The 1939 Register – Find My Pasts Ultimate Rip Off or Genealogists Dream?

The 1939 Register release date has finally been released after much speculation and anticipation, these new records will be released on Monday the 2nd November 2015…(Next Monday!!). So I will admit, after reading this my week was already made, I have waited so long for these records and I am so excited to be able to see my grandfather alive with his family and expand and complete more of my family tree.

If you are not entirely au fait with the Register please see an excerpt from Genes Reunited:

Why is the 1939 Register so significant?

The 1931 census was destroyed and the 1941 census was never taken, making the 1939 Register the only surviving record of the people of England and Wales in the 30 years1921-1951, and the closest likeness to a census from that period.

Previously only available physically and at great expense, the information in this 1939 Register, including names, addresses, occupations, marital statuses and more, will be available for you to explore on Findmypast in just a few days’ time.

This release is the result of over a year’s work carried out by a team of hundreds who – in association with The National Archives – have conserved, scanned, transcribed and digitised over 1.2 million pages from 7,000 volumes.

My Concerns:

So why am I miffed? After months and months, for what feels like an eternity Find My Past have been sending us little snippets of information and updating their blog to keep us all excited. I had an email a while ago and I subscribed ready to ensure I could be straight on the records as soon as they became available. Now what do we all find out, a little surprise announced on Facebook…It will not be included in the subscription. Not to worry, how much will they be charging …

1 household costs 60 credits and is £6.95 or

A bundle of 5 households costs 300 credits and is £24.95.

Wait…what? So it isn’t included in the subscription we already pay for. Okay, I can live with that, a lot of incredible work has gone into getting these records live and I will not dispute this for a moment but seriously..5 household records for £24.95? How many hundreds of pounds is that if I completely go all out with my tree? It seems the average person will have to feel this cost, and no doubt we will all end up paying it as we are so desperate for this information. But I guess I will have to hold back and stick to my main ancestors until the price comes down or I have more money spare after pay day.

I think the sting is more evident on our purse strings as we were not made aware of this before. Sure Find My Past can do and charge whatever they want, but it would have been nice to know this from the beginning, at least then everyone would know what costs to expect, but 6 days before the release? Feels a little sneaky.

Original Costs:

One argument from a Facebooker did produce a fairly good point, however I do still feel that with the added cost of purchasing death certificates to have records released for loved ones that have passed is going to increase the costs some more, especially in combination with any other subscriptions people have to try and connect the dots…

I am very surprised that people are moaning about the cost of the 1939 National Registration from Findmypast.
Have they forgotten that the NHS were charging £49 for the same information
If you want the same information in Scotland the National Records of Scotland will charge £15 for a search for a single person (not a household) and keep £5 if they cannot find what you are looking for.

When faced with those charges Findmypast’s charges are very cheap.

Family history has never been cheaper than it is today and companies like Findmypast lead the way in reducing costs for genealogists.

Take it or leave it

I guess the ultimate lesson I have learnt here is to not count my chickens before they have all been hatched. I’ll feel fine tomorrow, a little peeved to be spending £24.95 on Monday for just five records however it is my choice. It has altered my view somewhat on Find My Past, especially as they are not offering an unlimited 1939 search and record viewing facility. In retrospect the certificates I have purchased over the years have amounted to more in cost, however these have been staggered amounts.

We’ll see, as soon as I see my ancestors I am sure my negativity will have passed. Family History research is so much easier than years ago with the digitization of so many records, so yes we are spoilt compared to these times, but companies do seem to hike up their costs to take advantage of this.

I’d love to hear other views? Are you bothered, do you feel it is reasonable and wish everyone would stop overreacting or are you holding back on completing as much research as you may have planned based on the announced charges?

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6 thoughts on “The 1939 Register – Find My Pasts Ultimate Rip Off or Genealogists Dream?

  1. I understand completely that a lot of hard work has gone into making these records available but honestly the price is just too much! I love my hobby and have over 2,500 people on my extended tree but I refuse to be bullied into paying vast amounts of money to look at public records! If I was to join all the recommended sites for my hobby I would be paying thousands of pounds each year and there is no way I can afford to do that! I had a quick search this morning for my grandfather who I know exactly where he was at this time and the search came back negative! after a few minutes of removing details I found him exactly where he should of been so why couldn’t he been found with all the correct information but could be found with half the correct information missing?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Karen, I think if the price was for unlimited access everyone would be a little more understanding. It might have even increased the sales they made as more people would have likely paid. I wanted to answer a few questions in my tree, so I have paid for 5 household records. It isn’t as fun though as I feel so selective about what I am choosing to view. Also, the transcriptions aren’t brilliant I completely agree. The writing is indecipherable sometimes but I’ve seen some really silly errors. I think the price will come down after Christmas, I am not sure how it works with the likes of Ancestry using the records, but the more widespread they become the more competitive the price? I cannot find my grandfather for definite, I’m not sure whether this is similar to the issue you had or whether he may be in the army, As my Great Grandmother is listed as married but her husband is no where to be found. I think my biggest peeve is people moaning about records being locked but it cannot be helped. Oh well…it won’t be this price for ever. (hopefully not!!)

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