“ Family History and genealogy website. „
I have used the Find My Past website on quite a few occasions over the past year. In some cases I have found it to be quite helpful and more useful than others but I have also found that there are some records missing. I am a subscribing member on Ancestry.co.uk and only use Find My Past as a 'pay as you go' service as there are very few times I need to use this site.
With Find My Past:
- you can search the census record by address, this is quite useful as some surnames are spelt differently on different census'. Either due to transcription errors (quite common) or spelt incorrectly in the first instance (not as common but still occurs, this could be due to the family not being able to read or write which was common in 1800's.) If you cannot find a record by the surname it might be worth searching by the address if you know it as they might not have moved.
- the 1911 census is now available on there, as per a previous review there might be some records missing or the names might have been transcribed incorrectly etc. The only other place that you can access the 1911 census online (I believe) is the website www.1911census.co.uk which you can use your Find My Past pay as you go credits for as well. Even though there is a chance that not all of the records are on there at least you can access the 1911 census which you cannot yet do on Ancestry.
- When searching for birth, marriage and death records you enter the name etc. If you are not sure of the year or month you enter the range. Instead of picking out all of the records for the surname you are looking for (as Ancestry does) it provides the pages that your record may be on. For example, a search for Simpson 1850 - 1854 may bring up surnames beginning with Sim - Sma for JanFebMar, AprMayJun, JulAugSep, OctNovDec 1850 and then the same for all subsequent years. This provides a lot of pages to read through and if it is a common surname it can be a nightmare! However this can be useful in some circumstances.
Personally I wouldn't (and haven't) subscribed to Find My Past but I have used the pay as you go feature as there have been some records that I have been unable to find on Ancestry and so I have used this website.
DO NOT PAY this site anything for 1911 census info - there are large gaps in their records - particularly for Greater Birmingham/Warwickshire areas. I paid and couldn't find any of 11 ancestors in these areas - site just says "no trace". All 11 were found on Genes Reunited so I have asked Find My Past for a refund. Theirv answer is that I am not searching properly. I tod them that after 3 years of genealogy searchesfor myself and others, on Genes Reunited site, I was perfectly capable of doing searches properly.Still waiting for a refund .......
I've been delving into my family history for several years now, and this is one of the genealogy sites that I use as part of my research. I also use Genes Reunited and to a lesser extent, Ancestry.
I'd normally leave this section until last but because to access records on the site, you need to either subscribe or buy PayAsYouGo (PAYG) credits, so it makes sense to introduce this first. An Explorer subscription currently costs £54.95 for six months and £89.95 for a full year. If you're looking to access the 1911 census on top of this subscription, you'll need a Full subscription, which costs £94.90 for six months and £149.00 for a year. I personally use the PAYG credits as I don't use the site all that regularly and as a result, the site isn't very cost-effective for me to take out a full subscription. For 60 PAYG credits that last for 90 days (at which point, they expire), it costs £6.95 or you can buy 280 PAYG credits that last for 365 days and cost £24.95. If you're interested in the reasons why I don't use the site for all of my genealogical needs, I'll go into this throughout the review.
It's free to search for births, marriage and death records but if you find what you're looking for or something looks promising, it'll cost you one PAYG credit to view the record. There are records from 1837 (which is when civil registration was brought in on a compulsory basis and registrations become mandatory) to 2006 but you can also access records from1538 parish registers that date back to 1538 for some areas. This can be hit and miss though as it pre-dates civil registration and there was no mandatory obligation for events to be recorded. If it's just a bog standard birth, marriage or death that I'm looking for that falls somewhere between 1837 and the mid-20th century, I'll usually use the Free BMD (Free Births, Marriages and Deaths) service (Google Free BMD and you should be able to find it) rather than pay 1 credit for records that I can find elsewhere without the cost. However, this site also allows you to search overseas births, marriages and deaths for British citizens so I may come to the site if I'm looking for one of those and haven't had any luck of the Genes Reunited website (more on that site later).
If you find a BMD record that you think is what you're looking for, you can order the certificate (well, a copy of it anyway!) from the General Register Office (GRO) and there is advice on how to do this.
There are census records for 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911, which are the full set of census records that have been released to date. These cost more than the BMD records in the previous paragraph and you have two choices as far as accessing the records go. Firstly, you can see a transcript of the record, which costs 10 credits and is basically typed details about the household in question. If you want to see the actual page from the census complete with the original handwriting etc, you're better off with the image option, which costs 30 credits. Again, I tend not to use the site for accessing census records as I'm a member of the Genes Reunited site, which gives me unlimited access to these kind of things over the course of a year for something in the region of £70 on current subscription rates. One thing I do like about this site though is the ability to search by address, so if you know the address that your ancestor was living at, you could look up the address to see who was living there at a previous census if you so wish. I did that for the 1901 and 1911 censuses, as I have a grandfather who was born six months or so after the 1911 census (and therefore wouldn't be on the census itself) to a mother who appeared to have recently returned from Argentina, and I wanted to see if she or anyone related to her were living in the house that was mentioned on the birth certificate at the time of either census.
