23 November 2013

Tips on Using FindMyPast for Genealogy

Yesterday, in FindMyPast or a Coffee?, I pointed out that some FindMyPast subscriptions only cost about $5 per month (not much more than a takeaway coffee).

Kylie commented, 'I got a world subscription through FindMyPast.com, the USA site, because it was cheaper at the time than the Australian and the UK sites. I don't seem to get the same search results as if I searched from their Australian site or their UK site.'

I am not an expert, and FindMyPast may change in the future, but here are my thoughts.

* Some of the United Kingdom data may not yet be fully integrated into the World Collection. In that case the UK data would be best searched through the UK site or the Aus/NZ site. Work systematically through the UK record categories rather than trying to search everything at once (a tip I learnt from Rosemary Kopittke.)

* I have sometimes found a particular entry with a search on one site (eg, Aus/NZ) but not another (eg, UK). When I noted the country, collection and record set, then went to that country's site and that record set, I always found the entry even though it didn't appear in the initial search results.

Searching UK records from FindMyPast's Australian site gives a result like this
(a Richard GIBLETT - but not this one - was my ancestor)

* On each FindMyPast site, look for links to 'search tips', 'video tutorials', 'help/advice' etc.

* Different search strategies are required with fully indexed records (where you use name fields to search) and digitised records that have been processed with Optical Character Recognition software (where the keyword field is important). This applies particularly to the Aus/NZ site. There is a good explanation in the book The New Findmypast.com.au: Gateway to the World Collection, by Rosemary Kopittke.

* Tips on how to best use FindMyPast.com.au:

Part 1 (Basic Searching)
Part 2 (Filtering)

* At Rosemary Kopittke's talks about FindMyPast (eg, at Unlock The Past events), you often get an excellent handout explaining search strategies for each site (not just the Aus/NZ one).

If you have any helpful hints about using FindMyPast, please add a comment below.

22 November 2013

FindMyPast or a Coffee?

I recently wrote about why I like using FindMyPast. My world subscription is through their UK site, but I have also registered (free) with the Australia / NZ site because I want to receive their newsletter. (In 'My account - Personal details', tick the box beside 'Please send me an occasional newsletter'.)

The newsletter often has competitions and special offers (discounts, free pay-as-you-go credits, etc). Today's newsletter offered 20% off subscriptions if you join by 30 Nov 2013.

Depending on which subscription you choose, the cost (without discounts) ranges from about $5 to $25 per month. In other words, going without one takeaway coffee per month would save you almost enough to pay for an Australia/NZ subscription. Most people reading this blog probably have British ancestry, and for you the Britain & Australia/NZ subscription may be better value. I chose a world subscription because some branches of my family were in Ireland and Canada.

Not sure whether they have records that will be useful to you? Have a look at the full list (worldwide). More datasets are added each month. Note the inclusion of the British Newspaper Archive and various other digitised newspapers.

If you are thinking about getting a FindMyPast subscription (or if you already have one), see my tips on using FindMyPast for genealogy.
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