Family history website Findmypast has said it is “continually reviewing” its 1921 census records after a large number of family historians complained about transcription errors.
The 1921 census for England and Wales, which can only be made available after 100 years due to privacy laws, was released on Findmypast on 6 January.
However, while family historians shared the ancestors they were able to find on social media, many complained that the handwritten records had been poorly transcribed.
Since Findmypast users search the transcriptions for their ancestor’s name, the transcription errors make it harder to find them.
It costs £2.50 to view each transcript and £3.50 to view each original record, with a 10% discount for Findmypast Pro subscribers, meaning that additional charges are incurred if users have to sift through erroneous results.
Users can inform Findmypast of a transcription error by viewing the transcription, selecting ‘More Actions’ at the top and then selecting ‘Report an Error’, but this means they must pay to view the transcription.
Many users shared the transcription errors they’d found on Twitter:
Seeing lots of criticism of the 1921 census transcription. Unable to find my dad in index & not surprising as he's transcribed as Florence (not his name!)— Liz Rees (@LizARees) January 6, 2022
@UkNatArchives useful 1921 census sessions this morning thanks. Sadly already found number of transcription errors, lot of work to find them those ancestors, others not found suspect transcription issue. Unable to report without paying £2.50 to get link via transcription?— Bev (@bmkbev) January 8, 2022
A Findmypast spokesperson said: “Due to the secure nature of the 1921 Census project, the period of time in which we have been able to access and review the data ahead of launch has been limited.
“As a result, we have been unable to conduct the same level of quality assurance checks we would normally apply to such a major release meaning you may spot more transcription errors than usual.
“However, to ensure the highest possible transcription standards we will be continually reviewing the data to correct any and all errors over time.”
In an information page on its website, Findmypast also said: “Transcription errors found without purchasing the transcript itself can be reported to our Customer Support team by emailing email@example.com.
“Please include a link to the record and a brief description of the error, for example, the first name is recorded as Jo when the image shows it as John.
“Please use 1921 Census transcription update as the email subject line, this will allow us to correct errors quicker and more efficiently.”
Rosemary Collins is the Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine features editor