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Find My Past New Website

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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby TraceyABennett » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:26 pm

Address search on Census records doesn't really work properly. Yes there's a field marked 'address' but it doesn't return meaningful results.

Eg on the old FMP if I searched for 'Bridge St, Warrington, Lancashire' I would get, well, a list of properties on Bridge St Warrington which would be probably 100 properties at most.

I've just done the same search on the new FMP and got 113,959 results :shock: They cover not only Warrington but all the neighbouring towns that share a 'WA' postcode. It's just too time consuming to wade through this number of results.

Also, as previously mentioned, from the home page if you click on the main search and select BMD/Parish records, there are fields to enter birth and death date but not marriage. There is a workaround to this but, again, it illustrates the point. It's not intuitive and users really shouldn't have to remember the many and various 'entry points' to each dataset.
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby AdrianB38 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:29 pm

Editor wrote:I think customer service and communication is going to be one of the main thrusts of my discussion with them.


Absolutely - if they had only said, "Look we've got the new site, the software isn't quite ready yet, but we really, really want to launch so that the First World War service records go up on the 100th Anniversary because we simply can't load them onto the old site, so please bear with us in the meantime"....

If they'd only said that, then I for one would have been much more patient and understanding. Especially if they'd thrown in an extension of a month to everyone's subscription.

If you're straight and honest with people, it's surprising how much they will put up with. I remember being hugely embarrassed after my last major software failure - not embarrassed because it had gone wrong (though I was), but embarrassed how understanding everyone was! :oops:
Adrian
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby TraceyABennett » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:31 pm

Oh yes, mention of the Cheshire Parish Registers reminded me.

The Cheshire Parish Records are filed under 'D' - for Diocese of Chester. :roll: So not exactly easy to find. Even when you do know this information, if you start to type 'Diocese of Chester' into the 'Record Set' field, it brings up a drop down list with the list of Diocese of Chester datasets. Trouble is there are 6 altogether (birth, marriage and death, all duplicated for Bishop's transcripts) and the drop down list isn't wide enough to display the whole name so you can't see which of the 6 you're selecting.

All this stuff is so simple and basic it begs the question whether any testing has been done at all.
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby AdrianB38 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:49 pm

Tracey - tip for you - type "Chester" and you'll get the Diocese of Chester stuff.

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

Postby TraceyABennett » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:56 pm

I've just tried that but it only brings up 2 of the 6 Diocese of Chester options, I can't see which 2 they are as the full title won't display. On the plus side I do also get half a dozen Manchester hits thrown in for luck :roll:
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby AdrianB38 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:36 pm

Weird. I see all 6. Given you clearly(?) have a narrow screen, don't see all 6 but do see the Manchester ones, is it possible you are missing a scroll bar?

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

Postby ArctophileLady » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:48 pm

There are just so many anomalies with this site that I cannot trust the results anymore. When I am told that there is no-one of a particular name living in Shrewsbury on the 1841 census I need to know that the information is correct, but what do I find - if I take out the name of the town and insert the county, Shropshire, then plod my way through the list, there are 3 people with this name living in Shrewsbury? Next they will tell me I was whistling the wrong tune when I entered the data.
Another problem which I reported at the start of April is with address searches. Here I tried to search for Victoria Street in Oswestry on the 1871 census. Typing in Victoria Street I am given the options :Adjoining Victoria Street; Albert Mansions Victoria Street; Albert Street Victoria Street....
None of these are what I require, I click on Browse Streets and then have to work through a list in alphabetical order until I finally get to Victoria Street. Incredible!!!
My complaint is the same as many others; I paid my money in good faith to this company. They have not had the courtesy to apologize, reply to my reporting of errors (apart from a standard issue email) or offer any compensation to me , although I believe some people have received a two month extension of their subscription. Instead I have had to suffer the indignity of having my Facebook posts removed and have been barred from making further posts there. Is this good customer relations?
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby Margaret Hirst » Tue Apr 22, 2014 4:55 pm

