25 February 2016

Why I Use and Recommend FindMyPast

I am a big fan of FindMyPast for genealogy research. For records that are also on other sites, FindMyPast's indexes and transcriptions are (in my experience) more accurate (and this is particularly obvious with British censuses). Searches are free.

FindMyPast includes an especially good collection of Queensland records, and I have also been using their British census records and parish registers for many years. Recently I made exciting discoveries in NSW will books 1800-1952 (which include information about many non-NSW people), passenger lists, Royal Household records, the 1939 Register, East India Company and civil service pensions, and non-conformist baptisms, marriages and burials. For example, UK outwards passenger lists showed that between one British census and the next, some of my families went to South Africa and Canada and then returned to England.

Recent improvements and enhancements at FindMyPast include:
  • Additions to the superb Yorkshire collection include the Prerogative and Exchequer Courts of York Probate Index 1688-1858.
  • A 12-month World or Britain subscription now includes unlimited free access to the 1939 Register for England and Wales. This is similar in some ways to a census, but it shows exact birth dates, and name changes after marriage, by deed poll, etc.

  • The British Newspaper Archive is available within FindMyPast.

  • New record sets are added almost every week. Check the full list of record sets worldwide plus last Friday's additions.

  • There are many ways to search. For example: 'Search All' is good for people with connections to more than one country, or for one-name studies.  'Category search' lets you search multiple datasets of a similar type (such as all census years).  'A-Z' lets you select a single dataset and search it with more powerful filtering options (and I recommend doing this).

  • Links marked 'Learn more' and 'Discover more' lead to helpful information about the original records.

  • When the general public is allowed several days of free access, FindMyPast adds the same number of free days to existing 12-month World subscriptions.

  • You can now attach records to your online family tree, which can be created by importing a GEDCOM file or by entering data manually.

  • Findmpast has partnered with BillionGraves to add more than 12 million grave marker (headstone) indexes (with more to follow).

  • Findmypast offers DNA testing services for genealogy (through FamilyTreeDNA, a reputable company that is probably the best one to use if you have British ancestry).

  • Article about the 1939 Register (England and Wales).

  • 'Top tips for overcoming 'brick walls' in family history'.

  • 'Hard to read records'.

  • Records from Origins.net are being added to FindMyPast. That includes the National Wills Index with pre-1857 probate material for England and Wales. FindMyPast will be the largest online resource for UK wills and probate (and those records include data for people from other countries including Australia). The collection includes (to name just a few) Queensland intestacies and wills (from Government Gazette notices); Bank of England wills extracts 1717-1845; British India Office wills and probate; London probate index; Suffolk testator index 1847-1857; Great Western Railway shareholders; index to death duty registers 1796-1903; index of Irish wills 1484-1858. To narrow your search in the 'wills and probate' collection, click 'Browse record set' then select the one(s) you want.

Searches on FindMyPast are free. You only need pay-as-you-go credits or a subscription to see transcriptions/images of original records. Always view images if available (they have details not shown in transcriptions).

If you are not sure whether FindMyPast will suit you, use the 14-day free trial (un-tick 'Auto-renew' in MyAccount after you register) or get a one month subscription. A 12 month subscription is the best value (and there is a 10% loyalty discount for renewing it), but some people find the one month option more convenient. It is available for the World collection and for each of FindMyPast's regional collections (Australia/NZ; Britain; Ireland; USA).

If you have no Australian research but need access to UK records, sign up via findmypast.co.uk.

Check out FindMyPast's full list of record sets. They include many unusual sources that are superb for overcoming dead ends in family history!

When FindMyPast has discount offers and 'free access' days (several times per year), they are usually listed on Genealogy Discounts and Freebies.


  1. I've also been most pleased to discover info on "Find My Past" Judy, that I've unable to find anywhere else. The most recent was the "re-marriage" of my Great Grandfather's first wife whom I'd despaired of ever tracking down. *Note to self... write a blog post on it Catherine :-) *

    1. I await your blog post with great interest, Catherine. I love hearing how family historians tracked down people who 'vanished'.


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