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Searching findmypast


  • Searching findmypast

    How the records are organised
    All the records on the site are in sets.
    All the record sets on the site are organised by country.
    They are then organised into categories.
    Categories contain record collections.
    Record collections contain the individual record sets.

    E.g. The Record set for Hampshire baptisms is in the Record collection Births and baptisms, (in the sub-category Parish baptisms), which in turn is in the Category Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records.

    This PDF diagram attempts to demonstrate the organisation - Organisation of records in findmypast - not all record sets are shown.
    N.B. It is far too large to print!! This smaller diagram shows just the category for Birth, Marriage, Death & Parish Records.
    What is available?

    To see which record sets they have on the site, you can go to A-Z of record sets. This is very useful for having a quick look to see what is there. As its name implies, you need to search by using keywords.

    To see everything for the UK that is on the site in one list, go to Search All Records on the green menu. You will arrive at Search all UK Records, ignore what is on this page and click on the link World at the top of the page. When the page opens, scroll right down the page until you see Full list of United Kingdom records. Clicking on this link gives you every UK record set on the site.



    How you go about searching the records depends on what you are looking for.

    If you are looking for one person, then you can go from the Home page.

    This has the advantage of showing you everything that matches in every record set on the site, but can return enormous numbers of results, especially if it is a common name, which you then need to gradually filter through by using the menu on the left.

    If you are only looking for census returns or BMDs or records from just one category e.g. Military, you are better off going to the green search menu and searching by category (see below) where you can search as many records sets as you like within the category at one time.

    If you only want to search one record set, then you can go to the A-Z of Search records, search for what you want, select that search page and go from there - the disadvantage here is that you cannot add other record sets to your search.

    SEARCH BY CATEGORY (drop down menus)

    If you start by going to the green search menu and searching from there you will be searching by category and adding filters (record sets).

    To search a category, you need to select it from the green Search menu.
    When you select a category it takes you to the main page for the category.
    Unless you want to search all the records in that category at one go, you will need to select the collection you want (see below).

    On the right of each heading is a little arrow which gives you a drop down menu.
    The screen below shows you what you see if you select Birth, marriage, death & parish records from the main search menu. The other categories work in the same way.

    You will also not be able to use some search fields which only appear on the specific search pages.

    You need either to filter out what you don't want by date or location on the category page or go to a specific search page. The specific search pages often have different fields to search by. E.g. to search using Maiden name, you need the specific page for Births & Baptisms and to search using Spouse's name, you need the page for Marriages & Divorces (see diagram above). To search a census using birthplace, you need to use the dedicated Census search page.

    Searching a whole category is frustrating if you have a common name to look for and/or a wide date range, so searching using sub-category pages from the All Collection menu can be more useful.

    FTF GUIDE to findmypast: Searching using the mother's maiden name

    FTF GUIDE to findmypast: To search parish records

    FTF GUIDE to findmypast: To search using spouse's name

    FTF GUIDE to findmypast: Searching a census using birthplace

    findmypast's own help guide: How to search findmypast
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