FamilySearch continues to partner with other commercial companies to offer many of our users greater access to records which will help them find and document the lives of their ancestors. Taking time to learn about these partner websites and their collections can greatly increase your ability to find an ancestor and add more depth to their history by finding additional documents, stories and photographs. As you use these partner sites and have success finding new information, you can share your findings with other family members and spread the excitement of your discoveries. One of our partners which may be new to a lot of our FamilySearch users is findmypast.com.
According to their website, findmypast offers more than 1.7 billion international family history records from the U.S., Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand and more, with records going back to 1200. Findmypast is particularly known for its wealth of British parish records. Some of the free records available to LDS members include:
- Parish records, including 40 million baptisms, marriages, and burials from across England and Wales dating back to 1538
- Passenger lists of ships leaving the UK 1890-1960 to the U.S., Canada, and Australia
- British Army Records 1760-1915
- Rapidly growing collection of local English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish records dating back to 1700, including school admissions, workhouse registers, and apprenticeships records.
- Irish court records
My experience doing British research is very limited, but I was able to easily find records for my immigrant ancestors’ grandparents and other family members. I added children to our Family Tree and added document images for these ancestors. What an exciting thing to see my 4th great-grandfather’s signature on a marriage license in 1766! This is something I am eager to share with my family.
Passenger lists of ships leaving the UK 1890-1960 to the U.S., Canada, and Australia solved a brick wall problem for me in my research. I had no luck funding an ancestor’s immigration in New York Ellis Island records. And yet, her immigration year of 1896 should have been in the indexed ship records for New York. It took only a moment to find her in the ship lists leaving the UK on findmypast. In the U.S. records, her German name was badly indexed and she was listed as Danish because she was travelling with other immigrants from Denmark. The UK record was correct and well indexed.
You may choose to create a family tree on find my past by uploading a GEDCOM of your family database. For information about FamilySearch Family Tree and how to create and use a GEDCOM file, read this document. Having a family tree on findmypast allows you to connect with other people who frequently use the web site. At this time, the findmypast family tree does not interface with FamilySearch’s Family Tree. This means you will have to manually add any updates to both FamilySearch and find my past online family trees.
One very nice feature on findmypast is the My Records link in the toolbar at the top of the page. Findmypast keeps a log of all the records you accessed in your searching and whether you viewed a document or an index. You can designate if you think the document is a good match or a possible match. You can also add any tags (descriptors) concerning the document. These tags are available for others as they also view the document.
For questions on how to use findmypast go to Help and advice link in the findmypast tool bar.
The link has four choices: Getting started, Expert advice, Top tips, and Frequently asked questions. Each section has helpful guidance to help new website users.
Top tips: These are good beginning and review items for any user. Be sure to click on the Quick Tips links on the right-hand side of the page.
Findmypast has a strong collection of British records which nicely compliments what is available on FamilySearch. Findmypast is also expanding their collection of United States and other worldwide records. Adding ancestors to FamilySearch Family Tree and sharing that experience with their family just got easier for everyone who uses FamilySearch and many of its partner sites.
A special thanks to James Tanner for sharing his knowledge of the partner websites in his blog post Read the Manual? A Guide to Help for the Large Online Genealogy Programs and for giving permission to use his ideas and screenshots in this article.