20 July 2008

England and Wales 1841 and 1861 census information on FamilySearch

The pilot site for new FamilySearch shows red stars against database additions, so I was interested to see the 1841 and 1861 census for England and Wales has just been added.

The database is the result of cooperation between free-for-the-asking FamilySearch and the commercial FindMyPast.com. How can they co-exist?

My first test search was specific to the 1861 census for anyone with last name Ordish born at any time in Suffolk, England. Two hits were shown. The free information supplied was name, age, gender, birthplace, relation to the head of household and record type, in this case household. There is a link to the FindMyPast site where you can pay for the full information, including where the person was living, and an image of the original.

As a subscriber to FindMyPast this doesn't add anything for me. It is additional information for those who don't have that access and might be helpful to someone who had a transcript from another source, say FreeCEN, and wanted a second opinion on, say, the birthplace.

The wider benefit is in the general search, before selecting a specific dataset. In this way you can search across all the indexed records so the hits include, for instance, the baptism and marriage datasets as well as the censuses. There were some cases where a general search yielded only census results, even though there were baptism and marriage records to be found. There didn't seem to be a reason, but it is a pilot site.

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