How to Test Issues

We are always in need of volunteers to help us test changes, find bugs and check new features across our genealogy projects. If you would like to get involved, please read on and check out the links below.

Get Started

You can begin immediately by checking out the issues labelled ‘Please Test’ on our Waffle boards:

Issues will usually contain a comment from the developer with regards to where the issue can be tested e.g. on TEST2/3 (i.e. https:,
We usually have a few issues that need testing, but this might not always be the case. It may also be possible that some issues will require administrator, coordinator or transcriber access, in which case you may not be able to assist unless you have such privileges.

How to Test

There are a few key things to keep in mind when testing an issue.

Types of issues

There are a variety of different types of issues, it can be helpful to think of them (and report them) as follows:

  • Functionality - does the issue function as expected e.g. the link to the help page does not work.
  • Performance - does it perform as expected e.g. the search function is very slow
  • Interface - is there a problem or issue with the way functionality is accessed e.g. does a button not work, or does the page not load at all.
  • Usability - is it clear how to use the site e.g. can you search properly and is the content clear?
  • Compatibility - is it only a problem on a iPhone or iPad? Does the issue only occur on the Chrome or Firefox browser? Perhaps it is a Windows only issue?

Functionality Issues

Does it work as expected?

There should be a brief statement about what was  expected to happen and what actually happened. If there is no statement about what should have happened or it is not clear from the description of the problem, put a needs info tag onto the issue, and comment that you need to know what should have happened.  You can also ask for clarity on the the details and steps to reproduce the problem.

Does the problem occur more than once?

Where possible, try and test the problem multiple times. Does the problem occur 100% or once in a blue moon? Does it happen with a particular OS, or browser? Are there some conditions or situations where the problem does not occur? Providing specific details can be really useful for the developer who needs to find a way to fix the issue.

What are the stages for replicating the problem?

Make sure you provide a clear set of steps for making the problem or issue happen. Where did the issue take place? Was it on the search page, was it after selecting x/y/z options and then hitting the search button? Was it on desktop or on your tablet? What browser were you using? Clarity and detail will all help us to locate and fix the issue.

How to report a new issue or problem.

You can include a comment within the Github issue itself (the one labelled ‘Please Test’). Or you can report a new problem via the project website itself e.g. the contact form.
Please provide as much detail as you can about what you expected to happen, what steps you followed, and what happened or failed to happen.

Our Technology and Way of Working

We use a range of technology here, however Ruby on Rails and MongoDB are the core web frameworks for development across both FreeREG and FreeCEN.
We use Github and an Agile way of working, operating in 2 week sprints. You do not have to have experience of the above, however you must be willing to learn and have access to reliable internet (we work remotely).

Experience with Coding?

If you have experience working with web frameworks or a coding background, we could also use your help. Please do take a look at the Technical Volunteering page and get started there.