Alert: This is a Long Post!
For the record, this is not my actual “first impression” of Find My Past. I have used it for British research a few times over the last few years. I have not used it on a regular basis. I have received no compensation for this post and expect no compensation. This is my honest opinion.
In order to give Find My Past an honest look, I will be using mostly English ancestors to test it out. I’m going to give the American records a shot, but then I will move on to what I know they excel at… British Records!
Exhibit A: Grandma Gene (Emogene Taylor-Mays-Utter)
Well… I guess I’m just going to eat crow in the very first example. I went into this entry thinking I was going to jump straight to the British records.
Instead, the hints feature in both my software and their online family tree found the birth and death index entries for my Grandma. Through a basic search on the website I was also able to find the 1930 and 1940 Census images for her family.
Here is my favorite!
Her marriage records! Images! Okay, so I had found these through browsing digital folders on FamilySearch. They weren’t indexed at the time. Obviously Find My Past must have an arrangement with FamilySearch to provide indexes to these collections. I’m excited to see which records I haven’t found that are living in Find My Past’s searches. This is a huge deal since a majority of my Mom’s side of the family is from Ohio and Kentucky. Meaning this could save me tons of time in searching manually through a lot of records.
Exhibit B: My Biggest Pet Peeve
I’m not going to be stuck on this for too long but this was really annoying to me. With such large families, having to scroll and scroll and scroll to navigate through the tree was bad. Luckily for me, they do have a pedigree view and a family group view.
Of the two, the family group view would be the most useful to me. Pedigree is nice to jump back generations, but for those of us who research collateral lines, something to navigate easily through those is vital.
This view was so much better for me! Bigger families do require the dreaded scrolling. I know it’s tough, but I think all the family tree companies could really do with trying to make large families easier to navigate. The best one I’ve seen yet is from Legacy Family Tree software.
Exhibit C: British Records (William Malthouse)
Find My Past has all the hallmarks of research, the UK Census (1841-1911), England & Wales Birth Index (1837-2006), England & Wales Death Index (1837-2007), and England & Wales Marriage Index (1837-2005). One of my favorite things about Find My Past is that they have a lot of church records for England. There are certain counties that are exclusive to Ancestry and certain ones that are exclusive to Find My Past. It helps to know which ones you need and where to find them.
The Search Function
The Search function at Find My Past is definitely one of the better ones. I don’t find myself needing it often, but the include name variants options is very good!
A lot of the records I end up finding is because of using parents names as my main search parameter. Another feature I love is being able to restrict to certain databases. Most genealogy websites do have this feature, but its an important one to have so it’s helpful to mention that it is there.
This is the end for now
I’m not going to drag this out too much more. In conclusion I was surprised that I was able to find so many records for my American ancestors in Kentucky and Ohio. It’s one of those things that’s usually got me running back to Ancestry all the time. This is quite a big deal for me!
I’ve let this entry wait too long so I’m just going to go ahead and publish it now so I can move forward!