Saturday, 5 April 2014

FindmyPast - pluses and minuses

Having a bit more fun on the new FindmyPast site, now that the US version (, which I subscribe to, has succumbed to 'progress'. 

Something's a little wrong with this picture.... 

Sorry - but this is just plain shoddy.


Time to find your inner Irish...! All the best online Irish genealogy resources can be found through my book Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet - in print and ebook formats. "Very useful, makes me wish I was Irish!" - Saint Patrick, patron saint.


  1. Definition of shoddy...

    1. imitating something of better quality
    2. of poor quality; trashy
    3. made of shoddy material
    4. anything of inferior quality that is designed to simulate superior quality

    Yes that should cover the shambles that has been made of the formerly wonderful findmypast in the past week, or is shoddy sufficiently negative a word for that purpose. ?

    1. You leave "shoddy" out of this! Making it has an honourable history as a trade (grin) - in fact, frequent travellers on the Leeds Manchester railway will be familiar with Machell's "Shoddy and Mungo Mill" in Dewsbury! Perhaps even better than "Uncle Joe's Mint Balls" in Wigan...

    2. Yes I agree, which is why I listed alternative and negative meanings of the word shoddy, and deliberately omitted any mention of the useful textile product, and as for uncle Joe, if the findmypast management, male or female, had any of those, mint flavoured or otherwise, they might be moved to admit to and then to reverse, the disaster that they have created.

  2. Here's a potential plus,...THE OLD FORMAT SITE IS STILL IN PLACE AND FUNCTIONAL up to a point.

    They've merely disabled it from accessing the records that a search will find and they've prevented us from accessing the old site after we have logged on.

    In other words, they said that the old site had gone, but it hasn't gone.

    If cookies and cache are cleared and then one goes to the old menus are still in place and searches can be done via the old search options, but once the search results are found, they can't be used to access record transcriptions or document images because they've blocked access to the records via the old search facility.

    Access to the old format site is also blocked after one logs on, because the word new. is prefixed to the site URL and one is forcibly redirected to the new format site.

  3. What's weird if you're suitably IT-pedantic like me is - why "-/+"? Doesn't everyone say "plus or minus", i.e. "+/-"? And did the coder commute to work via a "train station"? :-)

    More seriously, I don't actually remember that drop-down list being as stupid when I first logged on. I wonder if it's been an innocent victim of another quick alteration in response to the screams of disgust - never a good thing. Certainly, things are altering "in flight" - BMDs are back on the main menu as BMDs, whereas on my first day I'm sure they were "Life Events". And we definitely had two main menu options labelled "Newspapers" a few days ago.

    1. I've since been led to believe that it might be a Google Chrome issue only. No problems - it's not as if anyone uses Google's major web browser.

      Oh wait a mo...!

    2. Also, on 3rd April 2014 findmypast renamed the U.K. as Britain, to improve "consistency" !, strange, the meaning of the term seems to have been pretty well understood up to now.

      So is Northern Ireland now a non existent country in the opinion of findmypast. ?!

      I wonder who it was who found it to be "inconsistent", perhaps they didn't notice that their own site URL contains the term UK :):).

      What's this blather about "newspapers" ?, no, findmypast says that is the new N word, and you must now call them directories of social history.

      Thursday, 3rd April 2014 findmypast announced

      Renamed 'Armed forces and conflict' to 'Military, armed forces and conflict'

      Renamed 'Newspapers, directories and social history' to 'Directories and social history'

      Changed labelling of 'United Kingdom' to 'Britain' to improve consistency

      Didn't they actually introduce the broken new site on the 1st April 2014 ?, the obvious irony of that date doesn't seem to have received much comment anywhere.

      Americans tend to not grasp irony very easily, so perhaps google really is behind this mess.:):)

      Although, does that new starred green flag logo on thefindmypast URL not look very similar to the E.C. flag, could the E.C. be the true culprits ?!, and then there's the Bilderbergers, the New World Order, blimey surely FMP isn't a satanic cult. !

    3. I have to admit - being Northern Irish myself, I did burst out laughing when I read that! But it's nothing new - FamilySearch used to regularly get itself into a lather over how to describe our islands and countries within them correctly. Ironically, if we do vote for independence here in Scotland in September, both terms would at least then become 100% accurate - albeit in describing the islands, if not the countries on them! lol :)

    4. Mind you - that might then leave the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man with an identity crisis...! :)

    5. Also being from N.I. the ironic humour wasn't lost on me either and of course that topic of descriptive terminology and the design of flags and the meaning of their symbolism to different people is still, and is likely to continue to be, a topic of hot debate and disagreement in N.I..

