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Manchester Ancestors

Moving the entire business processes and membership management online for Manchester Ancestors

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Manchester Ancestors

MANCHESTER & LANCASHIRE FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY was formed in 1964 and is now one of the largest family history societies in the world. Although the Society is united by a common interest in Genealogy and Family History, members also pursue interests in closely related fields.

Web Foundry were invited to tender to rebuild their old, dated website and transform their online facility as a modern genealogy website for people who want to trace their ancestry and have family connections in Manchester and Lancashire.

The task in hand is not something that a regular web design company could undertake. They needed a professional agency who had the capacity to take on the complexity of creating a website that could handle a database of millions of records. The technical challenge from the outset was to ensure time was dedicated to research and ensuring simplicity in the user experience, so that the new website would be easy to navigate and GDPR compliant.

A membership model was required to ensure paying members could find their local branch. Each member received fullaccess to the large database, where they could search a wider range of records and historical archives, plus easily manage their online account.

A membership web application was developed that was simple to use for web admins and members alike. Web Foundry moved many offline systems, online, and provided a centralised management tool for the entire Society. The platform provides the tools for new members to join the Society online, pay for membership and manage their account profile and subscription from an easy-to-use dashboard. Web Foundry placed great importance on protecting and securing online records from public visibility and ensuring compliance with GDPR regulations.

Family History Society Members can now access a unique database of over 2.7 million records, as well as archives of historical street maps and old Society magazines, dating back years. This online community has been created to allow members to conduct research, share knowledge and expertise, participate in events, and access a wide range of family history web tools to help them find their ancestral information.

Web Foundry worked with the Society over an eight-month period to understand the operations of the organisation, the legacy databases that existed and how to migrate them safely into a new platform. We talked to branch managers to understand the local and specific needs and in doing so managed to build a bespoke membership platform that met the needs of all stakeholders.

We chose to use the Joomla content management system (CMS) as this provided the high degree of database design flexibility without over-reliance on third party plugins. We followed a thorough process, involving four discovery sessions, brand design, UI design, prototyping and build. The entire project took around eight months to complete.

In addition to our web design and build services, we undertook a complete re-branding of the Society, which involved a new name, and new logo. With a completely new look and feel with new branding, the Society can now operate its services efficiently and confidently. Since the launch, there has been superb feedback from members and staff users. The team at Web Foundry are very proud to achieve this wonderful piece of work for the good people of Manchester.

Services Provided & Tech Stack
  • Discovery sessions
  • Branding
  • Web design
  • Custom Database Design
  • MS Access database migration
  • Member portal design
  • UX design
  • Content curation and publishing
  • Prototyping
  • Deployment to Live
  • Ongoing support and maintenance
  • Admin User Training
  • Hosting
  • Project Management
  • Business/Systems Analysis

Visit the website
Reporting Engine
Put your admin team in control of membership expiry, payments, analytics and much, more more.
Online Registration
Members can register and renew online. Expiry control, reports and notifications.
Event Listings
Integrate with Eventbrite or publish your own events from within our platform.
Payment Processing
The website is connected to a powerful payment processing platform, called Stripe. We can also integrate with Sage Pay, World Pay, PayPal and many more.
Member Only Pages
Create member only sections or pages and restricted access content.
Interactive Map
Overlay your events or business locations on an embedded Google map
Access Control Lists
Place members into groups to control what they can see or do.
Downloadable Reports
The client can view reports to show user activity, such as top products, abandoned carts, sales, shipping status and much more.
Responsive Design
The website looks spiffing on just about every device. Google also likes this feature and rewards the client with an improved ranking in their search result pages.
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The Chair

Can get quick access to critical reports and the shared view of her management team

The Event Manager

The event manager can set up new events and save these as a draft or publish live. Backend reports are available to show the status of bookings and delegate information.

The Member

The member can login to the website and view member-only content. Members can belong to different groups, each with varying levels of permission and access.

The Content Writer

The client's in-house writer has access to write and save draft content to the website. The content can be reviewed and approved and then published my an authorised manager.

Guide price and project duration

Without breaking any client confidentiality we aim to provide a guide as to relative cost and duration of a project compared to our 'typical' project. Therefore, a project with a high price and duration of more than 8 weeks, would indicate a project of substantial complexity and time investment.

To get a quick estimate cost for your own project please contact sales using the link below. Please add as much detail as possible or request a call back to discuss.

Please estimate my project

My thanks to all concerned for their commitment to surmounting many obstacles and successfully reaching this stage. We can now look forward to the new site attracting high numbers of visitors and I am sure too that our administrative processes will feel the immediate benefit of the improved environment. My personal thanks to you for your guidance and commitment to the task.

David Muil