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Find My Past New Website

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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby Yartin » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:29 am

Adrian35. We must agree to differ regarding the issue of posting anonymously. They are a business. A complaint is a complaint. They have the ability to discover the poster's e-mail address. That is sufficient. Psychology has nothing to do with it. Whether a name (which could be given as Mickey Mouse anyway) is appended neither alters the need for a response nor the pertinence of the issue.

As for a statement from FMP, I mean on the long-term design. If the idea is to use successive filters to access information throughout, then the site will not be appropriate, efficient or speedy for experienced researchers. If it is ultimately only going to function like that for elements of the data then it may be acceptable. I've seen nothing about a clear vision of the final shape of the site from anyone on the FMP team.

Of course the site has to be designed - and it was already of course. The issue we and they seem to really be discussing how they move forward. No use designing a new site if no one wants to use it. You cannot run a business like that. Designers are only employed to design things people want to use.

The main elements of census returns, and BMDs are not likely to be added to in the near future (regarding records for England and Wales). Along with parish records and wills these are the major primary sources for English and Welsh genealogy. Already many other collections are included and the system has been working.

It seems to me that trying to treat many different classes of record on a a one-size-fits-all system is misguided. If this company can run several different genealogical websites why can't it separate its datasets? There are many ways a user-friendly system can be created. They are trying to squeeze a size 10 foot into a size 5 shoe.

When the dust settles people will be left with a choice. To use or not use the site. It will sink or swim on that basis alone. What is concerning though is that people may be "forced" to use a particular site due to exclusive deals with repositories that house the original data, and that is where this issue really needs taking forward now. No one should be at the mercy of any of these companies by allowing them any long-term exclusivity to historical records.
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:06 am

Yartin, Apart from the areas where we agree to differ, I agree with virtually all you say. I have no real opinion yet on the usability of the search system because all the (substitute 4 letter word here) surrounding obscures my view of it. I have to say that finding year of death on a census output is not encouraging.

On the point of people being locked in - with ancestors in Cheshire & Staffordshire, that's me. However I understand that in some cases at least, exclusivity is not permanent. Ancestry have acquired some of the non-conformist registers and FMP are reported to be indexing the WW1 Soldiers Documents.

As for the need to do SOMETHING to cope with all this new data, I simply wish us to bear in mind that, "I canna change the laws of physics, Cap'n"

Sent from my GT-I8190N
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:46 am

It has only just occurred to me but until this episode, Brightsolid (aka ???) had a good reputation (in my book at least) for implementations. E.g. 1911 census. So why the change? After all even this was phased.

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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby Jon Bauckham » Fri Apr 04, 2014 4:12 pm

Hello everyone,

We've been in touch with FMP and we're going to be publishing the results of a Q&A with them very soon - hopefully on Monday.

If you could post your questions below, we'll endeavour to make sure they are answered. Alternatively, you can send these to the email address in my signature.

Best,
Jon
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby Sylcec » Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:41 am

Have to confess that I was never a massive fan of using FMP, though one area where it used to be far superior to all competitors was in the presentation of 1911 census findings.

We all know that this is the only census to present original householder schedules - but what we don't get is to see that household in context, the neighbours, including other families in the same building, access to a district description etc. The 'old' FMP had all the associated census documents linked to the householder schedule and they were available to view at no extra charge. The site change and disappearance of these other census documents happened just a few days before I was to give a lecture here in Sydney on UK census a month ago. The adjunct documents have still not been restored and there is no explanation on the 1911 census pages of where they have gone.

For the first time however I do have a personal subscription to FMP - so that I can access the BL's India Office Records. The FMP viewer is quite inadequate and frequently does not display images at all, so I inevitably resort to downloading and opening in Irfanview (wonderful free picture editing software) - the downloaded image usually displays before the one in the FMP viewer.

Rather irrelevant I know, but it is my belief that many UK organisations have chosen to go with FMP to host their records simply because it is a British organisation, and their reps 'speak the same language'. Unfortunately they (FMP) don't seem to have sufficient experience or capacity to manage the massive influx of new material in an efficient and reliable manner.

Good luck and thanks for taking up the matter on behalf of WDYTYA readers and forum contributors.
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby Margaret Hirst » Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:13 am

I am beginning to wonder whether we might actually be dealing with Fifth Columnists here. With FMP's reputation soaring (pre change obviously), did Ancestry alone, or some shady genealogy website Cartell (like they used to have in Dallas - although then it was oil), plant a few stooges into FMP?

And have they brain-washed the senior management into thinking that they can develop a new system to rival, nay outclass, Ancestry etc? I found that, when I was working in large hierarchical organisations, that if you sold an idea well enough, and used enough jargon that the higher-ups didn't understand, none of them would be brave enough to admit they didn't understand and ask what you meant. This resulted in them all voting for the idea, so that they didn't make themselves look like ignorant numpties.

Since this whole situation is ridiculous, and is getting more ridiculous by the day, the above scenario is as good as any other.

Yesterday I sent an email to DC Thomson via their online form (unable to post the URL here but I have put it on the Feedback Forum on FMP.

"I am one of those who has been contributing to the Feedback Forum relating to the changes made to FMP this past week. I have done what was requested and have submitted specific examples of problems on the Forum, but there has been no acknowledgement - in fact FMP staff have been conspicuous by their absence from any comment on the Forum for several days now.

Today there was a statement put out on Facebook by Anneliese van den Belt, but there was no equivalent on the website. Not everyone has access to Facebook. Plus there has been no apology.

It is straightforward common sense that, if you acknowledge a mistake, apologise for it, and set out the steps that you are taking to rectify it, then people will be more accommodating and forgiving. By this not happening, things are getting more and more frayed, and the disillusionment is spreading - as is the word about FMP across other websites. If you had actually planned to alienate people from your website, you couldn't have done a better job.

Someone needs to put something out, on the front page of the FMP website, and fast.

Also, someone needs to be finding out exactly what happened here; as this has to be the biggest genealogy site cock-up ever - and after Ancestry's effort a few years ago, that is saying something.

As has been said so often recently, FMP was the best but, overnight, it has gone to possibly the worst."

Not had a response yet, but maybe that is understandable since they will all probably be running around with their hands clapped tightly over their buttocks in an attempt to protect their own backsides and unable to type. (Seriously, I didn't expect a response quickly - if at all.)
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby thingybobby » Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:45 am

The presentation of search results, used to be brilliant, but not so now.
Why does a census search now only show individual, rather than all occupants on transcription and then the image is tiny?
Why does a living relative search, not show the year of the electoral list?
Why are download times dramatically increased?
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby Margaret Hirst » Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:25 pm

What is it with FMP? The only thing they put put is that statement which is now over a week old; I think, if I remember rightly it was issued on 26 March. It gets fed out to anyone who makes an enquiry and then spouted as some sort of "gospel" about what is happening. What is going on? Has Annelies vdB been got rid of?
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby Margaret Hirst » Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:28 pm

WDYTYA - what was the result of your enquiry with FMP?

Where is this going to be published?

When it is ready to be published, could something be entered on the Feedback Forum on FMP and on the Facebook page so that it can be brought to the subscribers' attention with a hyperlink?

Thanks
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby Jon Bauckham » Mon Apr 07, 2014 10:21 pm

Hello Margaret,

It took quite a while to sift through the feedback (my inbox exploded after this thread was posted on the FMP forum!), so I wasn't able to compile the list of questions and send them until early this afternoon. Fingers crossed we'll have the answers and be ready to post them tomorrow (Tuesday).

Best,
Jon
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