FindMyPast FindMyPast
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FindMyPast Review

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Rating:
Bottom Line:
Large database for historical records, though results are not always accurate; several different options for family tree views; moderately priced

Full Review:
FindMyPast is a genealogy service that has a record database of more than 2 billion records and counting. It was founded in 2003 in the United Kingdom where it started as a way for England and Wales to access birth, marriage and death indexes online. It has since expanded to include records for the United States and Canada, although the record results vary in terms of accuracy for these regions.


Pricing

There are two different plans offered with FindMyPast. The U.S. and Canada plan has full U.S. Census records stemming back from 1790, birth, marriage and death records from every state, military collections, newspapers and immigration and naturalization records. This plan costs $9.95/month or $99.50/year for the annual subscription. The World plan costs $19.95/month or $199.50/year and includes everything from the U.S. and Canada plan plus records from Ireland, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Both plan options offer a free 14-day trial and your card will not be charged if you choose to cancel before the trial period ends.


Getting Started

To sign up with FindMyPast, you first must select whether you want to try the U.S. and Canada plan or the World plan, both of which offer a free 14-day trial. After making your selection, you will be prompted to enter your first and last name, country of residence, email and password. Then you are taken to another page to enter your billing information. You will not be charged until after the trial period is over, and the expiration date of the trial is listed on this page as a reminder in case you choose to cancel. Upon payment confirmation, you are sent a welcome email and your browser will give you the options to read the Getting Started guide, start your family tree or begin searching for records.

Building Your Family Tree

To start your family tree, you will be asked to enter your full name (first, middle and last), gender, date and place of birth and select whether you want your tree to be public or private; making it public means that you will be able to connect with other users on FindMyPast who share your research interests and ancestry. After this, you can choose to add relatives or edit your profile.

The Full Profile section contains a lot of detail. One thing that we really liked when clicking on Full Profile was the note under the surname we provided. This contained a blurb about the potential origins of the name with historical references, and it was not limited to just one region. It listed where the name might originate from in France versus Scotland. The details you can edit under Full Profile include facts and events such as births, deaths, marriages, nicknames, residences, occupations, adoptions, caste names, religious affiliations and ceremonies as well as custom facts. You can also add relatives, records, photos and notes here and view a visual timeline of events for each individual you add.


The overview of your family tree has several different display options to select from in the dropdown menu, the default of which is Family View. This particular option displays a vertical tree, but we didn't like how you couldn't view everyone in your tree at once with Family View. We were only able to see one side of our family — for example, the generations connected to our maternal line. If we wanted to view the paternal line, we had to click on a smaller box, which closed out the extensions on the maternal line. This was also the case for the Family Group display. The Pedigree view is a horizontal tree, and this one allows you to have a complete overview of the members in your family tree. You can also select People, which will display a vertical list of all the members you've added, complete with birth and death dates and places as well as any notifications of record hints the service has found.



Records and Other Features

When FindMyPast has found records matching family members in your tree, there are two different ways you can view them. One is by accessing it directly from your tree, where an orange circle will pop up in the box of the individual it's associated with. The other is to click on My Hints, which is at the top of your screen. When you are on the My Hints page, you are shown a small preview of what that record contains and you can review or reject it. You also have the option to sort the records by New, Maybe, Accepted or Rejected.

When reviewing the record matches, you can choose to view the transcription in HTML format or view the original document. If you feel the record matches a family member, you can then add the details to your family tree. We found the record matches to be hit or miss. When we put in limited information about relatives with no exact dates, we still yielded record results from its database of over two billion records. However, for one of these family members, none of the records it brought up matched that family member. For another, there were three records that did not even match the correct state and one record that was accurate and provided us with additional ancestors directly related to that individual.



Customer Support

FindMyPast offers a Getting Started guide, expert advice and other tips for using its service. It also has a FAQ section, though we found this page to be rather lacking. The only way to contact its customer support representatives is via email, where it strives to respond within two business days. Our email was answered within this time frame and our concern was addressed in a friendly and helpful manner.


Conclusion

FindMyPast is about average in terms of its pricing and features. It does offer more records than some of the other genealogy services we review, but it seems more geared towards those who know exactly what they are looking for with their family research. If you know exact dates and locations, this service could be helpful. But if you only have partial information about your ancestors, you may want to look somewhere else.

Sign up for FindMyPast | Compare to Other Genealogy Services

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Service Details

Price:Free 14-day trial; $9.95/mo or $99.50/yr
for U.S. and Canada; $19.95/mo or $199.50/yr
for World
Features:Family tree builder; collaboration with other users' family trees and research; records archive; timeline
Resources:Census records; birth, marriage & death records; military records; immigration and naturalization records; newspaper articles; PERiodical Source Index
Customer Support:Email

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