had the impression that it would not worth my while to take any subscription, as there isn't enough to be had for me, and, in my view, for no-one. For Ancestry my impression is confirmed after the free 11-day trial I did in the past two weeks.

I did the free 11-day trial since Ancestry had recently made scans and indices available of the birth, marriage and death registers of Berlin and Dresden over the years 1874-1920. Those are source data for which I visit the archives. I had a once-off interest, prepared myself well and took the free trial.

In 10 days I extracted the data about all Weis(s)enborns in all of these registers. I worked most of the 10 days from 7 until 9 in the morning and 11 until 1 at night. If Ancestry makes more of such source data available, I will take a subscription for a month for about $ 40 and once more collect all information in one go. That is worthwhile, as it saves me a trip to the archives in these places.

On the 11th day I looked at whatever else Ancestry has on offer that would be of interest to me. I found only 2 births in Rostock and data on one couple in Bayern.

The data I gathered for Berlin brilliantly confirmed my hypothesis about the Weis(s)enborns originating from Thüringen and its border areas. Many of the individuals in Berlin proved to be members of only a few families which originated from Langensalza, Sollstedt Vollenborn, Seebach, Bendeleben and Bachleben in Thüringen. When I can consult the registers of Berlin from before 1874, I expect to find the evidence that the remaining families have also migrated to this city: from the start of the 19th century Berlin has drawn people towards it like iron to a magnet.

The data for Dresden in Saxony showed that most of the people who were there in the period came from Leipzig and some small villages around Dresden. Here the situation is different as there are a number of villages Weißenborn in Saxony. People living close to those may have gotten their name from one of these villages.

Why didn't I get the 14-day free trial from Ancestry, but only 11 days? Well, unless you cancel your free subscription 2 days before the expiry data, it is by default extended into a paid subscription. I took a safe margin, and cancelled 3 days ahead of time. But then Ancestry shows its commercial face: it stops the trail on that day, So no-one gets the much-advertised 14-day free trail: the last two days are only free if you take a paid subscription. How free is that?