Pricing and future subscription options
There have been many comments on the PayAsYouGo pricing and the fact that older censuses are nowadays available via subscription packages on other sites such as findmypast.com and ancestry.co.uk.
To be clear - there will be a subscription option later in 2009 which will allow you to access the 1911 Census for a fixed fee. This will only be available on findmypast.com: 1911census.co.uk will remain as a PayAsYouGo site.
Like the 1901 census - the only other census to make its original debut online – and many other major releases of historical records (such as BT27 passenger lists on ancestorsonboard.com and DocumentsOnline at The National Archives), the site has been released on a PayAsYouGo basis to allow the general public (the vast majority of whom want only a few records) to access the records without buying a hefty subscription. We believe this is fair, as everyone gets charged for what they use.
The prices charged on the 1911census site reflect the significant costs in digitising the records and providing the online service. See our earlier posts for more detail on this and the cast of hundreds involved. We will add more information to the main site soon under the “How we digitise the census” section, but those of you who saw the TV news reports over the past few days probably have some idea of the scale of the project. Also see our post below for some video footage of how we digitise the census (apologies that it is as yet mostly unedited).
Earlier censuses cost significantly less to put online because:
- they were *much* smaller
- some of them were already filmed and did not need to be conserved, curated and lovingly scanned and checked by hand
- the online storage and retrieval costs of many more, higher-quality colour images is greater.
The 1911 is a different beast to earlier censuses and, we hope you’ll agree, provides rather a refreshing change in the level of detail provided.
We understand that heavier users (especially family historians and those researching one name studies) will want an “all you can eat” option and we’re committed to providing that on findmypast.com later in 2009. However, we cannot do it until the records are complete and as this is a moving target it would be unfair to give you any precise date, as it would be largely a guess.
For dedicated family historians with many ancestors to find, the price for each item will be cheaper within the subscription option available later, although the initial outlay for a subscription is higher, but for most people PayAsYouGo works out as a lower overall spend.