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Find My Past aims to help you to learn about your family history. It offers family-tree building tools which allow you to attach multimedia files to a relative’s profile. You can also explore military history, news articles, and a wide range of over 2 billion records. The site is primarily focused on the UK, but you can also pay for World membership, which covers the USA, Canada, Australia and more.
Whilst 2 billion records is impressive, it’s still not anywhere near as many as you can find elsewhere. Still, the site is mainly focused on UK history and helping you to locate documents about your relatives, rather than world history more generally.
We liked some of the family-tree building features, which included multimedia uploads. This means you can add videos or photos of a particular family member, allowing you to share your memories. You can also easily attach any relevant documents to a family member’s profile, which is a good way of storing information on them for a later date.
There have been complaints that the new layout and overall design of Find My Past have made the site take steps backwards. Whilst we agree with some of these complains (particularly that the search results are too spread out, with lots of blank spaces for information, and therefore take a lot of time to scroll through) we do still feel that this site has plenty to offer and is not overly hard to use.
FindMyPast’s team have clearly put some effort into helping members around the newer site. There is a Getting Started Guide, plus tips and hints to find as you browse. If you want to try it out in order to find out whether or not it offers the features you need, you can try a 14 day free trial.
Aside from the free trial, you can try British or World membership. The differences are self evident, and we appreciate having the option. If you’re only interested in family members who have lived exclusively in Britain, it’s probably not necessary to pay the extra for the worldwide membership.
The site contains census records, parish records, BMD records and more. You can sort the results by their relevance, names or a variety of dates, as well as looking with specific documents categories. Still, the search could be improved by offering extra filter options and through improving the layout of results.
Family trees are easy to build and update, although the site does lack any matching features, so you won’t receive recommendations. You can import data from a GEDCOM file if you need to, as well as creating multiple trees.
FindMyPast.co.uk is far from perfect, but it does have a number of positive features. If they listen to their disgruntled members and try to improve the service, this site will do well. It ought to be a useful resource for finding information about your family, particularly if you are from the UK, and its prices are fair. A range of expert advice, top tips, ideas boards and frequently asked questions are also available if you need help.
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