People tracing their English and Irish roots have long known the value of FindMyPast, a research site with vast collections that cover those areas extensively. With 8 billion names, FindMyPast offers many resources and records that are not available anywhere else. Although the site focuses on English and Irish research, it is not limited to just those areas. It has a significant collection of records from the U.S. and other countries as well.
Now members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with a FamilySearch account can access FindMyPast for free. To sign up for your free account, visit the FindMyPast page on FamilySearch. You will then be ready to discover how the site can help you learn more about your ancestors.
Highlights of FindMyPast
While the English and Irish genealogy records are certainly a highlight at FindMyPast, there is more to the site than just those. You can use the search engine on the home page to locate specific records, or you can browse the records list if you would like to search an individual record set. Read on to learn more about these records and about the other valuable features of FindMyPast.
United Kingdom and Ireland Records. FindMyPast has more than 800 million indexed records from England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales—and the collections are still growing. The site’s U.K. parish records include some records that date to 1538. Parish records usually included birth, marriage, and death information, making these some of the most important records for discovering ancestors from this region. FindMyPast also has a large collection of civil registration records dating from 1837, along with census records, millions of newspaper pages, military records, electoral registers, and more.
Beyond the U.K. FindMyPast is actively expanding its collections with records from the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. The site now boasts more than 850 million U.S. records. FindMyPast is particularly strong in county marriage records and newspaper collections, with records from PERSI (Periodical Source Index, the largest subject index to genealogy and local history periodical articles in the world) and from the Newspaper Archive (an archive with 5.6 billion names in newspapers dating to 1600). The site has recently added millions of Catholic records that have never been available before, and more will be coming. You can read more about the Catholic Heritage Archive project here.
FindMyPast features many records like this 1851 English Census record, which can offer additional information about your ancestors.
As with other FamilySearch partners, keep in mind that a few record collections are not included in the free partner account. If you encounter records that are not covered by your free membership, FindMyPast does offer both a monthly subscription and a pay-per-view option.
Research Help. If you are looking for advice and tips to guide your research, FindMyPast has many excellent resources for this. From the Help tab on the main menu, select either Expert Advice or Top Tips. Also from the main menu, be sure to explore the blog, which offers numerous webinars, guides, articles, and videos about using specific record types, researching in particular areas, and overcoming research dead ends.
Growing Your Family Tree
A great way to get started on FindMyPast is by importing your family tree. The site offers step-by-step instructions for how to do that here. You can also read instructions specific to importing a FamilySearch tree here. Remember that you cannot create a GEDCOM, a file that communicates across family history programs, directly from FamilySearch. You must first import your tree into a software program compatible with FamilySearch (find some options here under Family Tree Management). Currently you are not able to search the family trees of other people on FindMyPast. However, you can give family members or friends permission to view your tree.
Exploring Hints. As you import your tree to FindMyPast, you will activate the site’s hints, or notifications of records in the database, which may contain useful information about individuals on your tree. This is a relatively new feature that is still being expanded. Currently, hints are available from birth, marriage, and death records but more records will be linked in the future.
Hints appear on your tree as orange circles near the relevant person. If you click on the circle, you are taken to a page with the suggested hints. From here you can choose to review a record or reject it. If you review a record and believe it to be a match, you can accept it, merge the information, and attach the record to your FindMyPast tree. When viewing the document, you can also select Download from the bottom right corner.
Searching Records with FamilySearch. Another way to access FindMyPast records is to start your search from FamilySearch. To do this:
- Go to the Person screen of the individual.
- On the right side of the screen, find the Search Records box.
- Select FindMyPast or a different FamilySearch partner to search. You will be told you are leaving the FamilySearch site and then be shown possible record matches from FindMyPast (or another selected partner).
For example, suppose that you looked for matches for your ancestor and received a list of possible records. You could narrow the results by viewing the electoral rolls. As you compare the information and find a match, you can click the Download Document button to save the document to your computer.
From within FamilySearch, you can add this document as a source by scrolling to the source section and then choosing to include the URL for the website or choosing Add a Memory and uploading the document itself.
Take some time to discover all the records and resources available with your free membership at FindMyPast. If you have English or Irish roots, you will almost certainly find new information to help you fill in or extend your family tree.