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Searching pre-1911 birth indexes

Discussion in 'Search tips - discussion' started by At home in NZ, Nov 15, 2020.

  1. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    Whenever I find a birth record in Ancestry without a mother's maiden name I check the GRO index and add the mother's maiden name to the Ancestry record, entering in the explanation 'See GRO Online Index'.
     
    • Good tip Good tip x 1
  2. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    In case anyone has forgotten, the birth index at Findmypast already has maiden names for most pre-1911 records, so it is always my first port of call.
     
  3. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    Tongue firmly in cheek, what has FMP got to do with errors in Ancestry?
     
  4. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Come come the answer is obvious and in the text. Peter reminds that maiden names can be found 'for most pre-1911 records' in FMP and recommends that route as a first choice. Of course those who do not subscribe to FMP best follow the Ancestry/GRO Index route to discover maiden names.
     
  5. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    I will repeat - tongue was firmly in cheek, maybe you don't understand what I meant?
     
  6. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Yes clearly noted your firm in cheek comment and quite familiar with what that meant, but still mystified for the need to comment about it being out of place. But each to his/her own of course.
     
  7. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    Because Peter likes us to keep to topic and there he was breaking his own rule. It was a lighthearted dig.
     
  8. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    I don't agree - you don't need a subscription to search at Findmypast. There's certainly no point using Ancestry since they don't have maiden names in their index prior to 1911 (apart from the occasional entry amended by a helpful user); indeed, they don't even have a place for maiden name on the search form.
     
  9. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    What do you mean no point in using Ancestry, many people - me included - begin most of my searches from an Ancestor page and if successful I save to the page. SIMPLES! Of course Ancestry has its limitations -and let us not forget its advantages (not least DNA) - so should a birth search lack a mother's maiden name prior to 1911, then that is the time I turn to FMP or search the GRO index.
     
  10. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    In an attempt to 'disprove' this, I checked with some births in the 1800's and found the maiden name is recorded. Perhaps Ancestry is not consistent but I get rather hot under the collar when Ancestry is belittled when compared to FMP. If I ever use FMP I call it resorting to FMP.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. Britjan

    Britjan LostCousins Star

    I have an ambivalent relationship with FMP , every time I think I won't renew my sub with them some little nugget of information makes me change my mind. Case in point the recent addition of Billion Graves cemetery index gave me the exact date of my great grandfather's death, burial details and a photo of the grave marker.
     
  12. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    Where do I find this? Is it part of the Ultimate subscription?
     
  13. Britjan

    Britjan LostCousins Star

    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
  14. canadianbeth

    canadianbeth LostCousins Member

    Thanks. I bookmarked it for future reference but so far none of my great-grandparents on either side are there.
     
  15. At home in NZ

    At home in NZ LostCousins Star

    You don't need Ancestry or FMP, Billion Graves has been around a while, it's free.
    Take a look in this link
     
  16. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Tribal loyalty is counter-productive when it comes to researching family history, and particularly so in this case:

    1. Ancestry's GRO indexes for 1837-1915 came from FreeBMD, so can be searched free at that site; the FreeBMD version is more accurate because it has been updated over the years.
    2. FreeBMD does not have the maiden names prior to 1911 because they're not in the GRO quarterly indexes.
    3. If you search England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 at Ancestry mother's maiden name isn't even on the search form.
    4. None of the records from this dataset that I looked at (in 1850, 1870, and 1890) showed the mother's maiden name - they didn't even have a place for it.
    Remember, you can search the Findmypast birth indexes by mother's maiden name prior to 1911 without a subscription - even if you're an Ancestry subscriber!
     
  17. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Yes Peter but 'pot'/'kettle' comes to mind as time and time again you favour FMP over Ancestry. What is that if not Tribal (or something quite close) loyalty? For serious and expedient research one needs both although I do not decry the free ones, and indeed use them myself. But although your oft repeated advice that one does not need a FMP subscription to search is true, it merely rewards with a 'taster' and not the full result. Scotland's People is another example of this and a waste of time without even a modest purchase of credits. Thankfully I do not need to use it often.

    If I had to relinquish one subscription it would be FMP as I simply could not do without Ancestry. Indeed I have again upgraded to a Global Subscription with the additional cost being met by a cousin who wished me to research his US/Canadian cousins. But, that said, I have no intention of discarding FMP and am quite able to see where it has advantage as you often point out.
     
  18. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    Bob, you should have gone to SpecSavers. In my latest newsletter I recommend the Ancestry DNA test ahead of all others, including Findmypast - because it's the best.

    The fact is, no one site is the best for everything - if I wanted to search death indexes by date of birth I go to Ancestry, not Findmypast (Findmypast don't offer this as a search option). If I wanted to find out what other entries are on the same register page I'd go to FreeBMD. But anyone who doesn't choose Findmypast to search the pre-1911 birth indexes is, frankly, bonkers - since the only alternative index which includes maiden names is the clunky one at the GRO site.
    At Findmypast you always get the full search results even without a subscription - at Ancestry you generally don't (the exceptions are when the data has been provided by a free site such as FamilySearch or FreeBMD).

    upload_2020-11-29_15-53-53.png

    upload_2020-11-29_15-56-9.png

    Of course, unless it's a free record set, you can't see the transcript/image without a subscription - but I pointed that out in my 22nd November newsletter when I recommended free searches at Findmypast.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and personal preferences, but if you're going to suggest that somebody else is biased it needs to be based on more than your subjective impression.
     
  19. Bob Spiers

    Bob Spiers LostCousins Superstar

    Yes no one can doubt your strong recommendations for the Ancestry DNA test which I fully endorse, and I believe so do most others in the Forum.

    But as for your last point...

    Yes of course it is my subjective impression, after subjectively reading your many Newsletters (of which I am a great fan), your Masterclasses, Forum postings and your answers to the posting of others. Bias is a natural part of life and is everywhere; supporting football teams; what TV programmes to watch -or not watch; what political party to support -or not support - the list is endless. I admit to my own biases as I do when I discern them in others; including any denial of same. I have said many times, each to his own and that includes a modicum of bias.
     
  20. peter

    peter Administrator Staff Member

    The tenor of your post was not "this is my personal opinion" but "Peter is biased towards Findmypast". However, you produced no actual evidence, and the comment you made regarding my recommendation to utilise free searching at Findmypast was highly misleading, as anyone can see from the screenshots I posted.

    As it happens, if I had to give up my subscription to either Findmypast or Ancestry it would have to be Findmypast - because most of my current research is related to DNA and I manage tests for so many of my cousins. (However, I would be comforted by the amount of information provided by a free search. at Findmypast.)

    Are you now going to argue that I'm biased towards Ancestry? Or will you accept that I am not biased, but give objective advice based on my long experience of using both sites? I have have been an Ancestry subscriber for 18 years and a Findmypast subscriber since they first offered subscriptions (about 16 years ago, when they were still 1837online), and during that period have helped to shape the development of both sites during user consultations.

    You don't have to agree with me, but if you plan to assert that I'm wrong about something, please make sure that you have some actual evidence to back up your case.
     

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