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Genealogy Websites - WARNING!  XML
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Forum Member

Joined: 10/04/2007 22:56:27
Messages: 3327
Location: Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire

I'm sure many of you have noticed that I often advise people against using these websites to research WWII Service Records...

For instance, Forces War Records state that they hold 1,300,570 WWII and 346,541 Post War (1946 - 2017) records!
Fantastic - except it simply isn't true!

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is THE ONLY custodian of WWII Records and Post War Records.

These Sites lure in the unsuspecting by asking leading questions - number, rank, name, regiment, and period - the information you provide is instantly added to their database.
After a couple of seconds they return a number of 'records' that match your search!
To see the results in full you have to join the website by making a hefty subscription. Low and behold, when you access the Site - there are no records that match your search! The only detail they will have is, co-incidentally, exactly the same as you have provided!
Or they will give a general overview of a person whose details are available elsewhere on line.

Recently I posted on Facebook that I was seeking a photo of Lt Col Charles Pollitt, Commanding Officer of No.5 Cdo. I received a reply from the grandson of a No.1 Cdo commando which included a Forces War Records 'Certificate' of Lt Col Pollitt's service. [see attached]
True to form the 'certificate' stated his number, rank, name and regiment and Lt Col Pollitt's award of an OBE.

The rest of the information was assumed!

Because of the period it was assumed he had the 39-45 War Medal and the 39-45 Star.
Because he served in Burma (information obtained from the London Gazette), it assumed that he had the Burma Star.
It then went on to give the history of The Borders Regiment.
No mention of No.5 Commando.
No mention of No.1 Commando - in which he served prior to becoming the CO of No.5 Cdo.
No mention of the Africa Star that he'd have received for serving , in Africa, with No.1 Cdo.
No mention of the Military Cross which he received in Africa when in No.1 Cdo.

Recently I took advantage of a 14 day Free Trial with My Heritage.
Please take my advice and stay well clear of this site!
To cut a long story short, I signed up and gave authorisation for them to extract payment at the end of the period - unless I cancelled within that period!

On the evening of the 13th day of the Free Trial, I decided to cancel my subscription. I went into my account and followed the instructions (to the letter!).

I went onto 'Edit My Account' and clicked on 'Delete Account'. I am then asked for my password. I entered it but it was not accepted - I tried another couple of my passwords but with no success.
I clicked on 'Forgotten your password' and then went through the rigmarole a total of eight times.
Each time I get a message saying an email has been sent with instructions on how to reset my password...
I didn't receive any emails - and no, they were not in my Spam Folder!
I phoned up and was put on hold - every couple of seconds I was told I was 'second in line'...
After ten minutes and whilst still on the line, I dialled up using my mobile - and was told I was 'next in line'...
After a further ten minutes neither call had been dealt with and I hadn't progressed up the line on the first call...
At this stage I took the option of leaving a voice mail stating I was trying to cancel my subscription - and was told, by a recorded message, I'd be called back at the earliest opportunity - that was 5 days ago ago - and still NO Call.
I went onto the Forum and left a message detailing my actions thus far. At the same time I noted there were many others in the same predicament as me - some messages were posted months ago. But I did find an email address in an answer to another dissatisfied complainant!
I emailed [email protected] stating that I was trying to cancel my subscription and detailing the problems I was experiencing - but, of course, received no reply.

The next day I received an email from My Heritage thanking me for my payment - of 90. In the email was a note stating if I had any queries to contact [email protected]...
Which I did - in no uncertain terms - but, before I did that, I raised a complaint against My Heritage via Paypal including a very detailed description of my actions which included timings and a copies of the Forum Message and the emails I'd sent...
Within 12 hours PayPal emailed me to say that they'd found in my favour and the money had been refunded in full.
Strangely, at this point I was able to 'log on' to My Heritage and the button to Delete my account worked perfectly!

It seems obvious to me that the Free Trial with My Heritage is nothing but a con!
Once you have signed up, you cannot cancel - the system doesn't allow anyone to do so. And, if you're not prepared to stand up and fight them, you will lose your money!

Take care!

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This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 23/10/2018 07:29:44

Nick Collins,

Commando Association Historical Archivist & Photographer.

Proud son of Cpl Mick Collins, 5 Troop, No5 Cdo

"Truly we may say of them, when shall their glory fade?"

Forum Member

Joined: 02/12/2007 12:24:31
Messages: 396

Good on you Nick, you were lucky to get your money back. I always use the local library when using these websites. It's free and if info not available then a Google search can give some reasonable results. These websites are there to make money.

''Coemgen Filius Primi Inter Pares"
Forum Member

Joined: 17/08/2012 13:26:51
Messages: 423

Glad you got your money back. Same thing happened with me on another site ... left it too late to cancel as you have to do so a couple of days, at the latest, before the time's up. I, too, got my money back ... we're a persuasive lot.

I generally cancel trial subs as soon as I sign up as you still get the full time.

If I have praised my comrades too highly I make no apology, for they were beyond all praise.

Lord Lovat - No 4 Commando
Forum Member

Joined: 12/01/2016 15:34:31
Messages: 9

That's worth knowing
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