Thursday, 24 March 2011

Comparing family history magazines

Commercial family history magazines operate in a niche market. Nobody is forced to buy them.

Unlike society periodicals, that come as a benefit of membership in an organization which provides other services you perhaps value more, the commercial magazines live and die, and several have died in the past couple of years, based on how well they meet client needs.

Your need for a magazine primarily depends on your family history. Only your can evaluate which magazine, if any, is best for you.

Below is a basic comparison of several newsstand magazines focusing on cost, excluding point of sale added taxes. It is most useful for magazines competing in the same market, with similar cost structures, so the North American and UK based magazines are separated.

North American based
Family Chronicle and Internet Genealogy and
These are Canada-based publications catering to an integrated Canada/US market. The April and May issues each contain 56 pages, 43% of which are in colour, for a newsstand price of $6.95. The cost is 12.3 cents per page, or if you exclude the 16 pages of ads, 17.4 cents per page.
Family Tree Magazine (US)
Caters primarily to the US market. The May 2011 issue contains 74 full colour pages and a Canadian cover price of $8.99. That's 12.1 cents per page, and excluding 14 pages of ads, 15 cents per page.

The UK based magazines below use an ISO standard A4 page size which is 3% larger than the North American 8.5" by 11" standard.
BBC Who Do You Think You Are?

The March 2011 issue, number 45, has 100 pages, 100% in colour, and a newsstand price of  £4.99 = $7.98. That's 8.0 cents per page; 9.3 cents per page discounting the 16 pages of ads. It has a cover CD proclaiming full products worth £22.
Family Tree (UK)
This magazine catering to the UK market is the longest established and likely has the largest international circulation. Based on the March 2011 issue which has 124 pages, 100% in colour, and a newsstand price of £4.60 = $7.35, cost is 5.9 cents per page, or if you exclude the 26 pages of ads, 7.5 cents per page. This issue also has a cover CD which boasts free records worth £60.
Your Family History
The March 2011 issue of this magazine, number 12, which commenced publication in 2010 has 76 pages, 100% in colour, with a newsstand price of £4.25 = $6.79. That's 8.9 cents per page10.8 cents per page excluding 13 pages of ads.

My ideal magazine would help with my research interest in England and Wales, and cover developments which don't depend on ancestral background (software, social networks). The magazines that cater to that need are published in the UK. If found on a Canadian newsstand the price is typically doubled or even tripled. Exorbitant surcharges are made for overseas subscriptions, something that could be circumvented by offering electronic versions. UK magazine publishers are missing out on what could be an attractive market.


Chris Paton said...

Hi John,

You missed out Your Family Tree(published as Your Family History overseas), which does now offer an online edition via Zinio @

There are also two exclusively published online magazines from Brightsolid: Discover my Past England and Discover my Past Scotland, available from


Ellen Thorne Morris said...

I would be interested in reading a magazine on genealogy sources in Wales, have a Prosser family which arrived in Coleshill, Birmingham, in the mid 18th century. ETM

MHD said...

Well said! It is extremely hard to find the UK magazines at magazine racks in California, too. And, then there's the price on top of the search. Subscribing is nearly impossible with all the added exchange rates and foreign credit card surcharges. There has to be a way to do it....
I will check out Chris' websites, but I so prefer having my magazines in hand....

Debbie Kennett said...

The other UK magazine missing from your list is Family History Monthly. You can find their website here: