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Has anyone done serious research of their family tree?

I caught this bug a couple of weeks ago. I've had a family tree scribbled on a sheet of paper for years, based on living relatives' memories. Recently I ran across the JewishGen web site and began digging. There are actually many more records than I expected. I thought everything had been destroyed by the Holocaust, but not so. There are millions of birth, marriage, and death records from the 19th century. To my greatest surprise Poland seems to have the best records among the countries that interest me. I've looked in Greece and Moldova and come up pretty empty. In Poland I've traced both of my paternal grandparents' birth records, some of their siblings that I never heard of, and the names of two great-grandparents. I'd like to find ancestors a few more generations back, but it's slow going.

Has anyone done this? Any advice on where to look, how to go about it? There is for example a site called ancestry.com which claims to be the best source of information. They charge a significant subscription fee, so I haven't tried it yet (I can get a three day free trial). Has anyone tried it? Can you tell me if it really has anything I can't find elsewhere?

Thanks in advance for any and all clues.

Elan
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