News / Your handy guide to findmypast’s new search

Your handy guide to findmypast’s new search

We’ve made a number of improvements to search, and as with any change, there’s a bit of a learning curve.

Getting started with the new search

With that in mind, we’ll be rolling out a series of blog posts, as well as new help and advice sections across the site, to help you get started with your new search experience. We’ll highlight some of the key differences and benefits that come with it.

Everything below has been summarised in a quick video that you can view below:

The new search platform is incredibly flexible, and allows you search at multiple category levels. It can also allow you to search across records like never before. To get started, pick a category you’re interested in. All our record categories can be accessed from the ‘Search records’ navigation, from anywhere in the site. Let’s start with a simple example, finding a marriage record.

To start, simply select Life Events (BMDs) from the Search menu. This will soon be renamed to make it easier to find and remember. From there, you’ll be presented with a form that will allow you to search across every single birth, marriage, death and parish record we offer on findmypast.

From here, you can run a single search across all these collections, and see a single result list. This can very useful if you’re not sure where to start, or are struggling to find someone in a specific record set. From here, you can start to refine your search criteria.

Our brand new search allows you to easily filter your results

Our brand new search allows you to easily filter your results

Narrowing down your search results

Along the top of nearly every search form you’ll see three options, and it’s from here we can begin to narrow down our target record sets. In this section, let’s select All Collections, and pick Marriages and Divorces. The form reloads, and we have can now filter our search by just these two categories.You’ll also notice that you can now start providing more specific search criteria, such as spouse details, and more specific location information.

Now you’re starting to really refine your search. And you can go still further. If you have a good idea of which individual record sets the person in question might be found in, you can select ‘Browse Record set’ and start to pick just the individual record sets you’re interested in. For example, let’s just search with the Boyd’s Marriage records. You’ll notice it’s possible to pick a single record set, or pick several. It’s up to you, you’re in control.

A flexible new approach

From there, you’re searching at a very refined level. So in a few clicks you’ve gone from a broad, all-encompassing search across every BMD record we have, down to a very specific collection. And through the whole process, your search terms and your country were remembered. While the new system represents a departure from how you used to navigate search, it’s also much more flexible, and presents a whole range of new opportunities. A very simple example would be the ability search across a selection of census collections with a single, simple search.

I hope you’ve found this very brief introduction to the new structure of search helpful. In my next post, we’ll look at some examples of how to apply this, as well as how to access individual record set forms, for powerful, customised search experiences.