5 reasons why you should visit Findmypast this weekend

By Sarah Williams, 22 June 2017 - 3:03pm

To mark Findmypast offering five days of free access, Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine editor Sarah Williams explains how the site can help with your family history research

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Findmypast is offering five days of free access to its British and Irish records

Findmypast has just announced that it’s offering five days free access to a large proportion of its British and Irish records (ends midnight Monday 26 June).

This does not include access to its British newspaper collection or the 1939 Register, which is a shame, but there are still plenty of reasons why you should visit the site this weekend, even if you already have a subscription to Findmypast.

1. Research your Irish family

Findmypast’s Irish collection is included in this offer, so even if you are already a British subscriber to FMP (but don’t have a World Subscription) you will get access to records you would not normally have access to.

2. Find a criminal in the family 

Whether you know there’s a criminal in the family, or you just suspect it, FMP’s crime and punishment collection is unrivalled.

Working with The National Archives, they have digitised a vast number of documents relating to crime and have just uploaded the last tranche of the collection, so even if you have looked before and not found anything, perhaps it’s time to look again.

3. Explore hundreds of years of military records 

Although many First World War records can be found on other sites, there are some unique datasets for this conflict as well as lots for earlier periods on FMP. There’s also a sizeable collection of PoW records covering both World Wars.

4. Check out FMP's parish register collection

If you’ve got ancestors that hail from Westminster, Plymouth and West Devon, Hertfordshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire, Cheshire or Wales then you should definitely be checking out the parish register collections on FMP, as you will be able to see the original documents.

They’ve also got an impressive collection of indexes for other areas based on transcriptions by family history societies. Remember FHS transcriptions can sometimes be more accurate than those done by professional companies, so if you can’t find someone in a collection held by Ancestry, it might be worth seeing if FMP has an alternative transcription to help you track down the right record on Ancestry.  

5. Take pot luck 

Sometimes you just need to hope for a little bit of serendipity with family history research. Try entering the details of some of your family members into the basic search engine. Don’t add too many details at first and see what turns up. If you get too many results, you can add further details to narrow it down. With 1.1 billion records, who knows what you may find?


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