Today's Featured Database is British Newspaper Archive
In my first month of use, I encountered a problem. When I clicked on a "hit" for an ancestor, I could not find his name in the newspaper page that loaded. I read the entire page several times and even clicked back and forth a few pages but to no avail.
So I wrote to explain that I'd been hunting for over an hour and could not find the entry. To my surprise, their customer service responded very quickly and were extremely helpful. Even after I was given the correct page and URL to view it, I couldn't spot the name. I finally decided I was too frustrated to continue hunting and wrote back to request more guidance. The very patient customer service rep provided me with an exact column number and start of the paragraph containing my ancestor's name. With that help I was able to spot the bit I needed.
Since then I've had no problems with an incorrect link and I've looked at many. With both my maternal grandparents being born in England I've got a lot of English ancestors to look for!
I like their search engine. You can narrow your search with filters for date, region, county, specific place, type of article, public tags, or specific newspapers. Once you find an entry you want to view, you simply load the page. Sometimes your search term is highlighted but not always. Usually the block of text where your search word is located is a darker grey, but again this does not always happen. The majority of the time it does and that makes finding the entry much easier.
You can order a copy of the newspaper page for a fee or you can download it to your computer. Downloading it does not give you a very clear image so what I do is enlarge the bit I want then do a screen dump. It gives a better image than downloading. If there was something really special I wanted to save I'd pay for a better copy.
The one caveat you should be aware of is that when you purchase an unlimited membership, it's not really unlimited. As the website points out in their Terms, unlimited membership is subject to their Fair Usage Policy. This policy spells out that you are permitted to view an
average of 1000 pages per month (calculated over a 3 month period). If
you get close to the limit, the company will send you an email to warn you.
Personally I don't like paying for something that is called Unlimited when it isn't unlimited. No matter how nicely the site explains it, I felt tricked that they didn't just call it the "1000 pages per month membership" or "Sort of kind of unlimited membership" or something totally upfront and transparent.
Yes I did purchase an Unlimited Membership but the smaller credit options wouldn't have been enough for me given the sheer number of English ancestors I want to hunt for. And I don't like subscription websites where I have to buy x number of credits and woe is me if they expire before I use them all. Because I'm very apt to forget or get busy and lose credits.
So the bottom line is that I'm very happy with the site and with my "unlimited" membership (even though it isn't unlimited) and I've never been warned that I'm at my 1000 monthly views limit. But I still wish they'd come up with a more honest name for it. Or remove the limit.