Findmypast

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Findmypast
Limited Company
Industry Genealogy
Online publishing
Online services
Founded 2003
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Key people
Annelies van den Belt (CEO)[1]
Owner DC Thomson Family History
Number of employees
100
Website www.findmypast.co.uk

"Findmypast" is a privately held UK-based online genealogy service owned by British company DC Thomson Family History.[1][2][3] It was the first company in the world to make the complete birth, marriage, and death indexes for England and Wales available online and for this was awarded the Queen's Award for Innovation in 2007.[4] There are currently a wide variety of census, directory and historical record information available from across the English-speaking world.[5] Findmypast has over 2 billion searchable records worldwide but, though it is possible to search their indexes for free, a payment or subscription is required to access the full data.[6]

History[edit]

Title Research Group[edit]

Findmypast was originally formed in 1965 as a small group of professional and probate genealogists called "Title Research".[7] In 2001 they started an online project, called 1837online, which aimed to publish copies of the birth, marriage and death register pages of the General Register Office (GRO). Another online project, FreeBMD, had already been working on this since 1999, gradually transcribing the indexes through the efforts of volunteers and publishing searchable indexes freely on the internet.[8]

1837online[edit]

In April 2003 www.1837online.com went live online.[8] This was a pay-per-view service allowing access to images of the pages of the original GRO registers. Initially there was no index of individual entries for the period before 1984, but subsequent years had already been electronically recorded by the GRO and were fully searchable.[8] Gradually the UK Censuses, passenger lists, and other databases were added to the site, the first being an index of the 1861 England and Wales Census in 2005.[8]

Findmypast[edit]

1837online renamed itself Findmypast because of its scope had spread beyond the GRO registers.[7] The Queen's Award for Innovation was awarded to Title Research Group Ltd in 2007, for their provision of public, online access to the birth, marriage and death records.[4]

In 2008 Findmypast (now purchased by DC Thomson and part of their digital publishing company brightsolid) gained a license to publish the 1911 England and Wales Census, which was added to the site in May.[7] In 2011 Findmypast became sponsors of the Society of Genealogists in their centenary year and agreed a reciprocal arrangement where each would give access to one another's online databases.[9]

Findmypast International[edit]

A sister site for Australia and New Zealand was launched in May 2010[10] with findmypast.ie launched in the Republic of Ireland a year later,[3] followed by findmypast.com in the United States in July 2012[11]

Partnerships & acquisitions[edit]

Findmypast has collaborative partnerships with several prominent family history organisations, libraries & archives[12] including the Federation of Family History Societies,[13] the Society of Genealogists,[14] FamilySearch,[15] The British Library,[16] the Imperial War Museum,[17] The National Archives & the National Archives of Ireland.

In June 2014 they acquired two more family history providers, Origins.net[18] & the US based Mocavo.[19]

Findmypast on TV[edit]

The host of Find My Past and a descendant from an episode of the TV Show
Chris Hollins, the host of Find My Past with a descendant of Lord Canarvon

Findmypast began sponsoring the UK television channel "Yesterday" in 2010. A new genealogy TV series starting in October 2011, funded by findmypast.co.uk, was believed to be the first example of a product placement and advertiser funded programming deal for a factual TV series in the country.[20] The UKTV series was named Find My Past and saw researchers using Findmypast's website and genealogical resources to discover people's roots and link them to key events in history such as the Gunpowder Plot, Battle of Trafalgar & Great Fire of London through their ancestors.[21][22][23] Presented by Chris Hollins, the popular show ran for two series, won best Content Partnership at the 2012 Broadcast Digital Awards.[24] In April 2014 it was announced that an American remake would be shown on Travel Channel.[25]

The website is frequently used as a resource in the family history television show Who Do You Think You Are?[26]

New user interface (2014)[edit]

In early April 2014, findmypast changed their website interface and received subscriber complaints demanding the return of the old site. The editor of Who Do You Think You Are magazine wrote: "Nothing annoyed people more than the feeling that they weren’t being listened to".[27] Findmypast responded, saying they now had "a system in place to analyse all of our customers' feedback and make the necessary improvements as quickly as possible".[28]

