*Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

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jouhar
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Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby jouhar » 10 Sep 2017 20:41

I have been using Ancestry on and off for about 12 years and I have an annual subscription. I tend to do some work on my tree from time to time, and I might go 6 months without doing anything. I now have version 6.2.5 of Family Historian, and I am intrigued by the Internet Search hints, which are linked to Find My Past..... I am wondering whether to cancel my Ancestry subscription (which is up for renewal in a few weeks time) and instead try FMP.

It would be good if FH also found hints from Ancestry - is there any prospect of that happening ? Any views on the pros and cons of FMP versus Ancestry would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

AnneEast
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby AnneEast » 10 Sep 2017 20:51

I have both and because I live well away from my areas of research it pays off very easily compared to the cost of travelling to Archives and staying overnight. Much of my family are from Yorkshire which Ancestry and FMP have very well covered with parish records but with little overlap ... hence me needing both subs. Check out whether FMP covers your area of interest.

Also they each have different search tecniques and different transcriptions so if you can't find a census entry on one you may find it on the other. FMP has the 1939 register which I am very much using to get accurate (hopefully!!) birth dates and hints about who married who (females who married after 1939 heve their names altered in the register because it was used until the 1990s as an NHS register.)

Anne

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Jane
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby Jane » 10 Sep 2017 21:54

I tend to "flip flop" between them, as I have family in Dorset and Devon and the parish records for Dorset are on Ancestry and Devon on FMP.

It's worth looking beyond the "common" sources and search the Catalogues to see exactly what it available, that is likely to be the best way to decide where to spend money.

I seldom use the main "name" searches as I prefer to know exactly what transcriptions I have searched. It's also much easier to do "open" searches such as doing searches for Baptisms by surname and parents to find siblings of the ancestor if you have already drilled down to a single data set and county.
Jane
My Family History : My Photography "Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad."

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dewilkinson
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby dewilkinson » 11 Sep 2017 06:16

I have both simply because they have different records (such as 1939 census on FMP) and also when transcriptions are in error on common records, the other one is probably correct. I also believe in cross checking data, so I often look at both for the same thing.

As a matter of observation don't just reply on the Hints for FMP, only yesterday a marriage and death didn't appear on the Hints, but birth and some census's did. Putting the same name into FMP itself and bingo they appeared. I find the Hints very helpful though but find the going grey disappointing.
David Wilkinson researching Bowtle, Butcher, Edwards, Gillingham, Overett, Ransome, Simpson, and Wilkinson in East Anglia

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gwilym'smum
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby gwilym'smum » 11 Sep 2017 07:00

Hi,
I have had Ancestry for several years, however at the beginning of the year the Midland Family History Soc was running an offer of 25% off FMP, so I treated myself for my birthday. I am very glad I did, I have found lots of parish register entries there. I do not like FMP's search methods it is not as easy as Ancestry and in various instances you cannot enter family details to limit the results and although on Ancestry you get loads of results which have to be filtered FMP doesn't give you half as many. As has been stated there are different records on both. Also I don't rely on the hints not all results for an individual show up. If you can only afford one then it is worth giving FMP a go for a year and then see which you prefer for the following year.
I don't know if any other family history societies are running offers but I saved quite a bit even taking into account the societies subs.
Ann
Researching Mayer, Parr/Parr, Simcock, Beech and all related families

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tatewise
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby tatewise » 11 Sep 2017 09:04

There are many more research sources than Ancestry and FMP. See Knowledge Base > Useful Research Web Sites.

Many public libraries subscribe to Ancestry making it free to library members.

See Knowledge Base > Internet Data Matches that puts hints into perspective and offers the Lookup Missing BMD Records and the Lookup Missing Census Facts Plugins as alternatives. Those Plugins compose searches for Ancestry, FMP, FamilySearch, and MyHeritage.

Regarding FMP search filters, if you just perform a collection wide search then there are minimal filters, but if you choose a particular collection (via say Search > A-Z of record sets) then many extra filters are provided as appropriate for that collection.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history.

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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby NigelBrown » 11 Sep 2017 18:48

I have Ancestry and Findmypast, also The Genealogist which I have had the longest although I probably won't be able to justify financially having all three for much longer. If push came to shove between Ancestry and FMP I would probably go for Ancestry. However, their transcriptions e.g. census are frequently appalling, and so finding people via Search is correspondingly more difficult, and FMP is much stronger in this regard. I find Ancestry better at specifying sources which helps with citations. To some extent it depends where and when you are searching, so Ancestry has a strong link with London Metropolitan Archives, which for me is the greatest strength, whereas only FMP has the 1939 Register, which is invaluable. You pays your money and takes your choice. I know people who buy just one or the other alternate years, only varying if there is some "special offer". Also, check what your local Archives/Library has.
Nigel Brown - http://www.nigelbrown.me.uk
Vousden One-Name Study - http://www.vousden.name

ireneblackburn
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby ireneblackburn » 13 Sep 2017 09:51

I use both Ancestry and FMP, I think Ancestry is better for census searches, it brings back results even if name is a bit different, FMP is more prescriptive. FMP is better for finding marriages, also as stated previously 1939 Register and Staffordshire & Devon PR which I use a lot. I also use the Newspaper search and it is amazing what you can find!
Irene

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AnneEast
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby AnneEast » 13 Sep 2017 19:29

Ah, yes the newspapers. I've lost count of the number of times I've been 'stuck' and then found just the proof I need in the newspapers on FMP. Mostly marriages and deaths. In times gone by the newspapers just made a list of the local church events, I'm pretty sure the interested parties did not pay to have them put in as we would nowadays.
Anne

jouhar
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby jouhar » 14 Sep 2017 08:08

Thank you very much for all of the replies. That gives me some food for thought !

