If you want to learn more about yourself then one of the best things you can do is look into your ancestry. In recent history this would have been quite hard to do, but as we mentioned in a recent guide, there are now lots of ancestry websites which make looking into your family's history really easy and simple.
Currently, the 2 biggest ancestry websites out there are probably Ancestry and Find My Past. We included both in our list of the best ancestry websites because we think they're both great to use, but there is no denying that there are some big differences between the 2 services. We thought it would be useful to compare these 2 ancestry services to see which is better, let's get into it:
How do Ancestry UK and FindMyPast work?
Both services work very similarly, which is why they're so often compared against each other. With Ancestry and FindMyPast, the idea is to create a family tree. With both services, you start by building your own family tree with as much knowledge that you have, starting with yourself and your immediate family. Once you've done that, you can start filling in the gaps by exploring the records of each service to try and find more family members.
Comparing Ancestry UK and FindMyPast
Before we get into this comparison, we first have to clarify that it's actually quite hard to compare 2 ancestry services such as Ancestry and FindMyPast. This is because the quality of each service depends almost entirely on how many records you can search, and both services are constantly adding new records for you to search. But we're going to compare the 2 services not just on the quality and quantity of records they have, but also on how easy they are to use and other factors.
As we mentioned, the more records you're able to search, the better chance you have of building a comprehensive family tree. And when it comes to records, it's hard to compete with the offering from Ancestry - at the time of writing, Ancestry has more than 30 billion records for you to search through. It's probably the largest number of records of any of the online genealogy services. FindMyPast currently has just over 14 billion records at the time of writing, so less than half the amount of records that you'll find with Ancestry.
But although this seems pretty cut and dry, it actually isn't. Ancestry has a lot of records, but they come from more than 80 different countries around the world. The great thing about FindMyPast is, because it's a UK-based service, you'll find a lot of UK records via the platform. FindMyPast has the biggest online collection of British & Irish newspapers, and it also has the largest collection of British and Irish parish records online of any of the online genealogy services.
You'll also find a lot of UK record collections on FindMyPast that you won't find on Ancestry which will be really useful to search through if your family is from the UK. These include:
British in India
Search the records of people who lived, worked or travelled in India from the late 17th century all the way up to 1961. So if you have Indian family or family who lived in India, being able to explore these records is invaluable.
Prisoners Of War 1715-1945
FindMyPast partnered with The National Archives to gain access to these records, which are very useful if you know that members of your family were in the military. These records include military personnel but also civilians, diplomats, missionaries and merchant seamen. FindMyPast is actually excellent for anyone with military family, because the service has more British Army records than any other online ancestry service.
National School Admission Registers & Log-Books 1870-1914
These records list people who went to school between England and Wales between 1870 and 1914. It includes the name of the school they went to, but also amazingly for some records, you can see what their exam results were. In many cases it will also list their parents’ names and father’s occupation, making it much easier to find someone from your family.
England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1832-1932
This is the largest collection of records on FindMyPast, and it includes around 220 million names of voters. That's a lot of names to search through, but FindMyPast makes it really easy to do with a simple search function.
Another excellent collection that is exclusively available at FindMyPast is the 1921 census of England & Wales - this census includes the details of 38 million people from the UK and is available exclusively online via FindMyPast.
However, we want to make it clear that Ancestry also has a good number of UK records to search through - as the company noted in a blog post from 2020, Ancestry has well over 2 billion UK records available to explore via their platform. Although having said that, it definitely seems like FindMyPast is better suited for people who know that their family is predominately from the UK, and Ancestry is better for searching records from around the world.
Interestingly, one thing to note for people with Scottish families is that Ancestry seems to have slightly more Scottish records compared to FindMyPast - for example, Ancestry lists the 'Scotland, Select Births and Baptisms, 1564-1950' collection, which has more than 27 million names listed.
Just as it's quite hard to compare the records between Ancestry and FindMyPast, it's also quite hard to compare the pricing. This is because discounts and offers are constantly being offered for both services, so there is rarely one set price for either service, and there are also different levels of subscription.
Having said that, both services do have standard pricing for the most complete subscription, which at the time of writing is the following if you pay monthly:
Ancestry.co.uk - £29.99 per month
FindMyPast - £19.49 per month
So it's almost £10 per month cheaper to use FindMyPast compared to Ancestry if you pay for the most premium version of each service. If you want worldwide records then you have to pay at least £19.99 with Ancestry, whereas you have to pay £19.49 for FindMyPast. We actually think this is a mark in favour of Ancestry, because we've already demonstrated that Ancestry is better for worldwide records, and it only costs 50p more to access the worldwide records on Ancestry.
It's also worth noting that you get a 14 day free trial with Ancestry, whereas you only get a 7 day free trial with FindMyPast.
We love to look at third-party reviews when we're comparing services like this, and luckily both Ancestry and FindMyPast have verified Trustpilot profiles which you can look at. Both brands have great ratings on Trustpilot, but Ancestry has a slightly better rating of 3.9 out of 5 compared to the 3.8 out of 5 rating that FindMyPast has. It's an almost identical rating so we wouldn't say this should sway you either way, but something which is worth noting is that FindMyPast has almost twice as many reviews as Ancestry.co.uk on Trustpilot, so it's actually very impressive that FindMyPast has been able to maintain such a strong rating with almost twice as many reviews.
Final thoughts - which is better, Ancestry or FindMyPast?
It's quite hard to separate Ancestry and FindMyPast, and we'd say that which one you choose should depend on where your immediate family comes from - if you know your family is predominately from the UK, then FindMyPast is a much better choice than Ancestry as FindMyPast has lots more UK records. But if you know that you have family from overseas, then Ancestry is a better option as the service gives you more international records to search through.
Let us know what you think of these 2 online genealogy services or if you have any other services that you'd like us to look at. If you want to read something similar, we have a guide about the best family tree websites you can use.