52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy

Week #2 - Paid Online Genealogy Tools

Week 2 – Paid Online Genealogy: Which paid genealogy tool do you appreciate the most? What special features put it at the top of your list? How can it help others with their genealogy research?
Ancestry is most probably the most well-known paid subscription site for genealogy, and has a worldwide focus, so is useful for people with heritage from a variety of countries. I use Ancestry alot in my job, so am quite familiar with it.

However, for my personal research I mainly use FindMyPast-UK. That is because I have British heritage, and although a Kiwi, I was actually born in England. So alot of the records I need are with FindMyPast. They have an agreement with The National Archives UK, and records are being added all the time.

I really love FindMyPast's marriage finder. Its so handy for when you don't know the wife's maiden surname especially.

I like FindMyPast's census coverage - from my own experience their transcription errors are minimal, and when reported are fixed quickly. This is a relief for me. Prior to FindMyPast being available I had lost my 2xgr grandfather George William Boother, and couldn't find him on the 1891 census at all on Ancestry. Years later, I discovered his census record in FindMyPast, then discovered he had been mis-transcribed in Ancestry as Beether rather than Boother. Someone has since appended the Boother name to the Ancestry record (not corrected it), although Boother seems pretty darned obvious to me on the record.

However, I always encourage customers to use both websites in conjunction with each other. Ancestry and FindMyPast have different records/databases. Where there are records in common, they  have different ways of finding things.

I really like Ancestry's New Zealand collection. "The Anne Bromell Collection" - is really useful when researching the heritage of the people of our young country. Ancestry is also hugely useful for American research.

I have found my maternal Scottish ancestors visiting family in Canada via the passenger lists - and my paternal grandfather leaving Newfoundland (via St Johns, New Brunswick) bound for England to sign up with the Royal Navy for the First World War.

FindMyPast has an Australasian sister site (New Zealand, Australia, Pacific Island), but as yet, I don't find it quite so useful for New Zealand research. Its a new site, and loads of records are coming on board all the time and are set to double by February, so that will change quite soon.

FindMyPast also has an Irish site that only came on line early last year. I have Irish heritage on my father's side - quite far back though (late 1700s/early 1800s), and as yet I haven't had a chance to really evaluate this website. Records are being added to this new website all the time too.

Sometime this year, all three FindMyPast websites are being amalgamated into one, with different subscription options being added.

Again, when it does, I will be recommending my customers use both Ancestry and FindMyPast together! Its really hard to say which site is best. It all depends on what your area of interest is, and which site has the record sets you are looking for.


Week #1 – Blogs

Week 1 – Blogs: Blogging is a great way for genealogists to share information with family members, potential cousins and each other. For which blog are you most thankful? Is it one of the earliest blogs you read, or a current one? What is special about the blog and why should others read it?

I read a great many blogs. You can see many of my favourites featured off to the left of this page. My favourite ones at the moment are Chris Paton's British Genes (previously Scottish Genes) and  Shauna Hicks, SHHE Genie Rambles.

I have Scottish heritage and find I learn lots. I like their writing styles:- informative, succinct, and also entertaining.

Also, as my professional base is predominately New Zealand/Australian (initially anyway, till the customer gets beyond the "early settler" days), I find Shauna a fount of knowledge in this area.

However, as well Shauna, Chris and my distinguished bloggers listed on the left of this page, I also read blogs that are posted via Twitter and Google+.

I also make sure to read my own work blog Kintalk, when one of my colleagues has written a guest post for it. In the Research Centre, we all have our own particular niche interests and expertise. Some of my colleagues like Janelle and Marie, have been in this field professionally for 20 to 30 years. They have amassed a huge amount of information, and it often astonishes me to discover what gems I will learn from their blog posts!

Blogs are a great way to learn new stuff!

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2012) that invite genealogists and others to discuss resources in the genealogy community including websites, applications, libraries, archives, genealogical societies and more. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your thoughts on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

I'm going to try and blog each week, so lets see how I do! You'll have to read this page from bottom up though (I didn't want to create a new blog, but wanted to keep it separate from my other blog posts).

1 comment:

  1. I agree that the blogs by Chris PATON and Shauna HICKS are very helpful. I look forward to reading your future posts in the '52 weeks' series.