Friday 11 April 2014

FindmyPast - Scottish censuses

Something I've just noticed on the new version of the FindmyPast site (, and it is not about the site functionality (plenty of other threads going on on that front!). No, this is about the census source information that is given for the Scottish censuses.

Prior to this relaunch, the source information displayed for Scottish censuses differed horrendously between the US site and the UK site. Occasionally the UK site fouled up on how it recorded source info - e.g. with references such as a registration district number such as 644/1 occasionally being rendered as 6441, and with irritating gaffes such as using English and Welsh terminology (as catalogued by the National Archives at Kew) to describe the Scottish returns. Although there were issues with the UK FMP site, the US site by comparison was a complete basket case in its citation.

Here is an example, using my 2 x great grandfather William H Paton in 1871, located at Blackford, Perthshire. The source for his entry, as variously recorded online:

i) According to Ancestry: "Registration Number 333, ED 2, page 16, line 1" - The correct description is almost given here, except 'Registration number' should be 'Registration District'.

ii) Previously according to (UK): "Piece 333, Folio 2, page 16" - Scottish censuses don't use folio numbers and pieces for their citation. It's actually Registration District 333, Enumeration District 2. Right numbers, wrong language.

iii) According to (US): "Archive Reference RG10, enumeration district 2". Say what?

Now, however, FMP UK has decided that Scottish census source info will also display the US featured RG numbers - which is useless. And something now shared by all the worldwide FindmyPast platforms.

Simply put - not fit for purpose. I've left a note on their feedback thread.


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. And the specific census forms for the 1841 and 1911 censuses for England & Wales use the same terminology for the TNA reference as the 1851 thru 1901. Which won't ******* work!

  2. Speaking of giving positive feedback suggestions to FMP, most of which address specific individual faults on FMP which were caused by and are integral to the new format at a fundamental level, i.e. separate symptoms and side efffects of the main illness. I just noticed something which pertains to one of the main complaints about the new format FMP.

    It's the sitemap page for the RootsChat forum and it's very compact, neatly laid out, quick and easy to view and to use, very simple, intuitive, and hugely user friendly.

    One of the major and glaringly obvious and most customer detested features of the new format FMP is the needlessly complex and messy layout and scale of the search pages and the vast amount of scrolling that format necessitates, and that is merely at a cosmetic level, even ignoring the vast amount of time consuming search filter options that the user is now obliged to tediously enter and the badly designed and very user unfriendly and equally laborious search option criterion that are provided.

    It's simply a very poor piece of page design, the RootsChat forum sitemap page by comparison, is vastly superior, it gives me the impression of being the sort of page layout that an efficient secretary might create, the FMP search pages give me the impression of being the product of a hyper caffeinated design artist.

    Personally speaking I think that the RootsChat sitemap page is brilliant, and that a similar compact, simple, and unfussy format would be a vast improvement over the current FMP search pages and site navigation pages.

  3. They must be reading this blog. One new feature on FMP that is actually an improvement. Very good, but they still haven't totally grasped the idea of not wasting space on a page. Now do that sort of thing with the rest of the ruined site features, and we'll be flying.