This was the primary reason why I wanted to use this site. Regarding the grandfather I mentioned in the previous paragraph, we knew that we had foreign blood in him due to his appearance, and when we ordered his birth certificate (he was adopted), we discovered that his father, though unknown, was Argentinian. On searching the ship passengers lists through the migration records, I discovered that a woman matching his mother's name departed from Liverpool to Buenos Aires a few years before his birth, which was a big lead to have. Only passengers lists for ships leaving the UK are available on the site as long as you're searching for a departure that occurred between 1890 and 1960. This costs anything from 5-30 credits depending on what you want to look at. As with census records, you can either get a transcription or view the original image (a ship's manifest, in this case). Unfortunately, ships entering the UK are not available online so I'll have to search for those in person when I'm in London. Other records that can be accessed include migration records relating to India and the Register of Passport Applications for the period 1851-1903.Those I haven't used but the former records cost 1 credit each while the latter costs 3 credits.
I must admit that I've never used this section of the site but there are a great selection available. You can search all of the available military records together for the period 1656-1994 if you're not sure what you're looking for, or you can search individual record collections. For example, there are records for soldiers who died in the Great War (10 credits), army roll lists (5-10 credits) and armed forces births, marriages and death records (1 credit each).
FindMyPast.com is a website aimed primarily at those looking to research a family history - either their own or that of someone else. It's popularity stems from it's free access to transcripts of the 1881 England and Wales census, and also as of October 2009 it is the only genealogy website to offer the 1911 England and Wales census on subscription. As well as offering censuses every ten years between 1841 and 1911, it also offers a selection of military records, primarily deaths during the two world wars as well as emigration records, a searchable index of births, marriages and deaths, and a small number of parish records. The site also includes a fully-functioning online family tree builder with privacy options changeable by the user.
Firstly I'd like to talk about the Census records, which are generally one of the first steps for most people tracing their family. Now for those who don't know, it is actually Ancestry.com that hold the monopoly on British genealogy as well as having a much broader range of records available to their customers, So it is unusual that the 1911 census is exclusive to FindMyPast.com. This census has been released 2 years earlier than expected, although sensitive information such as disabilities will be excluded until 2011. As well as the 1911 Census, there were censuses every ten years, although it was only in 1841 that it become more than just a headcount, and more details were included on the returns such as name, place born and date of birth. I've also found that most of the censuses seem to be nearly complete, and missing records are published on their blog, which makes a nice change from the likes of GenesReunited.com.
An interesting group of searchable records is the National Roll of the Great War, an attempt to biograph the lives of individuals who survived until the end of the war. Unfortunately this roll only includes 100,000 or so people, and large areas of the country were not included. "De Ruvigny's Roll Of Honour", another group of records, lists (and in some cases includes photographs) around 7000 people killed in action. Roll calls from between 1656 and 1888 are also searchable, as well as the Waterloo Medal Roll.
The site, like many others, includes a searchable version of the Births, Marriages and Deaths Index (BMD Index), which indexes records available to purchase from the General Registry Office in London (although some records may be housed more locally). More interestingly, included are records of British subjects born married or dead abroad, in the Armed Forces, or at sea. The site has also recently included parish records from a small number of areas, and plans to gain access to more as time progresses. People were registered at their local parish church hundreds of years before civil registration became a legal requirement, and until recently to gain access to these meant a lot of travel, so it is a rare treat to find more and more registers digitized and shared with the online community.
The remainder of the records included on the site are migration and specialist records. There are a lot of rolls of people working and fighting in India between the 1790's to 1930's, passenger lists of ships leaving the United Kingdom (not including those bound for Ireland), various medial and dental registers, shareholder lists and crew lists.
There are two ways in which to view the information for most of the records - by transcript and by image. I've tried a number of genealogical websites, and this is by far the best for accurately transcribed data, making searching much less tedious.
Of course all this comes at a price. Although access to transcripts of the 1881 Census are free, as are searching all of the individual records, you do have to pay to view both images and transcriptions, although transcriptions are usually much cheaper than images (if available). There are two methods of payment, either with a subscription or using Pay As You Go Credits. There is the option of either a 6 or 12 month subscription to either all of their records bar the 1911 census, just the 1911 census alone, or both (which currently includes a 20% discount). A full 12 month subscription cost me nearly £120 which seems expensive but compared to other commercial genealogical websites this is about average and includes all the records that I predicted I may need. Of course my choice was also swayed by the fact that my local library has a full subscription to Ancestry Library Edition and offers free access to it during normal opening hours.