26 October 2014

Why I use 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. This is particularly obvious with British censuses.

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, 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:
  • New record sets are added almost every week, and announcements are made via email newsletters and the 'FindMyPast Friday' page (you may need to scroll down, as the latest releases are not necessarily listed at the top).

  • The new SEARCH platform is very powerful and flexible (it allows you to search multiple categories or a single record set) but you can go back to 'old search' if you wish. I strongly advise you to:

    1. Search each record set separately (this gives you more powerful search options), using the full list of record sets.

    2. Read 'FindMyPast's New Search Navigation' (March 2015).

    3. Study this example of narrowing your searches (note the link to 'old search' if that's what you prefer).

  • 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.

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

  • Article on 'Hard to read records'.

  • The British Newspaper Archive is available within FindMyPast.

  • 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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