Here’s what makes Findmypast a Genealogy Giant
Findmypast ranks as one of the Genealogy Giants: one of the world’s biggest and best genealogy websites. It’s a must-use site for tracing your roots in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Findmypast also offers unique resources for finding your family history in the United States. Here’s what makes Findmypast a Genealogy Giant.
Findmypast is one of the Genealogy Giants: one of the world’s biggest genealogy websites. Though focused on British Isles ancestry, this giant truly has global scope: remember the saying that “the sun never set on the British Empire?” Descendants of those from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales are to be found today all over the English-speaking world.
Below are some of the many reasons I love Findmypast: all their historical records collections! I hope as you start reading, you’ll click on them to explore–it’s free and you don’t even need a login. Start by clicking your location: U.S. & Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia, or somewhere else. (This gets you to the right version of the website for you.) Then keep reading for collections you won’t want to miss.
King of British Isles historical records
When it comes to breadth and historical depth of genealogical records relating to the British Isles, Findmypast is king among the Genealogy Giants. Among its collections for England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales are:
- Over a billion British Isles records, dating back to 1200;
- Over 50 million English parish records dating back to the 1500s (before civil registration, parish records are the go-to resource for finding everyday ancestors);
- Invaluable historical collections such as British military and suffragette records;
- Growing numbers of local English, Welsh, Irish and Scottish records dating back to 1700, including school and education records, workhouse registers, and apprenticeship records;
- A robust collection of passenger records for emigrants heading to the U.S., Canada, and Australia. Among these are all long-haul voyages that left Irish and English ports from 1890 to 1922, all passenger lists for Northern Ireland and England from 1922 to 1960 and the British & Irish Roots Collection, a unique compilation of 98 million records that mention a person with a British or Irish birthplace;
- Millions of Irish records dating as far back as 1270, and sourced from every county. Among these is a complete collection of the must-use Griffith’s Valuation records and accompanying survey maps and plans; unique land and estate records; court records, prison records, military and rebellion records and Irish directories. Many of these are online only on findmypast.com.
- Millions of digitized newspaper pages for the British Isles in the British Newspaper Collection (for England, Scotland, and Wales) and the Irish Newspaper Collection. Most of these can’t be found anywhere else online. Findmypast continues to add coverage at a rapid rate (up to 100,000 pages per week), so these collections are worth checking frequently for your family.
THE CATHOLIC HERITAGE ARCHIVE AT FINDMYPAST
Catholic sacramental records are some of the best genealogical records ever created, especially during time periods before a locale had civil vital records. With its Catholic Heritage Archive, Findmypast has committed to providing “most comprehensive online collection of Roman Catholic records for Britain, Ireland and North America.”
Findmypast aims to curate up to 100 million records! So far, as the map here shows, they’ve covered just about all of Ireland, many parts of England, and key locations for Catholic immigrants in the United States (New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Baltimore, and Cincinnati). I consider this to be one of the most important new online genealogy record collections in recent years.
UNIQUE FINDMYPAST RESOURCES FOR U.S. ANCESTORS
In addition to the Catholic records mentioned above, I have to mention two key resources on Findmypast that can help you trace your U.S. ancestors. You have to search them separately from the rest of their records, so a lot of people don’t notice them. These are PERSI and the U.S. Newspaper collection.
PERSI stands for Periodical Source Index. PERSI is THE master index for periodicals with over 2.7 million entries. Thousands of magazines, newsletters, journals, and other periodicals from the U.S., Canada, Britain, Ireland, and Australia are indexed here. With PERSI, you can quickly locate articles like biographical sketches of ancestors (or people they knew), transcribed indexes to naturalization or probate records, church records, school records, and the like. There might be just-what-you-need histories of places or the organizations your ancestors belonged to. But these key articles are often buried so deep in back issues of little local genealogy newsletters that you may never come across them on your own. And PERSI is online only at Findmypast.com. (Click here to read more about PERSI.)
The U.S. Newspaper Collection at Findmypast gives you access to over 120 million digitized newspaper pages from all 50 states. The content comes from NewspaperARCHIVE, available as a separate subscription or possibly through your local library–but it’s so much easier to have it included on a major genealogy website! I’ve made fantastic discoveries about my grandparents’ lives (and even my mom!) between the 1960s and 1970s in this newspaper collection. Click here to read a comparison of newspaper coverage on the Genealogy Giants. Genealogy Gems Premium eLearning members may also listen to the Premium Podcast episode #160, in which I share my discoveries and teach you how to search this collection more effectively.
About the Author: Sunny Morton
Sunny is a Contributing Editor at Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems; her voice is often heard on the Genealogy Gems Podcast and Premium Podcasts. She’s known for her expertise on the world’s biggest family history websites (she’s the author of Genealogy Giants: Comparing the 4 Major Websites); writing personal and family histories (she also wrote Story of My Life: A Workbook for Preserving Your Legacy); and sharing her favorite reads for the Genealogy Gems Book Club.
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