In June 2014 Family Tree magazine ran a three-page article on Findmypast's new interface. A Findmypast spokesperson stated, "The new search has fantastic potential" but "constant tweaks are being made to the site". They stated that they would extend customers' subscriptions if they were having difficulty. Family Tree responded that it "all sounds very encouraging... [but] the technologists had perhaps won out over the genealogists". The Family Tree forum administrator stated, "After wrestling with the new website ...for nearly a month, I was on the point of giving up... [but] I can now see that there are indeed many improvements and benefits". The magazine concluded by stating that "Many of our questions remain unanswered and we are still waiting to hear what findmypast has to say".[29]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Former News UK boss Annelies van den Belt joins DC Thomson The Guardian, August 30, 2013. Retrieved 2014-09-09.
  2. ^ Bradshaw, T. Find My Past set for full product TV placement The Financial Times, October 14, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  3. ^ a b Who do you think you are?, Independent.ie, October 16, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  4. ^ a b Businesslink.gov.uk The Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation - Winners List. Retrieved 2011-10-11.
  5. ^ Findmypast.co.uk, Family history records on findmypast.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  6. ^ Findmypast.co.uk, Site Tour. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  7. ^ a b c Findmypast.co.uk, Company History timeline. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  8. ^ a b c d Christian, P., 'The Genealogists Internet', The National Archives, 3rd Edition (2005), pp 50-53. ISBN 1 9033 65 83.
  9. ^ Society of Genealogists website Free access to Findmypast.co.uk at the Society of Genealogists’ Library – now including 1911 census January 5, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  10. ^ "Trace your Family Tree Online | Genealogy & Ancestry from findmypast | findmypast.com.au". findmypast.com.au. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  11. ^ "Genealogy Insider - Findmypast.com Officially Launches into US Genealogy Market". blog.familytreemagazine.com. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  12. ^ "Our partners | findmypast.co.uk". findmypast.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  13. ^ "FFHS - Projects". ffhs.org.uk. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  14. ^ "Society of Genealogists Society of Genealogists’ Collection now online at Findmypast.co.uk". societyofgenealogists.com. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  15. ^ "DC Thomson Family History and FamilySearch.org to Make Billions of Records Available for People to Search | FamilySearch.org". familysearch.org. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  16. ^ "British Library - Press and Policy Centre - British Library and findmypast.co.uk to digitise 5 million pages of family history records". pressandpolicy.bl.uk. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  17. ^ "IWM & brightsolid partner to create Lives of the First World War digital memorial - Family Tree". family-tree.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  18. ^ "Weekly round-up: Origins.net acquired by findmypast | Who Do You Think You Are Magazine". whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  19. ^ "Findmypast and Mocavo to provide ‘dynamic family history experience’ - News / Business / The Courier". thecourier.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  20. ^ O'Reilly, L., UKTV and Find My Past in product placement first Marketing Week, June 7, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  21. ^ "New series of Find My Past digs up the real story behind Tutankhamun's tomb | Daily Mail Online". dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  22. ^ "Tracing my roots: Debtors, 'lunatics' and sailors – meet my family - Features - Health & Families - The Independent". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  23. ^ "Find My Past | Yesterday Channel". yesterday.uktv.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  24. ^ "Find My Past | | Screenings | C21Media". c21media.net. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  25. ^ "Lion's Find My Past heads to Travel Channel | News | Broadcast". broadcastnow.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  26. ^ "BBC - Who Do You Think You Are? - How we did it: overview of key resources". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  27. ^ Sue Williams (10 April 2014) "From the office: The collective passion of family historians", Who Do You Think You Are Magazine blog.
  28. ^ Jon Bauckham (8 April 2014) "Exclusive: findmypast responds to website redesign criticism", Who Do You Think You Are Magazine. Retrieved 2014-04-13.
  29. ^ Family Tree Magazine - Changes prompt customer fury. Findmypast - what have they done?. June 2014. pp. pps 6, 78 and 79.