Pros / You get hints if the website has more information about the family you’re researching.
Cons / The site focuses on just British and Irish family histories.
Verdict / FindMyPast is effective if you have British, Irish or otherwise European ancestry.
Formerly the UK’s DC Thomson Family History, this site lets you search US census records from 1790-1940, Irish roman catholic parish records including more than 7 million baptism records and the 1881 census in England, Wales and Scotland, to name a few. There’s a thorough FAQ section and expert tips about genealogy research if you need a little help getting started. There are about 18 million people registered on FindMyPast and its other online entities including Mocavo, Genes Reunited and the British Newspaper Archive.
We found this site very easy to use. You start building your family tree with your own information – name and birthday – and select whether you want your tree to be publicly searchable on FindMyPast or not. Once you enter in subsequent family members like your parents, siblings and grandparents, the website automatically searches its own data and gives you little hints shown by little orange circles if there is more information available about members of your family. This is a useful feature if you don’t already have information about your family. Some websites like OneGreatFamily and GenealogyBank are better for an experienced family historian because they rely solely on users building their own family trees and then using the sites to dig for more detail.
You can create and view your tree in several different ways like family group, pedigree or traditional vertical tree. You also have the option of building multiple family trees within one account, so you could do some genealogy research for your friends. We did notice there is no way to note when a couple is no longer married, or to add additional spouses or stepchildren. This is a feature many genealogy websites we tested lacked.
Using this website does require a paid subscription. While it’s more affordable if you sign up for a longer period of time, either way it’s still a relatively hefty price tag when sites like FamilySearch have a lot of the same features and don’t cost anything to use. You do get a 14-day free trial though, so you have some time to decide whether this website is worth the money. Once you sign up you’re shown a tutorial of how to use the various online search features which include searching by religion, birth and death records and newspapers and military records.
Not everyone is going to have the same experience, but this is one of the few websites that gave us a lot of information almost immediately. One tester’s family information came up as soon as they entered their own data along with their parents whereas most of the sites we used required information about grandparents as well before spitting out anything relevant. Another nice thing about FindMyPast is the ability to click “maybe” on information the site provides if you’re unsure whether it applies to your family.