Irish Roots

Why use FindMyPast?

Mon, Dec 9, 2013, 01:00

Genealogists are a frugal bunch. Or perhaps I just mean perennially skint. In any case, we go out of our way to avoid having to pay for access to records. The ingenuity invested in squeezing every last quantum of information from free index searches could have designed the Large Hadron Collider.

Why, then, would anyone pay to search records on one website that are free on another? The subscription package at includes Griffith’s Valuation, free at and the General Register Office indexes of births, marriages and deaths, free at So why do I still use FindMyPast to search these?

For Griffith’s, it’s simple. The free version does not cater for surname variants, makes no distinction between tenants and landlords, and prevents searches for an individual in a particular townland. You can have a townland or a person, but not both. The FindMyPast version makes provision for all of these. And their record images are clear, undefaced by copyright watermarks and simple to download.

For the GRO indexes, the case is less obvious. FamilySearch has a good surname variant search and the transcripts on both sites are identical. But FindMyPast have added some ingenuity. The “MarriageFinder” very elegantly uses the indexes to find potential marriage partners.

Obviously, when two people marry each other, both names are recorded on the same page , so when the names are indexed, both index entries are identical. So for every entry in the marriage index, you can see the names of all the potential partners on that page. It may not be forensic, but it beats manual to-ing and fro-ing.

And, of course, they also have lots of records not found elsewhere, 30 million added in the last 12 months alone. And they’re Irish. And they’re really quite good value, even for the perennially skint.