Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Thursday, January 11, 2018

The End of RootsWeb as we know it?

rootsweb.com
Some time ago, I noticed that Rootsweb.com was down for "maintenance." Apparently, the issue is more serious than a simple upgrade. I am concerned the many newer genealogists are not familiar with RootsWeb.com. Here is a very brief summary of the website from the FamilySearch.org Research Wiki:
RootsWeb is a free genealogy community that uses online forums, mailing lists, and other resources to help people research their family history. Founded in 1993 by Brian Leverich and Karen Isaacson as the Roots Surname List, it is the oldest free online community genealogy research website. 
Users can upload GEDCOM files of their information for others to search at the WorldConnect portion of the site. Trees uploaded to WorldConnect are searchable at both the RootsWeb and Ancestry websites. RootsWeb was acquired by Ancestry.com in June 2000.
The value of Rootsweb is the huge accumulation of information about families and the large number of source citations. It has always been a go-to place for specialized and very complete research information. I am concerned that Ancestry.com, it current owner is going to eviscerate the program just as Ancestry has done with several other valuable genealogical resources in the past.

Rootsweb is one of the few legacy websites we still have from the days of the old online forums and bulletin board program from the very early days of the internet. Ancestry's concerns in part have to be based on the fact that Rootsweb is a free program and they are in the business of making money. I may be reading it wrong but Ancestry has passed through some changes in ownership and those entities who own the company are not genealogists. Interestingly, Ancestry has made no press releases as yet in 2018. Here is a quote from the corporate website showing who is running Ancestry.com now.
The company’s management team, led by CEO Tim Sullivan, is comprised of seasoned executives with prior experience at companies like Match.com, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, eBay, Novell, Zynga, Dropbox, Intuit and Stub Hub.
I am not denigrating the value of Ancestry.com, but I am worried about the future.

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