Moderator Control Panel ]

Knowing what online companies have got for me

Share your thoughts with your fellow family historians – and the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine team – here

Knowing what online companies have got for me

Postby AdrianB38 » Thu May 28, 2015 7:13 pm

Sometimes I despair about how bad genealogy data suppliers are about telling us what they can provide us with. And half the time, if I complain, software suppliers take it only as a negative criticism, missing the fact that I'm actually wanting to help them (and therefore me).

Take the latest release from The Genealogist - see http://www.whodoyouthinkyouaremagazine.com/news/railway-employee-records-added-thegenealogist. The good thing is that the release tells that the data is taken from "dozens of railway company staff magazines published between 1905 and 1962". Well that's better than they have done in the past. And the companies would be? Because strange to relate, if I'm interested in someone employed by the (pre-1923) LNWR, then I really am not interested in their collection if the only pre-1923 staff magazines come from the Great Western. I can't find that coverage information on the site.

I guess instead I could actually submit some sample names and see whether they're in. So I follow the link and submit my grandpa's name - and it says Sorry, Your current subscription does not give access to this recordset. Factually correct because I don't have a subs. And nor will I have one if there's no means of deciding whether or not the data contains anything of interest.

Contrast this with Ancestry, where (if I'm not a subscriber) I find that their railway records have 4 references to his exact name and 24 to people with his correct surname and initials. Of course I can't see any more - nor should I. Ancestry's About UK, Railway Employment Records, 1833-1956 tells me that the data's come from TNA, gives me the TNA classes and the corresponding companies for the full collection. I can see that there are some LNWR records - his company. So I can even use the Ancestry search to find that they have records about someone with my grandpa's name, working for the company he worked for.

So the Ancestry stuff tells me a lot - it tells me that they could have something of interest to me, and so encourages me to take out a subs. The Genealogist simply blocks all access, discouraging me from going any further. C'mon guys - I know it's more difficult but give us a clue what you've got, what you've really, really got. It's for your own good!
Adrian
AdrianB38
 
Posts: 2538
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:07 pm

Re: Knowing what online companies have got for me

Postby Sylcec » Fri May 29, 2015 12:32 am

Adrian - for all the complaints about Ancestry, (indexing, family trees etc) - I absolutely agree with you that the information they provide about their data sets is superior to other subscription sites. Yes, often their data sets are incomplete, (something they have in common with other sites, but don't tell you about), but they do include information, e.g., with respect to British censuses about KNOWN missing pieces, that are missing from the TNA sets.

Findmypast is annoying in this respect - maybe they do provide the background info, but if so it is inadequate and hard to find.
Sylvia
User avatar
Sylcec
 
Posts: 2509
Joined: Sun Aug 17, 2008 4:36 pm
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: Knowing what online companies have got for me

Postby meekhcs » Fri May 29, 2015 8:54 am

Adrian and Sylvia I agree completely.
In the past the worst site I have come across is Forces War Records. I haven't used it for a long time and it may have improved, but I found at the time a huge discrepancy between what it promised and what it actually delivered.
I feel sorry for anyone starting to research their Family History today. Unless they are really savvy they can be persuaded to part with a not inconsiderable sum for a subscription which does not do the job they are looking for.

Sally
meekhcs
 
Posts: 1529
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 7:43 pm
Location: england

Re: Knowing what online companies have got for me

Postby AdrianB38 » Fri May 29, 2015 12:58 pm

I did look at FWR recently and, so far as I remember, they seem to have radically improved with what I think was a time line view marked up with pretty detailed descriptions of the data. Assuming that my recollections are accurate, all credit to them.

It's still important for you to know that the detailed records remain with the MoD, otherwise you will have expectations that can't be met.

Sent from my GT-I8190N
Adrian
AdrianB38
 
Posts: 2538
Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2010 4:07 pm

Re: Knowing what online companies have got for me

Postby NigelB » Fri May 29, 2015 3:07 pm

Thank you for your interest in our press release and the constructive criticism.

We are still adding magazines and resources to this set, one of the easiest ways for a non subscriber to see the range of records available is to use the free trial at www.thegenealogist.com/14day

This particular collection of transcribed entries from railway staff magazines are a unique resource to our site.

We are constantly adding material to each subscription and it is difficult to constantly update the descriptions. We will however be updating the system to give a breakdown of the currently used sources wherever possible.

The current coverage system is shown as a link under the subscription descriptions www.thegenealogist.co.uk/coverage

Nigel Bayley
Managing Director
NigelB
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2013 5:38 pm

Re: Knowing what online companies have got for me

Postby Discat11 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 8:18 am

Hello,

I'd like apologise to 'meekhcs' for their previous unhappy experience with FWR and would like to think we learn from previous mistakes, so it's good to know when these efforts are recognised.

In the past 2 years we have added a comprehensive 'collections list' which states very clearly the sources for all information -including which specific fields of data are likely to be included on every type of source we have used.

This can be seen without subscription or registration being required, meaning you can verify whether there will be useful information in any particular collection for your search(es).

Since we are primarily a transcription site it does mean that collections can be searched individually or as a general search to see information compiled into one 'record' -this is an area that will see constant improvement thanks to having an in-house web development team working on the ages and making all data as easy to search from all 'identifying angles' as possible, each record also contains a note of the original source also.

https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/collections/

For records specifically after 1922 AdrianB38 is correct -'service records sets' are only available by direct request from the MOD, nowhere else, in saying that however there are many types of data outside these which we regularly add -in fact we have a very interesting record set going live currently:

WO417 - which is entitled 'army casualty lists 1939-45'.
Interestingly it's not just a list of those killed in action as one might at first believe, but a comprehensive series of 'casualties' i.e. POW, missing, wounded and killed.
The sort of information that can be gained is:
Surname, First name(s), service number (including officers), rank, regiment, battalion, company, attached to…. Unit, Gallantry awards made, dates, locations.

Occasionally reports are amended - meaning a record will include a 1st report and a later change with locations & dates, sometimes next of kin are also included.

It's not a small collection, totalling circa 500,000- but we have 142,000 records already online, all transcribed in the UK by our data entry team so we're progressing well!

In the past we've added POW records from Italian and Japanese camps which are scattered amongst many different sources at the archives and elsewhere- so we're not adverse to doing 'smaller' or more difficult types of work either and we do like to hear from everyone about collections that need to be online, however small or insignificant these might seem.

I also share searchers frustrations over the use of the word 'complete' in relation to records collections - as we have found whilst working on MH106 (the WWI casualty clearing station & field ambulance admission/discharge registers)-
a) the entire collection is around 5% of all that was recorded originally as most were destroyed due to 'lack of storage' (that old civil service chestnut!) in the 1920's.
b) some records, with the best will in the world, are to all intents & purposes illegible

So, would it be fair to call this a 'complete' collection?
Probably not in my opinion, although useful and highly interesting- certainly!

Tim Hayhoe
Managing Director
Forces War Records
Discat11
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 7:04 am

Re: Knowing what online companies have got for me

Postby meekhcs » Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:27 pm

Tim Hayhoe Thank you for your reply. I will certainly try your site again
Sally
meekhcs
 
Posts: 1529
Joined: Sat May 16, 2009 7:43 pm
Location: england


Return to Genealogy chat


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest