It began in 2003. In 2007 it won the Queen’s Award for Innovation. By mid-2010 it claimed to have over 650 million family history records.
Mid-June 2010 offerEdit
"Our second World Cup Widows offer: when England play, you still don't pay*
- "Dear .....,
"With the next England match just around the corner, we’re warming up to provide further entertainment for any non-football fans in the form of our second World Cup widows offer:
"90 minutes free access to findmypast.co.uk, at a time of your choice, on the day that England play – when England play, you still don’t pay!
"How to get free access for the next match, this Friday:
"Make sure you are registered on the website before midnight (UK time) on the day before the match. As you have already registered, you do not need to do this again. Return to findmypast.co.uk at a time of your choosing between 9am (UK time) on the day of the match and 9am the day afterwards. Once you have signed in, you will have 90 minutes to search and view the records for free. You can view our original images and transcriptions of all our records for free including birth, marriage and death records 1538-2006, census records including the 1911 census and our Chelsea Pensioners British Army Service Records 1760-1913 - to name just a few"
Later free weekends and occasional free weeksEdit
Every few months the company offers a free weekend, 48 or more hours of unlimited access. Searchers can open transcriptions and images and link them to individuals in their trees. When time's up, clicking on an image icon sends you to a subscription page, but there seems to be some leeway with transcriptions as long as you stay logged in and just edit your search (not clicking "New search").
Recent free weekends were in November 2014 and September 2015. The 2015 Rugby World Cup (won, for a record-breaking third time, by New Zealand) had not produced an additional offer like the 2010 soccer offer by the time England played its first pool match.
Next free weekend was at the end of January 2016, and there was a free (110 million) Irish records week in March. (Ancestry.com had only 55 million by then.)
At the end of May 2016 there was a totally free week. People were challenged to meet an ancestor they had never found before.
Free access to 65 million world military records and all UK and Irish census records, from 27 June to 4 July, to commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.
Overlapping that free 8-day period is another, celebrating the 4th of July "as part of a new campaign designed to help US family historians learn more about their family's path to red white and blue":
- "From June 29th until July 6th 2016, over 1 billion UK, US and Irish records will be completely free to search and explore on Findmypast
- "This includes all 118 million “Travel and Migration” records, 116 million US marriages, and all UK, Irish and US censuses
- "Over 7 million new US Naturalisation records and over 1.7 million US Passport Applications have also been released, marking the first phase of two brand new collections ideal for uncovering early immigrant ancestors "
2017 started with a totally free period from January 12-15.