Author Topic: Searching and finding - FindMyPast vs Ancestry?  (Read 656 times)

Offline bugbear

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Searching and finding - FindMyPast vs Ancestry?
« on: Thursday 31 May 18 11:41 BST (UK) »
I have been using Ancestry for a long-ish time now (since 2016), but my subscription just ended.

My subs last year were Ancestry + BNA, which is quite expensive. I am considering taking out a year of "Pro" with FindMyPast, which gives me records and the BNA in one go, which will save me a good deal of money. FindMyPast also has a some relevant PRs that Ancestry doesn't.

But, in my previous encounters with FindMyPast, its searching has compared very unfavourably with Ancestry's. FindMyPast seems to have a lowest common denominator approach - if you search a set of Records, you can only search on fields that they all have. This means that you cannot search via place of birth in "Census" presumably because the 1841 census doesn't really have it.

If you search on a single census (e.g. 1871) you get a richer search offering. But you can't readily search via place of birth in the whole set of 1851-1911.

I REALLY like the ability in Ancestry to tell the search engine everything you know about a person, and for it to find ALL the records, ranked (not always well) in order of match-goodness. This has quite often in the past popped up "hits" in records I didn't even know the existence of (and would hence never have searched explicitly).

I also very much like Ancestry's offering up of "other records" when you select a "base record".

So - is Ancestry's searching genuinely easier to use than FMPs, or am I just (very) used to it?

Are there hints and tricks to using FindMyPast's searching that I am missing?

   BugBear
BICE Middlesex
WOMACK Norfolk/Suffolk

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Offline andrewalston

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Re: Searching and finding - FindMyPast vs Ancestry?
« Reply #1 on: Thursday 31 May 18 12:56 BST (UK) »
I'm afraid I subscribe to both, because one has done deals with certain county archives and the other has done deals with others.

Both Ancestry and FindMyPast seem to have taken the approach of "get Joe Public interested by showing them thousands of records", rather than concentrating on those of us who know what we are searching for.

Just like Ancestry, FindMyPast have the individual datasets available so you can search properly, rather than the "one size fits all".

On Ancestry, my "home page" has links to the databases I use most - mostly censuses. "Search All Records" might get touched every couple of weeks. I'm also a big user of their "Card catalogue".

On FindMyPast I rarely visit their front page; my bookmark is https://search.findmypast.co.uk/historical-records , where you see the list of datasets, and can filter that list down quickly. For example, type shr in the box and Shropshire datasets appear. You don't need a sub to try it out.

Looking at ALSTON in south Ribble area, ALSTEAD and DONBAVAND/DUNBABIN etc. everywhere, HOWCROFT and MARSH in Bolton and Westhoughton, PICKERING in the Whitehaven area.

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Online Rosinish

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Re: Searching and finding - FindMyPast vs Ancestry?
« Reply #2 on: Thursday 31 May 18 13:06 BST (UK) »
I prefer the workings of Fancestry but use the offers for Blindmypast when available.

Meanwhile, 1 yr worldwide sub reduced from 179.99 to 89.99

https://www.ancestry.co.uk/cs/offers/subscribe?dna=crossAct

Annie
South Uist, Inverness-shire, Scotland:- Bowie, Campbell, Cumming, Currie, MacDonald, MacInnes, MacIntyre, MacKinnon, Steele, Walker

Ireland:- Cullen, Flannigan (Derry), Donahoe/Donaghue (variants) (Cork), McCrate (Tipperary), Mellon, Tol(l)and (Donegal & Tyrone)

Newcastle-on-Tyne/Durham (Northumberland):- Harrison, Jude, Kemp, Lunn, Mellon, Robson, Stirling

Kettering, Northampton:- MacKinnon

Canada:- Callaghan, MacKinnon, MacPhee

"OLD GENEALOGISTS NEVER DIE - THEY JUST LOSE THEIR CENSUS"

Offline bugbear

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Re: Searching and finding - FindMyPast vs Ancestry?
« Reply #3 on: Thursday 31 May 18 13:18 BST (UK) »
Just like Ancestry, FindMyPast have the individual datasets available so you can search properly, rather than the "one size fits all".
I'm not quite sure I can agree with your use of "properly".

In my research, I had a Norfolk couple, who were both born, lived and died in Norfolk.

They married in Liverpool :o . If I'd had to pre-select the dataset to find their marriage, I don't think I'd have ever found their marriage.

 BugBear
BICE Middlesex
WOMACK Norfolk/Suffolk

Offline Chapuys

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Re: Searching and finding - FindMyPast vs Ancestry?
« Reply #4 on: Thursday 31 May 18 17:01 BST (UK) »
You need to look which has better coverage of the area you are in

I paid for both top tier Ancestry and FindMyPast about 2 years ago and aside from the 1939 register, most of the records for my family (I'm from up North) were either on both or just on Ancestry. Once I had exhausted the 1939 Register I didn't really touch FindMyPast. I tried subscribing again for a month earlier this year but never used it except for random London school records for 1 person in my family. The 1939 Register is now on Ancestry.

I tend to stick to Ancestry now, except for the random forays into FindMyPast.