Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Ulster Historical Foundation records - new site and price

The Ulster Historical Foundation has made its birth, marriage and death records available at a new website, as part of its link to the Irish Family History Foundation. The new site can be accessed at http://antrimdown.brsgenealogy.com/ and is similarly constructed to the other county sites represented through the IFHF.

A key development is the drop in price, but there appears to be a discrepancy in the pricing between the two sites which give access to the society's records. On the original site at http://www.ancestryireland.com/quis.php the records have come down in price to £4.50 per record, or £3 if you are a member of the UHF; the records can be viewed for 48 hours after purchase.

However, on the new site above, the price is cheaper, at 5 Euros per look up, which is currently just under £4 Sterling, and there would appear to be more records available. So if you need to use the records, head for this site instead!

I have long been campaigning for a reduction in the price of records available through these Irish sites, so any drop in price is welcome, however, it is still my impression that for what you get, the price is still steep, and fundamentally, the search interface is still not great in helping you to narrow down to the right record that you are seeking. In issue 62 of Your Family Tree magazine, I wrote an article heavily criticising the pricing structure of these companies, and in this month's issue, Fintan Mullan, executive director, was given the right of reply. The following is his statement:

"The Foundation does not receive public funding to support its work, and exists through the sale of its goods, and through donations. While keeping costs to a minimum it has to set charges to recoup the cost of providing services to the public. As costs continue to rise for all businesses and charities, certain fees have had to be increased to take account of these increases."

The price drop was not alluded to by Mr. Mullan, and so it would seem therefore that this price drop is a very recent development, which is to be welcomed.


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