My Tangent – A New Way To Pay For Research?

23 January 2011

Afternoon,

I have to vent today. In my morning research of my genealogy and ancestry I stumbled upon a personal Family History Site. I was interested and I linked on to the site and within a short space of seconds I was immediately transported to a separate page. This new page indicated that if I so desired to continue using this family-specific site I would either have to become a paying member or I would have to offer up some approved and accepted pertinent genealogy information. You can imagine my immediate reaction.

First of all I am a blatant supporter of free enterprise and entrepreneurship. I believe that everyone has the right to make money in anyway s/he can, within the bounds of the laws of the land and country. But isn’t this going a bit far?

This “ingenious” impresario is now levying fees for his or her own family information. Are they offering a service? Is this a product to a niche market, to other family genealogists interested in the same family names? Maybe? And there is a “relaxed”, but wordy disclaimer that they are not qualified professional genealogists… but that they are experienced. What is the real product being sold?

So what are the authors’ expectations? Is this a prostitution of their work? Would I be making the same argument if the author published a book or hard-copy and attempted to sell it on Amazon.com or at Barnes & Noble?

I do have a choice to pay a membership so I can review the data on line… Also I have the choice if the opportunity presents itself to purchase a book or publication. These are my choices, and I do have a number of paid subscriptions to a number of data sites and research-specific sites. Are my hackles up cause this is a family-specific history? I think that I would have preferred a link-to a screen; albeit page that immediately announced that there was a subscription possibility.

But here is my thought, or should I say my fear – Will we soon see every Tom, Dick, and Susan jump on the bandwagon and start charging for his or her own family research, no matter how excellent, or how bad it is? Will every self-serving genealogist out there, globally, now want to become mini-Ancestry.coms, WorldVitalRecords, FindMyPast.com, or ScotlandsPeople? Remember these are huge databases that provide libraries of available data and information.

Okay that’s enough… I’ve got to get back to my own research.

Enjoy,

Jim

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