Update: findmypast.com amends terms

A victory for genealogists

The terms of use at findmypast.com, the newly-launched American flagship of Britain’s brightsolid online publishing, have been revised in significant ways to make them friendlier and less restrictive.

D. Joshua Taylor, Business Development Manager – North America for brightsolid online publishing, announced the change today in posts to Facebook and to the mail list of the Association for Professional Genealogists:

Over the past few days there has been considerable discussion surrounding the findmypast.com terms and conditions, specifically regarding their limitations on professional genealogists.

The findmypast team, both in North American and in the United Kingdom, starting working immediately to address the concerns of the professional community.

I am happy to report that we have just posted revisions to our terms and conditions which specifically allow for professional genealogists to use the site. In addition, these conditions allow screenshots and other elements of the site to be used in blogs, articles, and other items for educational purposes. You can view the revised terms and conditions at https://www.findmypast.com/content/terms-and-conditions.

Thank you again for your feedback and patience – the team is listening! Should you want to discuss this further, please feel free to contact me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

The Legal Genealogist wrote about the earlier, more restrictive terms of use at the newly-launched website in Tuesday’s blog post, Terms of use: findmypast.com.

Among the key changes:

     • Where, before, the terms and conditions were limited to personal use only, the website now provides that “You can use the website for your own personal or professional use, e.g., to research your own family history or as a professional genealogist to perform research for you or others.”

     • Where, before, the terms and conditions expressly prohibited any use of any image for any public purpose, the website now provides that “You may however use screenshots of our website for blog postings, articles and presentations for informational and educational purposes. If you are a professional generalist (as defined above) you may also use the records or features in preparing unpublished reports for clients.”

Big changes, and a big help for all genealogists.

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13 Responses to Update: findmypast.com amends terms

  1. Barbara Schenck says:

    Thanks, Judy — and thank you to Brightsolid for revising their terms and making them friendlier. It will help.

  2. We rejoiced too soon re FMP. They have changed their terms and conditions for the US site overnight. The wording re professionals which Josh shared with us yesterday is gone. Instead we now have a ban on using our subscriptions for professional research and must buy Pay as You Go credits instead: https://www.findmypast.com/content/terms-and-conditions. I know one professional who took out a subscription to the US site last night on the strength of what Josh posted and now finds that subscription is useless. I’ve posted to the APG List, copied to Josh, seeking clarification.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Chris, this turns out to be just a browser glitch. I’ve confirmed that fact with Josh Taylor this morning. The terms are as Josh announced them yesterday and as reported in the update.

  3. Adrian Bruce says:

    If you’ve bought a subs under one set of Ts&Cs – is it even legal for FMP to change them without your agreement?

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      It would depend on the laws of the country where you live… but it seems to me as a matter of fundamental fairness (not to mention public relations) that a refund would be the minimum that should result.

  4. Chris Paton says:

    The changes have been reinstated again – so new preferential terms etc are now back up.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      Right. As noted, Josh Taylor confirms that this is a browser glitch that should be completely fixed now.

      • Chris Paton says:

        Thanks Judy – didn’t see your update, was alerted through a UK Linked In group! this now means that for UK based genealogists, professional access is now offered on preferential terms from the US site, rather than our own version. And at the moment, on a cheaper basis!

  5. Judy, while I appreciate the changes in the terms, I still have a problem with only being able to use images in unpublished work-products for clients. How would I explain to a client that an image of an original document could be inserted into a report, but not the book that will be published? I’m curious as to whether all these restrictions are normal for other research websites with downloadable images in the UK. Apparently they have an attorney that is making sure that there is no way that the images can be ‘lifted’ and posted on another site to be sold. It would benefit them if their marketing department was just as aggressive.

    • Judy G. Russell says:

      I couldn’t agree more — but this isn’t just an issue with British firms (where, after all, they do have to contend with Crown copyright in government records). It’s also an issue for a LOT of American-based websites with images — the terms of use require specific permission to be able to use the image in a published work. And, by the way, that’s true of public archives as well as subscription services. Read the terms of use for photos from the NYC Archives, just as one example.

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