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Saturday, 18 February 2017

A Conversation with FindMyPast

While at RootsTech, I had the pleasure of attending as a RootsTech Ambassador. This allows me access to the Keynote speakers and the top level executive for the major sponsors where I can arrange interviews with them. 

On the Friday afternoon, Kathryn Lake Hogan and I had the chance to catch up with Gail Rivett (Chief Marketing Officer) and Ben Bennett (Executive VP, North America and International) of FindMyPast. We interviewed Gail and Ben last year and were thrilled to be able to catch up with them again this year. We chatted for nearly an hour! 

Kathryn Lake Hogan, Gail Rivett, Ben Bennett, Christine Woodcock
The big news that was announced at RootsTech this year was the release of the Immigration to a New Country records, which are actually from the Treasury Records at the National Archives in London. 


Another big announcement from FMP at RootsTech was the addition of the Catholic Heritage Records from the Archdiocese of New York, Philadelphia and Boston. More records will be added over time.

From my conversations with Audrey Collins at the Commonwealth Dinner, I learned that FindMyPast has also digitized the Treasury Records for the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745. Ben tells me that these will be available on FMP later this year. How exciting is that?

We had some interesting discussion about the search interface on the FMP website. And the categorization of the records to countries. There has been lots of upset in Canada with the Canadian records all being lumped under North America. Ben tells me that FMP is well aware of the issues and that there is a large investment in time and resources this year to fix the problems. When FMP was set up, it was set up in the UK. Initially all of the records available were UK records. Then FMP crept into the US market and a new category of records was added "North America" With expansion of acquisition of records from other countries, the records are basically in three categories "UK", "North America" (which currently includes Canada, but not Mexico) and "The Rest of the World" Changes are coming to better differentiate between the various countries, with the larger contributors of records getting their own categories. Another change coming is the search interface itself which will allow searching using additional fields like "Maiden Name" or others in the household. I can't wait to see the changes as they happen.

*Disclaimer: I am an Ambassador for FMP. This allows me a free subscription in exchange for opinions about the website, record sets and subscriptions. All opinions are my own and are not reflective of either FMP or of my relationship with FMP. My opinions do not imply endorsement by FMP.


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