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best site for viewing census info etc

ProfilePosted byOptionsPost Date


Inky1 Report 12 Jan 2013 17:04

For MarieCeleste

“the actual census images are the same on all sites”

Hmm. There was of course only one set of originals. But there were a number of copies/microfilms taken of those Enumerators Records.
Before images were available online I spent many hours at the old London Family Records Office, staring at a microfilm reader. Those films were well used – and well scratched. And likely to have been discarded after the FRO was closed.

It is very possible that Ancestry and Brightsolid did not have access to the same set of films. Furthermore I doubt that the two organisations utilised the same methods to produce their images. For me, the Ancestry images are marginally preferable to the Brightsolid ones.

I agree that the transcription error rate varies.

It is important to understand what can be done if a researcher (ie one of us) happens upon an error – whether that error is ‘quite clear to me’ or just ‘looks a bit iffy’.

FindMyPast(Brightsolid) review suggested alternatives and either accept or reject them. At least they did the last time I submitted one.
Ancestry allow you to input alternative names, places, etc., and to add your own short comments. This facility is moderated.
This site. I believe it uses the FindMyPast data sets? Hence the lack of facility to request changes?

So, as you quite rightly stated, it is a case of personal preference.


DazedConfused Report 12 Jan 2013 16:19

When checking FreeBMD it is sometimes better to follow the adage of

less is more

So when I am looking for say James Harrison born in 1875 in Chelsea, London

I would first go for the name and just the year, with 2 either side so a search criteria of 1873 - 1877. And then from those results I would then look at any which may have a middle name which corresponds with that I know James had, and then look only at those in London & Middlesex, By slowly cutting out those you do not want you can often get to the right person by the process of elimination.

It works for me!!!!


linda25g Report 12 Jan 2013 14:24

thank you for the help :)
I am using BMD but as a lot of my family is from rural areas there are a lot of blanks
(or maybe it's my search techniques)

I'll check out the above sites but basically it seems that all I'd be getting for my money here or ancestry is being able to view census info??


DazedConfused Report 12 Jan 2013 13:24

Ancestry also has some early marriage certificates online from London and Lancashire.

It may be best if you consider looking at the free trials for both Ancestry and Findmypast to decide which you use. However, as you already have a tree on Ancestry, their hints can be very useful, providing you check that the hints are connencted (not everyone does this) and I would advise making any tree on any site PRIVATE, that way you can ensure that only people you can to view can do so. This stops unscrupulous people from copying your tree.

Good luck


AnnCardiff Report 12 Jan 2013 11:50 - free :-D


Kense Report 12 Jan 2013 09:21

In the case of marriage certificates, it is worth knowing that Parish Records (post 1837) have the same information as certificates and may have the actual signatures of the couple and witnesses, whereas the certificates are usually copied from the original.


MarieCeleste Report 11 Jan 2013 20:42

Hello Linda, the actual census images are the same on all sites, the way they present the transcriptions varies so it's personal preference.

You can't view any certificates on-line, you have to buy them. You can search the BMD indexes and again it's preference as to how the different sites format them. Of course you can search index for free on FreeBMD.

Ancestry has a very good collection of parish records where you can view images, but you can find a good selection of records on FamilySearch for free.

Look round the various sites and take advantage of any free trials before deciding which is best for you.


linda25g Report 11 Jan 2013 20:20

I have my tree here and on ancestry, I want to start expanding it and will need to view census info and birth/death/marriage certificates
I realise I will have to pay for this but is one site better than the other? or do they both hold the same info