I found out last night via an email from Peter Calver of Lost Cousins that findmypast.co.uk are giving free access to the 1911 Census at each time that England plays a match in the World Cup. So last night for three hours we could have free access (I was too late to add a post here to let everyone know about this) and the next time will be at the (UK) time of 7pm – 10pm on Friday 18th June. Then England has a third match on Wednesday 23rd June and the free access to the 1911 Census will then be from the (UK) time of 2.30pm for three hours. Whether there will be any more free 1911 Census sessions after that will depend on whether England qualifies for the next rounds in the World Cup. But if they continue through the World Cup it looks like we will have this free access each time they play! Of course, all those of you in other countries will have to work out what the UK time equivalent would be for your parts of the world.
You have to register especially for the free sessions first and it’s best to get that done well before you start a three hour free research session when England play.
So, it was with great anticipation that I accessed findmypast.co.uk last night for the free three hour session. I had already made a quick list of which ancestors I particularly wanted to check and had a secondary list of those I would like to check afterwards.
I suppose that it is wrong to complain when this was free, but … it took me over half an hour to even get past login!! Most of the time I kept getting messages such as “The page can’t be displayed” or “Error” messages! I realised it would be really busy and therefore a bit slower than normal, but time was ticking away in the free research period and so I was eager to get going. I finally completed the login process and so was ready to search for my first ancestor.
Easy enough, this was my great grandfather and there are very few with the same name as him. I knew he was in London, so just wanted to check there rather than everywhere in the UK. I knew his birth year, so that was no problem, but I added the from/to bit for about 3 years just in case he put a different age to what it should have been, as he was an elderly gentleman by this time.
It took a really long time to get from my search query to a list of one name (his) for me to click on to look at the original record. “Page cannot be displayed”!! It took a really long time for me to get back to my search query and to do the search again. I clicked on his name, only to get “Page cannot be displayed”!! I kept trying and I can say that I finally got my free access to the original record an hour after I managed to login for the 3 hour free session!
So by now we were half way through the 3 hour free period and I only had one ancestor found. I continued and despite it being sooooooooo very slooooooooooooow in the total 3 hour free period I managed to see the original Census record for a total of four ancestors and saved them to my computer as well. I had no difficulty finding any of them, so the delay was just the amount of people that also must have been trying to use this free research period.
As I said, I suppose it is wrong to complain as this was free, but I did rather expect to find quite a few more ancestors than four in three hours and so I must wait now for the 18th June when hopefully I can find a few more “particular” ancestors in the Census.
I will certainly be trying again, and will try to learn to have more patience by the time 18th June comes! And while I am not really into football, I hope England make it through to the Final, then I might be able to get all the ancestors’ Census details that are on my list!! (Oh dear, I hope that doesn’t sound too selfish)? Best of luck to those of you who also try to access the 1911 Census.