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trevorrix
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby trevorrix » 15 Sep 2017 07:28

On Ancestry you don't get overwhelmed with results if you follow this technique.

Search > Search All Records
Match All Terms Exactly.
Make good use of wildcards ? and * to take care of mistranscriptions etc.
Use the Keyword field for places instead of the Location fields. Indeed use the keyword field for anything if you can't find what you are looking for.
View the results by Category, not by Records.
Create bookmarks for frequently used datasets such as each census year, B M D indexes, wills etc.

Subscribing to both Ancestry and Findmypast is more affordable if this link is used to obtain a 50% discount on Ancestry.
http://www.ancestry.co.uk/cs/offers/sub ... e+External
Trevor Rix

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Jane
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Re: GRO Index Searches

Postby Jane » 15 Sep 2017 09:43

thanks for the link, I was just about to pay to go back on Ancestry and I got a year for the 6 month price.
Jane
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E Wilcock
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby E Wilcock » 15 Sep 2017 09:44

A world wide sub to ancestry has been my main stay for many years. Ancestry is American based.

From time to time researchers of UK records have told me that Find My Past (a UK concern) is superior for British records. Ancestry were slow to publish or to bid for the right to transcribe the UK 1911 census. And there is a repeat with the 1939 Register - The contracts for digitising and indexing UK records have sometimes gone to one company and sometimes to the other. For World War 1 and WW2 that has been infuriating.

It has obliged myself and others to take out a UK sub to fmp, when we have needed to use a series of fmp records which are not on ancestry.
I currently have subs to both because I need to use the UK 1939 register and the Enemy Alien Registration cards. Due to cost, I have never regarded my sub to fmp as permanent.

The hard truth is that most genealogists in the UK need both those sites.

But as Mike points out, one can often get access to fmp through a library and to the Newspaper archives too. I seem to remember that Irish Newspapers are not included in fmp whereas a Newspaper site subscription does include them.

Access to these resources is also available at a CLDS Family Search Centre. I have long been a regular and grateful user of my CLDS centre.
Most of CDLS 's own UK films are now on line and free to use from your own home. It may be worth exploring those. But going into a centre will allow you access to many commercial genealogical databases as well as to on line images of CDLS overseas films that may have restricted access due to data protection.

If you are making a choice between ancestry and fmp, no one here can tell you which is best for your needs especially, if you use only UK records. But I find it easier to search on websites that I am used to. The best thing might be to go to the local library or a CLDS Family Search centre, if you have one near you and play around with both websites before taking any decision.

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tatewise
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby tatewise » 15 Sep 2017 11:25

CORRECTION:
It is Ancestry that I said is often free at Libraries NOT FMP, and that is stated in Knowledge Base > General Sites.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history.

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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby E Wilcock » 15 Sep 2017 19:31

Apologies - One can use fmp at Family History Centres and at the Public Record Office.
So I assumed they had it at our Borough public library too. But they dont. fmp advertise a library subscription. So may be some public libraries have it too.

brianlummis
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby brianlummis » 15 Sep 2017 20:11

Come to Suffolk - we have FMP and Ancestry in our libraries :D

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tatewise
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby tatewise » 16 Sep 2017 08:53

Yes, Knowledge Base > Useful Research Web Sites > General Sites says that too, but FMP seems less widely available at libraries than Ancestry.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history.

MartinPage
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby MartinPage » 17 Sep 2017 15:35

Thanks for the 50% Ancestry discount link Trevor. I've been thinking about subscribing again and I will get 12 months for the price of six!

Cheers, Martin.
Researching: Page, Upson, Rolfe, Hazledine & Thompson (Middlesbrough)

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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby jmurphy » 08 Oct 2017 21:13

Late to the party, but my answer to this question is always "it depends".

We all have different research needs, and no site (no matter how wonderful it is) will do you any good if the records you need to look at are not on the site.

When I first started, other people told me that they didn't keep continuous subscriptions to any website, but rotated their subscriptions or used Ancestry at the library from time to time. Since I was new to genealogy, I couldn't see how that was practical. Over time, I have learned how to evaluate the holdings of a particular company and to see if they have enough content to be of interest to me. I've written up a way to test a site before you pay as a self-answered question on Genealogy Stack Exchange: Catch 22: how do you know if a data provider's sub will be valuable to you — before you subscribe? I used The Genealogist as my test case, but the same process could be used with any website.

