Friday, May 27, 2016

Find My Past now has HINTS!

Find My Past has been promoting its very new Beta family tree hints recently with a contest. #treechallenge Some, like myself, found uploading a GEDCOM file (from my phone-built tree at another company) to Find My Past a chore as, perhaps due to increased demand, the upload failed. I was able to upload another file pretty quickly though.

I was more concerned to be told afterwards that the hoped for hints wouldn't appear unless I added or edited individuals. This seemed not to be the case for those promoting the service. However, I will say that at some point hints on my tree - over 700 of them - were apparently turned on - without my doing anything.

And, because of the uploading difficulties, Find My Past offered me and others a research chat with staff. This is one of the many things I appreciate about Find My Past. The company does reward loyal customers and usually offers a 'sweetener' when there is an obvious problem.

Chat staff were quick to respond to research questions with suggestions but there were comments about the new hint service too and I thought some might be interested in these.

- The number of trees a customer can have is unlimited. This is good for me as I keep separate trees for family and I have a one-name study (SAGGERS)

- Hints at the moment are from records of census and births, marriages and deaths, including registration of births, marriages and deaths and parish records. In my case, I see death hints include Canadian references to Billion Graves. (More about this below.)

- I asked if there would be newspaper hints. Love the access to those old newspapers! Sounds as if this is unlikely, or at least far away, for technical reasons, but I did suggest Find My Past offer newspaper research hints, letting people know that newspapers for their trees' places and time of interest are available to search.

- One person asked if we can look at other members' trees or contact tree owners. No, at least not yet, but if you can contact the owner, they can make their tree 'public' and send the URL so you can view it.  Later there may be viewing of public trees and matches and hints from trees. I don't always find hints from trees elsewhere useful -  except as clues - but new clues are always good!

Check the Find My Past FAQ if you are interested in uploading a tree to Find My Past. There is a free offer good till May 30th - and if you upload a tree and share an amazing find you may win really great prizes.

Now a quibble.

One of my few ongoing issues with Find My Past is that when the company began promotions in North America, I was 'promised' there'd be Canadian records. Alas, not much yet. Although Find My Past does have the Archive CD Books collection which can be very useful and  extremely handy to have in my subscription.

I was interested to see that at least a few Canadians in my tree had hints. But! so unhappy to see their description.

These are all hints from Billion Graves with Find My Past describing the person's grave as in the United States thus:

"We found John William Rogers in 1970 in United States in the Canada Billion Graves Cemetery Index record set."

My curmudgeonly great uncle would be horrified! This needs fixing. I can't understand how a British company made this mistake. Perhaps colonial history lessons are in order.

Chat staff suggested I send this on to support which I have done.

My favourite find so far from a hint was an abstract (labelled a transcription) of a record of my parents' marriage which I thought was impressive given how basic the information in my tree is, how common the names, and how far from home they were married (District of Columbia, USA, 1946). It was a bit of a dance to figure how what this hint was based on - it turned out to be a FamilySearch (film).

I do think this was an excellent hint. Hope you find one as good. Remember the hashtag #treechallenge if you want to win and share. Read the Terms and Conditions and the official offer. (I think it's unclear as it says somewhere that just uploading or starting a tree gets you in the contest.)

But if a hint turns into a real find that will be the best #genealogy prize.

(P. S. Can you spot the newpaper's mistake? )

1 comment:

Penny Allen said...

Thanks for your article Diane. It is always difficult to get across to vendors what works and what doesn't. Sometimes they are in such a hurry to load the data, they forget the little things - like accuracy! But, this may be an improvement that needs to be done in the code they use for linking datasets. Great to see FMP is listening and willing to take the scary step to 'talk' to the user! All the best... ( @pennysresearch )