Lost in the Woods

I’ve been looking at the viewing statistics for my blog, and despite the dust and tumbleweed blowing down the deserted main street, the page views are on the up. There still seems to be a purpose for this blog, and people are finding the content of interest. That certainly pleases me, but also shames me.

woods-768753_640To cut a long story short, at the end of 2015 I left the Findmypast organisation, where I had led the technical team both for Genes Reunited and the Findmypast Tree, and my motivation for genealogy dived. Thus the abrupt end to my blogging. 😦

Earlier this year, I had some time off from work, and managed to delve back into building my tree(s). Incredibly after all these years, we realised that we’d never researched my father’s grandparents and so my enthusiasm was rekindled, and we discovered some wonderful new stories.

But I also took the opportunity to explore this new avenue using all the usual websites for genealogy research, Ancestry, MyHeritage, Findmypast and TheGenalogist.

And I have reconfirmed to myself the conclusion that when researching UK focused ancestry and building your tree, then one site stands heads and shoulders above the rest, and that is Findmypast. The depth of records they now offer, and the quality of the hints that are provided on the tree, along with the straight forward hint/accept/merge process is second to none.

My only reservation in trumpeting this out too loud is that since the end of 2014, when the Tree team were disbanded at Findmypast, the tree feature has been left to stagnate. Incredibly, features that were almost complete, or had been prototyped back then, have not been finalised and rolled out. Items such as private tree sharing, hints across trees, media searching, media viewing and hinting, WhoDoYouThinkYouAre media view of your tree, etc.

Despite not knowing what the future may hold, and therefore making recommendations that your tree is safe long term on Findmypast, I would be keen to know if writing articles on how to get the best out of the Findmypast tree would still be helpful.

Let me know, and also suggest what you’d like to be able to do on the tree. Maybe you already can, it just needs to be explained. I would love to write some more articles on getting the most from online tree building and genealogy researching.


5 thoughts on “Lost in the Woods

  1. Hi Phil
    Sadly I have not used my FMP tree since I realised I could not share it. I find it useful to build my tree on FTM but use FMP records to add to my notes section and enter relevant information from there. The combination works well. I have a lot of London ancestors so Ancestry records are good for those.
    Every little bit of information is a jigsaw piece that helps build the whole picture.
    Hope everything is going well.

    • Thanks for the feedback. Yes, I too sometimes contemplate reverting back to FTM and working primarily offline, but the frustration I have is the loss of images via GEDCOM. When I created the GEDCOM import/export at Findmypast that was one thing we ensured was accessible, a complex url to pull images from Findmypast (but most imports ignore this). MyHeritage follow a similar pattern, but the desktop apps miss it out. Beyond frustrating!

      You can share your tree, but that involves (a) making it Public and (b) copy the url for your tree and sending manually to another person. NOt my choice of implementation!

      One suggestion I could make, which you may already do, and that is to export partial GEDCOMs from FTM, and import to Findmypast. Get the hints (ie let the power and magic of Findmypast work for you), and then either port the GEDCOM back into your tree or manually transfer the information.

  2. Hello, As much as FMP has moved on GR has been left in the gutter – for anything that may have worked does no more. Bit by bit they dont seem able to repair anything.
    The site remains poplar – an integration of the two sites my improve the position.
    The community chat boards traffic continues however the bounce of tree contacts is around 37% and ranked at in UK – 7454 Global 132806 / FMP UK 2222 Global 41948.

    Unless you can make a difference with genes or if they want to do anything they will become dead ducks. Ready for take over.

    • I couldn’t agree more. I was deeply saddened to watch the neglect that was inflicted not just on the Genes Reunited website but more so it’s paying (and non paying) users when I worked for Findmypast. When the new Findmypast tree was developed, I migrated all the Genes Reunited trees, and was daily keeping them in sync. The initial blocker was the tree search, which did get developed by another now former employee, but it was never sanctioned nor released. The tree was built so it could be hosted on any website, so could have replaced the old tree easily. The forums also had significant work done to them, along with a super fast search, and other improvements, but again none of this was sanctioned by product and therefore we were never allowed to release these improvements. I wish I could help, and in fact I actually emailed them recently to give them pointers on how they could implement these changes, but they have their own agenda now. (please note I am a former employee).

  3. Yes – that’s the problem. I stay with them but this may change it time. It,s looks as if i may be in there bad books for having a go at them.
    Not that bothered – i have put of going to ancestry for some considerable time for i have managed to get information for my tree which grows by the day.
    And i have kept to my same program all this time. Family Historian. Which handles 82,000 persons without any problems.
    I think they will run into the ground

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