Ancestry vs. FindMyPast – another view

This came from the Lost Cousins website newsletter (another fee-based resource for UK research, btw). (It’s free to search, but one has to pay to subscribe – it will match you to others researching the same names, by examining your data.)

Perhaps their viewpoint can add to the discussion we had re Ancestry and Find My Past at our meeting.
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Choosing between Ancestry and findmypast

Earlier this month, possibly for the first time ever, there were special offers at both findmypast and Ancestry – so I got quite a few emails from members asking which site is the best.

The simple answer is that there isn’t a simple answer. Apart from basic resources like censuses and the GRO indexes there’s very little overlap between the records at the two sites – which means that whichever you choose you’re going to miss out on the records at the other site.

If you can afford subscriptions to both sites then that’s the ideal solution – when I’m researching my own family tree I move between the two sites frequently. For example, findmypast is usually the best site for searching the GRO death indexes, but Ancestry has the probate calendars; Ancestry has most of the major military collections for the Great War, but findmypast has by far the best collection of pre-1914 records; findmypast has the parish registers for Hertfordshire and part of Kent, where several of my ancestral lines started out – but Ancestry has most of London, which is where they ended up.

But if you really can’t afford two subscriptions (even after making savings on your gas, electricity, mobile phone, Internet security software, groceries and goodness knows what else by following Peter’s Tips) you’re going to have to work out which of the two sites offers the most useful records for your research at this time.

It might be as simple as switching from the site you’re currently using to the other one, on the basis that for now you’ve found as much as you can on the site you’re with – but it might entail reviewing what each site has to offer, especially in terms of parish records, and comparing this against your current needs.

These links will help you get started on the comparison:

Special Collections (at findmypast)
Parish Records (at Ancestry)
British Newspapers (at findmypast)
Military Records (at Ancestry)
Military Records (at findmypast)

The important thing is to be ready to make a decision, because sometimes there will be a discount offer that only lasts a few days.
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