Over time I have painfully unlearned the bad habits I learned from chasing Ancestry hints. My advice for considering any new website is to do the following:
  • Sign up for the free email newsletter to get news about new records on the site, to get promotional offers, and news about free access periods
  • Use free records on the site and learning center materials such as videos on the company's YouTube channel to learn about the website before you pay
  • Learn how to use the catalog of what's on the site (or whatever the equivalent is called)
  • Learn how to frame your research questions by name, time, and location, so you can see if the record collection is in range for your needs
  • Start a research log and keep a record of the records you want to look at
  • Check with your local societies about discounts for members. I was able to get a deal on findmypast from NEHGS and remote access to MyHeritage Library edition from the Southern California Genealogical Society. DevonFHS also has discounts to several sites for their members.

Once you have a research log pre-filled out with your 'shopping list' of desired records, sorted by repository/website, it quickly becomes evident whether you have enough to justify your 'virtual' research trip (subscription) to the site.

Global searching and hints are still valuable for seeing patterns in data and finding things you may have overlooked, but try to use them with purpose. I like Crista Cowan's advice (via her Ancestry Desktop Education videos on Ancestry's YouTube channel) to open each record from the hints and Related Records in a separate browser tab so you can evaluate them as a group, instead of only looking at hints and accepting or ignoring them one by one.

Special warning about newspaper research: to the best of my knowledge, Ancestry, Newspapers.com, findmypast, and MyHeritage all license content from NewspaperArchive -- they have the same US newspapers but they don't all have the same issues of each newspaper. The other major player in the US is Genealogy Bank, which is the single-user offering from NewsBank. Newsbank also has a collection America's Historical Newspapers which it sells to libraries. It's even more important to look at the title list and check the coverage dates to evaluate if a site has newspapers you need.

if you are doing newspaper research with UK newspapers, the situation is much more simple -- you can choose to get a separate sub to the British Newspaper Archive, or to access the papers through the (inferior) newspaper search at findmypast. There are some UK newspapers on Newspapers.com, but I wouldn't recommend signing up there only for UK content unless you can get a 50% off deal via your Ancestry membership.

If I had to drop all my subscriptions except one, I would probably keep findmypast for its coverage of records from Devon -- but I would keep up with Ancestry and make use of the free access periods to fill in gaps.

P.S. If you do drop Ancestry, and you're signed up to get emails, if you play 'chicken' long enough, you'll get a substantial discount. It varies, but I went without for six months and they finally offered me a deep discount.
Last edited by jmurphy on 22 Oct 2017 07:52, edited 1 time in total.

russellf97
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby russellf97 » 15 Oct 2017 08:26

Even later to the party... I only have a sub to Fmp where unfortunately you can't enter a person's place of birth when searching censuses, but you can in Ancestry. If someone isn't immediately obvious in Fmp, I do a quick pob search on Ancestry which has proved quite useful in showing me where the person of interest is hiding!
Phil

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mjashby
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby mjashby » 15 Oct 2017 08:47

Phil,

You can search 'Place of Birth' on FMP's Census Indexes, but you do have to use a more 'advanced' search approach. Just use the "A-Z of record sets" index to select the specific Census Year you are interested in, e.g. "1911 Census for England & Wales" and you get a search form with a much wider range of search criteria, including Birth Place.

Mervyn

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tatewise
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby tatewise » 15 Oct 2017 13:53

The explanation for that is if you are searching the entire Census collection, then some years do not have Place of Birth recorded, so FMP in its infinite wisdom does not offer that filter as it does not apply globally. However, as Mervyn says, if you choose a specific Census Year and that does record Place of Birth then the matching filter is offered.

BTW: If you use the Lookup Missing Census Facts Plugin then it tends to use the appropriate filters for each Census search for each website collection, and offers Help & Advice about refining the filters.
Mike Tate ~ researching the Tate and Scott family history.

mezentia
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby mezentia » 16 Oct 2017 13:36

I've had subsriptions to both Ancestry and FMP now for a long time. As has already been mentioned, each has datasets and images that the other does not and for that reason I continue to subscribe to both. The different search facilities offered by each are often useful, allowing information to be found on one site not always easily found on the other as one site's transcriptions may be different or more accurate than the other. There are differences in the images served too, so that a census image on FMP may often be clearer that that on Ancestry. Using individual catalogues is certainly easier on FMP than Ancestry where even knowing the catalogue you want to use is of little help when trying to get to it via the card catalogue!

Strategies for searching have been well covered in the online courses run by the University of Stratchlyde. They were free when I did mine unless you wanted a certificate at the end for some exorbitant fee, but I think they now charge for so called "premium" content.

May I also put in a plug for Rootschat, a free to use board that covers an enormous range of counties, countries, occupations, technical support, etc. Folks on there in the past have been instrumental in helping me know down brick walls, and there are people on there that often have subscriptions to many of the other sites that may not be justified for one's own personal use.

russellf97
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Re: Find my Past... or Ancestry ?

Postby russellf97 » 18 Oct 2017 07:26

Mervyn & Mike; many thanks for the info. I'll give it a whirl...
Phil

Indecision is the key to flexibility.


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