Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Year of Progress

Dear Online Genealogy Records Site.

My name is Chris. I chase after dead folk, both for fun and for a living. I'm a genealogist, and one of your customers. I have been for quite a while. I have been very happy with my pursuits - until now.

I've used your [insert name - see below] site for quite a while. I quite liked it. It gave me what I needed to find, if it existed. Sure it had its quirks - occasional bad transcriptions, or bad indexing, and occasionally just a wee bit of bad luck. But it did the job. I was very happy.

Then you decided to change it. Progress is a great thing, absolutely, when it makes for a better research experience. But when you change things, launch them without them being properly road tested and made fit for purpose, have you any idea how frustrating that can be? 

When a search I previously could do can no longer be replicated? 

When a search that should be able to be controlled takes on a life of its own and tries to introduce me to everyone on the planet who ever once lived?

Don't get me wrong, I'm a friendly kind of guy. Offer me a dram of Laphroaig and I get friendlier! But I am rapidly becoming a more desperate kind of guy. 

Look, this is my desperate face... 

And this is my happy face, from when I used to use your site...

I would love to be happy again. Please make the bad changes go away. Please bring back the good old days! You know, when things worked?

Yours sincerely

Chris Paton

COMPUTER: "To complete your message, please select from the following online site selections now"...
  • FamilySearch
  • Ancestry
  • FindmyPast
  • The National Archives catalogue
  • The Gazette
  • Other

COMMENT: Sorry folks, but after the last hour, if I come across one more "improved" website, I may well be in sore need of quitting genealogy altogether and turning to gardening for a hobby.

It's been one of those days... *sigh*


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. I hear you. It's a shame (insert name) can't manage to do so as well.

  2. I couldn't agree more, Chris, and what's more, these changes are taking the pleasure out of research. At first I thought it was just me, not being young enough to adapt to change, but having read a whole host of different forums on the most recent debacle, I have concluded that it affects all ages

    1. You got that right in spades Rosemary, and the other notable aspect of most of those complaints is how articulate and grammatical most of them are. Those people clearly aren't dummies, but the findmypast management is giving the impression that they think that the majority of their customers are dim, naive, undiscerning, and acquiescent, at least they have now been made aware the customers certainly are neither undiscerning nor acquiescent.

  3. I may not renew my subscription to (insert site) when it runs out. I thought it was just me...

  4. There are a massive number of complainants, across a large number of forums (public and private), including professional genealogists (some of whom, like me, have even considered not taking on any more paid work). I am unsubscribing from FMP and am currently drafting a letter to their senior management.

  5. Rosemary - please do not set yourself up and expect: a) a reply, b) a reply in easily understood normal English, c) a reply which does not insinuate that the problem is yours (being thick/over 50/computer illiterate/human/English/breathing). MargeH

  6. Did you know that "Find My Past" are using their paying customers to trial their new website and then you are limited to 9 votes to suggest a change? What a joke!!!

  7. The new fmp platform is a shambles, Yet FMP think they have got it right and we are all so wrong.

  8. As an experienced researcher ,I am appalled at the demise of fmp- a once pre eminent genealogy site, Its' recent Data Platform revamp - has been an unmitigated disaster, Apparently it has supposed to have been beta tested thoroughly. Who are these faceless idiots who undertook this ?,they should be ashamed of their dismal efforts. I for one will not be renewing my annual subscription to to fmp

  9. Nine days and counting...........still an unusable, unfriendly, unworkable website. I do keep trying to acclimatize myself to it with random searches each day but it is still totally hopeless. Actually found a parish register entry yesterday and thought I'd see if I could find it again today.....NO it really doesnt matter if you can master their badly organized search facility, it still does not act as a proper search engine, totally hit and miss, no way for a genealogy website to behave and enough to put off any newbie genealogist. Hated Ancestry's new search, but it seems now like heaven compared to FMP.

  10. Don't expect any changes to the site. We in Australia have had the "improved" site for a number of months. I sent in a number of feedback comments and the basic response was exactly what we are seeing here. At least they seem to be making an attempt at some cosmetic fixes to the UK site, which is more than we ever got. After cancelling my Aussie sub I had intended on getting a UK one, but I saw in time that they had a "new" site coming. I figured the new UK site would be what we already had and unfortuneatly, that is the case.

    So all this talk about fixing the site is just that, talk. I had identified in my feedback all the issues now causing concern for the UK site (as both sites have many of the same records - UK BDM, census etc) and FMP response was everyone loves it, you just need to learn to use the new site.

    They have made it clear by the implementation of what was already identified by users as a flawed site that they have a strategy in place and have no intention to deviate from that path.