Why I use and recommend Findmypast.
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For genealogy and family history, one of my favourite sites is Findmypast. They have many records for areas that I'm researching (especially Queensland and Yorkshire); and other collections in which I've made exciting discoveries include NSW will books, Victoria Petty Sessions registers, Royal Household staff records, East India Company and civil service pensions, and others mentioned below.
- Indexes and transcriptions at Findmypast are often more accurate than those on other sites.
- You can sort your search results (which is immensely useful). Click on the title at the top of one of the columns. Click again to reverse the sort order in that column.
- Searches are free. You only need micropayments or a subscription when you want to see transcriptions or images of original records. Always view images if available, as they have details not shown in transcriptions.
- If you're not sure whether Findmypast will suit you, just get a one month or three month subscription, or use the 14-day free trial (you can un-tick 'Auto-renew' in MyAccount after you register).
- If you allow the automatic renewal of a 12 month subscription to Findmypast, a loyalty discount (usually 15%) will be applied automatically. It can also be redeemed within 30 days of expiry if the subscription lapses for any reason.
- Findmypast offers many ways to search. For example:
- The new and improved list of all record sets lets you search by topic and filter by location and date range.
- Select a single record set and search it. This gives you more powerful filtering options, and I recommend it.
- If you search by category (eg, Britain - Life Events(BDMs) - Parish Baptisms), or within a specific record set (eg, Yorkshire Baptisms), you can specify parents' names for the person you're seeking.
- The 'Search World Records' page is useful if you have connections to more than one country, or for one-name studies. It allows you to filter your search by region and by category. By selecting a category, you can search multiple record sets of a similar type (such as census records for all years).
- The 1921 census for England and Wales is online exclusively at Findmypast. It won't be on any other site until about 2025. The 1921 census is only included in the new 12 month Premium subscription, but on other subscriptions it's accessible with micropayments. On the search results list, *hover* over the icons to see given names of two other people in the household. If you're on a tight budget, only click (and pay for) the image (the icon on the right), not the transcript. To find the address and a map, see 'How to find address information in a 1921 census record image'.
- New record sets are added every week. Check the details of recent additions, which are often for more than one region (UK, Ireland, Australia/NZ, USA, Canada). Findmypast has many unusual sources that are superb for overcoming dead ends in family history.
- Some records, including original parish register *IMAGES* for many counties in England, are online *ONLY* at Findmypast.
- Findmypast's collection of Yorkshire records is superb. They also have (these are separate) the Prerogative and Exchequer Courts of York Probate Index 1688-1858 (which has broken down several brick walls in my family history) and the York Peculiars Probate Index 1383-1883.
- Findmypast is the largest online resource for United Kingdom wills and probate, and those records include data for many people from other countries including Australia. Search the England and Wales Government Probate Death Index 1858-2019; National Wills Index with pre-1857 probate material for England and Wales; index to death duty registers 1796-1903; Bank of England wills extracts 1717-1845; London probate index; index of Irish wills 1484-1858; British India Office wills; and lots more. Note that there are many Australians and other non-British folk in the England and Wales Government Probate Death Index, but you'll only find them if you search by name without using town/keyword filters.
- The Catholic Heritage Archive is Findmypast's growing collection of digitised images of Catholic Church records in Britain, Ireland and the United States. Most of these records have never before been accessible by the public, either offline or online.
- In Findmypast's record set 'England and Wales births', you can search by mother's maiden surname. The warning about '1911 onwards' just means that maiden names for *some* pre-1911 births are *not yet* in the database.
- Millions of transcripts of baptisms, marriages and burials from around the world are now available to search (brought to Findmypast through the International Genealogical Index). They include records from Austria, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, parts of Central America and South America, the Caribbean, etc. To find them, select 'World' then type in the name of the country.
- Findmypast now has the world's largest collection of Scottish memorial inscriptions.
- Findmypast is always the first site to release new records (as they pass the 100yr rule) in 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 search options: Birth, marriage and death subcategories are split into two types (civil records and parish records). Multiple subcategories can now be selected within the search form. These changes let you control the number of results you see.
- 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 subscriptions.
- You can keep a free family tree on Findmypast forever, even if you cancel your subscription. Your tree can be created by importing a GEDCOM file or by entering data manually. It has privacy controls if you want to prevent it from being shared or made public (go to 'Tree settings' and un-tick the 'Public tree' box). You can also attach records to your tree.
- In 2023 Findmypast added new features to its free app for Android and iOS devices.
- Top tips for overcoming 'brick walls' in family history.
- Findmypast in collaboration with Living DNA (one of three companies with whom I've done a DNA test) has launched the most advanced biogeographical ancestry discovery experience on the market. Findmypast and Living DNA's combined service allows users to pinpoint exactly where in the UK their family roots come from and then use the findings to explore their family history in archives. If you have already taken a DNA test, you can upload your results here. Note the list of 21 British and Irish regions that Living DNA can identify with their test.
When Findmypast has discount offers and 'free access' days (several times per year), I usually mention them on Genealogy Discounts and Freebies and/or in my free newsletter.