Adrian

I fully agree with you that this whole situation could have been much better handled. Had FMP been more forthcoming about what was going on, they could have deflected a good proportion of the problems and criticism. Instead, they have retreated and tried to pass the blame onto browsers, computers and, worst of all, their customers' inability to understand - a more complete impersonation of Pontius Pilate would be hard to find. And they have ignored their customers on the Feedback Forum, and disenfranchised those customers who did not have access to media such as Facebook and Twitter. Is it any wonder that people have complained so vociferously. I have said many times that all they had to do was ACKNOWLEDGE, APOLOGISE, and EXPLAIN how things were going to sorted out. That way you deflate your critics and take your customers with you. They will say that they released a statement by their CEO - which they did on 26 March on Facebook. This has been re-released once more about 2 weeks ago. There has been nothing further from any senior management since. I complained that this statement had not been put onto the website; only the FMP Facebook page. I had looked through the tabs on the website, including the News page, and there was no statement. I was never challenged that I was wrong. Well, would you credit it, one day it appeared as if by magic under spurious dates on the News page - twice. Now, this is not difficult to achieve. They have failed to update the What's New page - until (strangely) after being reminded about it.

If people have stopped being precise about the problems experienced, why on earth would people continue to submit examples to the Feedback Forum only to have their submissions ignored. I know that I spent a considerable amount of time conducting searches and making detailed feedback reports only to have absolutely no response.

Find My Past have been (and continue to be) the architects of their own problems. Will this progress into their demise?
Margaret Hirst
 
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby TraceyABennett » Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:03 pm

Adrian - Yes it's possible I'm missing a scroll bar as Chrome changed a couple of months ago or so and their scroll bars suddenly disappeared. I've had to add an extension to get them back. But as FMP is designed to run on Chrome you wouldn't think that would be an issue?! I'm using a laptop with a good sized screen so not sure why my list would seem to be narrower than yours - it's all rather strange.
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Re: Find My Past New Website

Postby AstroKeith » Tue Apr 22, 2014 5:10 pm

My own list of issues to raise with FMP would cover the following;

The new search system seems to be built around a generic tool, which for each record set has custom search field entry forms, and custom search result output forms. Many of the problems are arising from these custom input and output forms not matching the particular record set being queried. This shows a lack of understanding of genealogy research in the first place, and very poor testing in the second place. Why did FMP launch this on its subscribers without the ability to use the old system while all these forms were corrected? Examples are "asking for date of death", when searching "parish marriage registers".

The new systems requires extensive use of filters. These have to be made before a search is submitted, and then revised accordingly. This is very time consuming. Also the filters are hard and allow no fuzzy results or similar. A simple error in a transcription then leads to bad search results. This alone may be responsible for a very large percentage of the reported problems on the forum. It is certainly one of my biggest headaches. AdrianB38 in an earlier posting described very well the practical issues in trying to enter “Liverpool” and catch all variants. I myself had a problem with locating someone in Brighton, Sussex. The transcription had not included the “Sussex” that was in the original census image and so my search for “Brighton” in “Sussex” was rejected as according to FMP the only correct county for that record is a “”, ie a blank field!

Similarly, when entering a surname, one is currently wise not to tick the “name variants” box. This typically adds many thousands of results, where the surname transcription has resulted in either a simple “?”, or a “blank”. When queried, FMP said this was intentional as many genealogists want this! They went on to say that the thousands of results are presented in “relevance” order, true, but this assumes one doesn’t then want to sort the results by say date, country, etc because upon doing so the few meaningful results are then scattered through the thousands of blank results.

Different results on the same search seem to be found by a) different subscribers, b) depending on the search form being used, or how one got to the search form, and c) the size of the date range window.

Overall, the new site search engine produces results that swing from tens of thousands, to zero. This is due to a combination of the new ways of doing things (poor communication & guidance from FMP) and search engine programming issues. The result is that subscribers have lost all confidence in the system, especially when it can’t find known individuals. FMP are trying to gloss over these problems and infuriating their customers in the process. When are they going to admit the scale of the problem?

Why have they mainly and firstly used Facebook to communicate and not their own website?

Why are they pressing on with "100 new records in 100 days", when the site is not meeting the basic subscribers expectations and clearly needs much work to be done first?
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