What do you want in a genealogy site?

Well, it has been a week since the announcement that rootsweb was absorbed by Ancestry. I have spent a week reading the discussions on the mailing lists, blogs etc. I have seen people defend the action and I’ve seen groups jump like rats on a sinking ship.

Consider this my one year “state of the union” address lol

I honestly do not know what I think about what happened, I would *like* to take Ancestry at their word, but we all know they’ve tried to pull the wool over our eyes before. This is not bashing their recent move. This is about what I envision a genealogy site should be, this is about what I need people to do to help get us where I want us to be. This is about the fact that I cannot stand sites that charge money to access things that other people have submitted. This is about, I cannot do this by myself.
Lots of us have worked on our own genealogy projects. Lots of us have transcribed something, survery a cemetery, worked on some part of a census etc. AC is only as good as the contributors, AC is only going to help other people when we share what we have.

For a year now I and a handful of other members (and we are well over 600 now) have done our best to share resources, transcriptions, files, etc that I personally have done. I have several things that I’m working on transcribing to add to the site….but just a few people absolutely cannot get enough information up to help an entire nation of researchers looking for things. So here are some ideas that I had to hopefully get you, the AC member, to contribute some (in no particular order)

1. If you put a query out on a rootsweb mailing list, or ancestry message board etc…. Come here and post it as well, I KNOW, I know, I know, we all get busy….but if we can make time to put a query out somewhere else, it only takes a few minutes more to add it here.. It’s been proven MANY times that google searches bring up the AC post in the results, not a rootsweb mailing list post and as I have said many times…the more places you have your query the more people that will see it. Believe it or not, not everyone uses the rootsweb mailing list. I have had people find my own personal queries from this board and contact me.
2. If you have a death certificate/birth certificate/marriage license/ cemetery or tombstone picture(s) or transcription(s)/Bible records post them here too
3. If you have done like I have and transcribed even one particular district on a census, post It here too. You never know who is going to see it.
4. How many of you submit to find a grave? If you submit there, there is no reason you cannot post It here too.
5. Obituaries…we had QUITE a run when the obituary forum started, but it has died off. I KNOW more of us have more obituaries laying around.
6. Have you sent off for military service records or pension records? Share them with us!!
7. If you volunteer to do lookups, remember to check back to see if someone needs your assistance
8. If you post a query, remember to check back to see if any of us have questions for you..OR actually found something for you.

This site has the potential to do SUCH good for people….it already has, we have hooked up cousins, we have found people or records that other people didn’t have the resources to find and for what cost? TIME, that’s all it takes. So many of us revel in helping someone break through that wall, it makes us feel good to help someone else and take our minds off OUR brick walls.

This site is not going anywhere, it will never merge with anyone else, it will never sell out to anyone else, it will never ask you for money, all it will ever ask you for…is to share and to show the sites out there to make a buck, that it CAN be done, just out of kindness and the willingness to share.

I also want to remind everyone that this site DOES have a section for members to talk about non-genealogy related stuff. Sometimes you just want to lighten up and joke around. I see it start to happen on the mailing lists and people have a good time until someone comes in with the “I’m tired of reading about this, it has nothing to do with -insert mailing list name- please take it off the list. People by nature like to feel a comradery with the people they “communicate” with on a daily or weekly basis. As much as I do research, believe it or not there ARE times I’d like to hear a good joke or hear about something interesting that’s going on with a member…so remember there is the chit chat forum just to hang out in and take our genealogy hats off.

Last, but certainly not least, if you don’t understand how the board works ASK, don’t just mail me and ask me to delete you because “it’s too hard”. It REALLY is easy to use and I am MORE than happy to work with you until you understand it.

If anyone else has ideas for how others can contribute I would love to hear them….so don’t be shy!!!! So please post in the thread I have made for this here
What do you want in a genealogy site

Shannon

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