      Which ultimately is probably as pointless an exercise in practical terms as FMP's terminology changes, the Scottish issue wasn't lost on me either, and the matter of when Scotland became part of Britain etcetera, and the islands always get overlooked.

      In practical terms we all know the difference between the political and geographic meanings and contexts of the terms, despite FMP's apparent belief that most of it's, probably soon to be ex customers, are too dim to understand that, and they certainly do seem to be giving the impression that their management at least, believes that most of their customers are gullible and overly credulous idiots who are willing to swallow any nonsense that is thrown at them.

      Even most people in all the English speaking countries, ( no obvious gags now ), know where and what the U.K. and Britain are.

      I suspect that the FMP reason for the general site sabotage and terminology and label changes is driven by their desire and strategy of expanding their share of the Kentucky market and that they have dumbed everything down to a homogenous mess
      that they think will help to achieve that goal and will appear appealing to prospective American customers.

      That one size fits all, fits none approach, isn't likely to be any more popular in America than it is in Britain, as recently as late 2013 a lot of Americans were trashing the FMP variant that was already available to them.

      The only thing that FMP seems to have achieved, is the seemingly impossible task of making ancestry dot com look better in comparison.

      On balance, I think I'm going to go with the satanic cult hypothesis.

  4. The same presentation of -/+ occurs on the site as on the .com site.
    Frustratingly when searching the birth, marriage and death section of the site the year of birth or death can be entered with -/+ but there is no facility for doing this for a marriage.
    Just who designed this new site? The new site has all the characteristics of being designed by someone who has never done any genealogical searches.

  5. It isn't merely a problem with Chrome or any other browser, although apparently there is a problem with using Internet Explorer, the basic problem is that findmypast management are continuing to assert that their new product/site is superior to the old/product site, even though a flood of their angry customers are still saying the opposite, and are also saying that the new site is not worth paying for, because it is so bad.

    A new devolopment on the findmypast customer complaints thread.

    At about 1am on Monday 7th April 2014 the following message was posted on the FMP customer complaints message thread and it was instantly deleted.

    So they are now not only and rather pointlessly censoring their own forum, they are also trying to conceal that fact.

    CENSORSHIP & DELETION on this forum.

    Diana S commented April 6, 2014 7:18 PM
    " I'm not a Facebook subscriber but was tempted to have a browse having read numerous postings in this forum suggesting a lively discussion re the FMP fiasco was in full flow."
    I replied and said that I wasn't a facebook user but I had seen posts on here from FMP customers who had said that some posts on the FMP facebook page had been deleted.
    I also posted that link above, which is to a message thread on the rootschat forum on which criticism of the new findmypast was being expressed.
    The 3rd such thread on that topic, and one which has increased by 2 pages since I first posted it earlier this evening.
    Since then my post has been DELETED.

    1. The link was changed to this as the topic was split into four pages.

  7. The AUSTRALIANS don't like their already previously existing version of the new format findmypast either. !

    An Australian customer of findmypast posted this rather telling comment on the findmypast customer complaints message thread...

    On Monday April 07, 2014 01:33 Anonymous commented

    We've had the "new" site for about a year in Australia. I've written to them several times but the only response is that the new site is based on user feedback and most people like it. I was planning on taking out a UK subscription because you guys still had the old search features that I relied on so much - census by address, search specific records, search marriage by date etc etc. But now you will suffer through what we have.

    I don't think FMP have any intention of fixing the site. They are trying to make the site more "user friendly" to the newbie, mass market researcher, at the cost to the more experienced researcher who loved this site for the ability to find records quickly and easily and were probably the bulk of subscribers. And I don't say that as a put down to the new researcher. We were all there once. But I don't think that is working either. If experienced researchers are having trouble, what on earth makes them think new researchers will like the site?

    They are trying to move in on Ancestry's turf but they aren't doing it as well. For as much as I have problems with Ancestry search, at least you can search for a marriage with both spouses names or the rough date. What sort of site offers a marriage search without the ability to put in a date or both spouses?

    Yes, FMP has some great records, but if people can't find them they are useless.

    That observation in that commenter's last sentence seems dazzlingly apparent and self evident to everyone but the findmypast management.