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
Number of employees
100
Website www.findmypast.co.uk

Findmypast is a UK-based online genealogy service owned, since 2007, by British company DC Thomson. The website hosts over 4 billion searchable records of census, directory and historical record information. It originated in 1965 when a group of genealogists formed a group named "Title Research". The first internet website went live in 2003.

As of 2016, Findmypast has partnered with many other genealogical organisations and hosts much of their data. It started sponsoring Yesterday, a UKTV channel, in 2010 and produced a series of programmes. In 2014 a change in its website user interface was subject to much discussion.

History[edit]

Title Research Group[edit]

In 1965, a small group of professional genealogists and probate researchers called themselves "Title Research". They did much of their research using microfiche records. In 2001, Title Research started an in-house project, called "1837 online", to produce a computerised version of the birth, marriage and death register pages of the General Register Office (GRO), and the following year began work to put this on an internet website.[2] 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.[3]

1837online[edit]

In April 2003, www.1837online.com went live on the internet.[3] 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.[3] 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.[3]

Findmypast[edit]

1837online rebranded as Findmypast in November 2006 because its scope had spread beyond the GRO registers, and was awarded the Queen's Award for Innovation in 2007 for the "provision of public internet access to official genealogy records".[4] In 2007 it was purchased from Title Research Group by DC Thomson.[2] In 2008 Findmypast published the 1851 and 1901 censuses online, and it also gained a license to publish the 1911 England and Wales Census.[2] In 2011 it became sponsor 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.[5]

A sister site for Australia and New Zealand was launched in May 2010[6] with findmypast.ie launched in the Republic of Ireland a year later,[7] followed by findmypast.com in the United States and Canada in July 2012.[8]

As of 2013, the website hosts a wide variety of census, directory and historical record information available from across the English-speaking world.[9] Findmypast has over 4 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.[10]

In November 2015, Findmypast and the National Archives made the 1939 national identity register available online.[11]

Partnerships and acquisitions[edit]

Findmypast has partnerships with several 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[citation needed] and the National Archives of Ireland.[citation needed]

In June 2014 it acquired two more family history providers, Origins.net[18] and the United States based Mocavo.[19]

In the media[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 Carnarvon

Findmypast began sponsoring the UKTV channel Yesterday in July 2010, and a new TV series named Find My Past, funded by findmypast.co.uk, was broadcast from October 2011.[20] UKTV stated that it was the first example of a product placement and advertiser funded programming deal for a factual TV series in the country.[21] Presented by Chris Hollins, the series won best Content Partnership at the 2012 Broadcast Digital Awards.[22] In April 2014 it was announced that an American remake would be shown on Travel Channel.[23]

The website is frequently used as a resource in the family history television show Who Do You Think You Are?[24]

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".[25] 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".[26]

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".[27]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Former News UK boss Annelies van den Belt joins DC Thomson The Guardian, August 30, 2013. Retrieved 2014-09-09.
  2. ^ a b c Findmypast.co.uk, Company History timeline. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  3. ^ a b c d Christian, P., 'The Genealogists Internet', The National Archives, 3rd Edition (2005), pp 50-53. ISBN 1 9033 65 83.
  4. ^ Businesslink.gov.uk The Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation - Winners List. Retrieved 18 December 2016.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "Trace your Family Tree Online | Genealogy & Ancestry from findmypast | findmypast.com.au". findmypast.com.au. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  7. ^ Who do you think you are?, Independent.ie, October 16, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  8. ^ "Genealogy Insider - Findmypast.com Officially Launches into US Genealogy Market". blog.familytreemagazine.com. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  9. ^ Findmypast.co.uk, Family history records on findmypast.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  10. ^ Findmypast.co.uk, Site Tour. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  11. ^ "The 1939 Register is now available Online". The National Archives. Retrieved 2016-05-13. 
  12. ^ "Our partners | findmypast.co.uk". findmypast.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  13. ^ "FFHS - Projects". ffhs.org.uk. Archived from the original on 7 November 2014. 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. Archived from the original on 2 November 2015. 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. Archived from the original on 7 November 2014. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  17. ^ "IWM & brightsolid partner to create Lives of the First World War digital memorial - Family Tree". family-tree.co.uk. Archived from the original on 7 December 2014. 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. ^ Bradshaw, T. Find My Past set for full product TV placement The Financial Times, October 14, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-01. (subscription required)
  21. ^ O'Reilly, L., UKTV and Find My Past in product placement first Marketing Week, June 7, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-01.
  22. ^ "Find My Past | | Screenings | C21Media". c21media.net. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  23. ^ "Lion's Find My Past heads to Travel Channel | News | Broadcast". broadcastnow.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  24. ^ "BBC - Who Do You Think You Are? - How we did it: overview of key resources". bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-11-07. 
  25. ^ Sue Williams (10 April 2014) "From the office: The collective passion of family historians", Who Do You Think You Are Magazine blog.
  26. ^ Jon Bauckham (8 April 2014) "Exclusive: findmypast responds to website redesign criticism", Who Do You Think You Are Magazine. Retrieved 2014-04-13.
  27. ^ Family Tree Magazine - Changes prompt customer fury. Findmypast - what have they done?. June 2014. pp. pps 6, 78 and 79.