Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Checking Out FamilyTreeNow.com - a FREE genealogy database search engine

I received an email about a week ago from Dustin Weirich, who said:

"I wanted to tell you about a new genealogy site, FamilyTreeNow.com.  It's completely free for everything.  We have census records from 1790-1940, birth records, death, marriage & divorce, living people, and military records.  

"We wanted to provide a great service for the people who are interested in genealogy but are unable or unwilling to pay for an Ancestry.com subscription.   We tried to make it really easy to use (some sites are kind of complicated for new users)."

1)  Let's see what they have.  Here is the home page:

The web page says:

"Welcome to FamilyTreeNow.com! We have one of the largest collections of historical records anywhere, and they're all 100% free to search! Start researching your family tree by entering a name above and see what we find. We have literally BILLIONS of genealogy records going back hundreds of years."


"Everything on this site is 100% free. Running searches, viewing details, everything! Other genealogy and ancestry sites charge fees, not us! Type in a name and search now!"


"Enter a name and begin your journey. Trace your family origins back hundreds of years. Find your ancestors and long lost relatives. Start researching your family tree now!"

2)  I put my grandfather's name in the search fields on the home page screen, clicked "Search" and received matches:

The search results have five matches - the 1940 U.S. census, the 1930 U.S. census, two Social Security Death Index entries, and a Living People Record (not my grandfather).

3)  I clicked on the green "View Now" button for the top match, the 1940 U.S. Census record, and a popup box appeared with the indexed information about Lyle (two screens):

There is even a source citation (but no location, no enumeration district).

I expected to be able to click on the name of one of the other persons in the Household Members list to see their indexed information.  I clicked on the "George Auble" name, the mother-in-law, and a search for "George Auble" ensued, as shown below.  

There were 30 matchess for "George Auble" and I could see her 1940 U.S. census information, but there were no matches for "Georgia Auble" which was the name in the 1940 U.S. Census indexed by other websites.

On the screen above, I clicked on the "Edit Search" button and changed the first name to "Georgia" and clicked on "Search" and saw:

It found the 1930 U.S. census record for Georgia, plus a Social Security Death Index entry, which I have never seen, and cannot find on Ancestry, FamilySearch or GenealogyBank.  How does that happen?

4)  Here are several other search summaries:

*   I expected the FamilyTreeNow search to find the 1900, 1910, 1920, 1930 and 1940 U.S. Census records, and perhaps the California Death Index entry for her.  It did not find the 1900, 1910, 1920 census records or the California death index.  Note that an Ancestry search found those records, and they all were indexed as "Georgia Auble."  

*  For Lyle Carringer, I expected FamilyTreeNow search to find the 1900 to 1940 U.S. Census records, and the SSDI record.  It did not find the 1900, 1910 and 1920 census records.  Ancestry indexed 1900 as "Lyle L. Caninger," 1910 as "Layle Carringer," and 1920 as "Lyle L. Carringer."  

*  I searched for Isaac Seaver, born 1823 in Massachusetts, and FamilyTreeNow found the 1850 to 1880 and 1900 U.S. Census records, as expected.  

*  I search for Randall Seaver in California, and it showed my California Birth Index, California Marriage Index, and some Living People Records that are correct.

5)  It's difficult to tell which databases that Family Tree Now is accessing.  I know about the:

*  1850 to 1880 and 1900 to 1940 U.S. Census
*  San Diego County Birth Records (wonder where they got this?), plus other California Counties in separate databases
*  San Diego County Marriage Records  (wonder where they got this?),  plus other California Counties in separate databases
*  I also saw Florida and Texas birth records.
*  Social Security Death Index
*  Living People Records 

The latter is interesting - do a search and look at the details.  It found my family names - wife, daughters, sons-in-law, mother, daughter's mother-in-law.  But it only has names, current age, and birth month/year.

6)  What could be improved?

*  I would like to see the name link in a census record provide the indexed information for the person in the census record

*  The search appears to be exact for surname and relaxed for given name.  I'm not sure that a birth year or place is really helpful.  Of course, I would like a more capable search engine, even if it's only exact or inexact for the different entries.  

*  Some of the County birth and marriage records don't show a state in the matches.  They should.

*  There are no record images...but it is a FREE site.  

*  The indexed information for census records is adequate.

*  More databases, of course.  Time is needed.

7)  The site works as advertised (FREE), finds matches quickly, and may be very useful as a People Finder website.

Copyright (c) 2014, Randall J. Seaver


T said...

Be SURE you read the terms of service. They are harvesting contact information, no doubt to sell to third parties. Check Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter for comments posted yesterday or the day before.

I did a quick search for well documented ancestors and did not get any correct hits.

Kenneth R Marks said...

This is very disturbing Randy. For living people - addresses, phone numbers as well as email addresses are provided. This is NOT a good thing.

Randy Seaver said...

Ken, I don't see all of those things in the Living People Index entries that I've seen. I see only name, present age, and birth month and year.

Can you give me an example of addresses, phone numbers, email addresses on this site?

Even so, there are people finder websites, both free and paid, that have all of that information. I'm not saying that's good, only that this isn't the first or only site that provides that information.

Mary Foxworthy said...

There's been plenty of online hand wringing about the Living People information on this site; but by now everyone should understand that we leave a large trail as we move through our lives and that trail is pretty much available to anyone who looks for it.

I found conflicting information about Living People and email addresses that no longer exist. Your point is well taken that there are numerous people finder sites out there.

My view on this is that they've aggregated information that may help me locate distant cousins. For that reason, I like it.

Unknown said...

familytreenow.com, findthebest.com and mooseroots.com are ran by the same identity thieves - I have filed a complaint with BBB, FTC and my state attorney general since they refuse to remove my personal information from their website. They do not have the right nor do they have my consent to post my personal information even if they say they get their information from other public databases which is a lie. My personal records are blocked, therefore their claims are all lies.