“Ancestry.com just added the Internet Biographical Collection which is a compilation of genealogy information across the web. For the first few days, the information was in the paid section of the site. Based on community response to the addition of the Internet Biographical Collection, Ancestry.com has decided to make the database free…”
Of note: no apology or admission of doing anything unethical or improper…
A few of the blogs I read, including The Genealogue and Genea-Musings, today have posted the fact that Ancestry.com is “caching” free genealogy website information and charging its subscribers to access that data! Among those sites that are finding their data in Ancestry’s subscription-only database is USGenNet: Dateline: 26 August 2007
Copycats on the Loose! Sites on the USGenNet server have been copied and cached versions of pages are being shown in Ancestry'Com's subscription only site. USGenNet President, Ginger Cisewski, sent a notice to all account holders and has assured everyone that USGenNet will be dealing with this promptly. A viewable sample of a copied page is now available at http://www.usgennet.org/usgnhome/business/ancestry.html for those who don't have a subscription to Ancestry.Com.
This wrong on so many levels! Most of the free sites affected haven’t given permission to have this caching done, and may not even be aware that it is occuring.
I had a subscription to Ancestry.com a few years ago and did get a lot of valuable data from it. This was when I first started looking at my family history. But as my knowledge of genealogy and my research experience increased, I became aware of both the many “free” and low-cost sites that are available. I also came to realize that I’m not sure I like Ancestry.com. They are too commercial and it just doesn’t seem right to me that they charge so much for their databases. Now I realize that it is a business, but I’m just not comfortable with them.
I also realize that “free” websites are not free to manage and maintain. But I would much rather be able to visit an open site, and then make a donation to that site in return for any useful data I might find there. I have done this in the past and will continue to do so.
I am also a volunteer for RAOGK because I like to help others with their research if I can. I feel this is also a way that I can “return the favor”!
I have decided to try out a new project, or subproject, for this blog. In my routine internet searching efforts, I occasionally run across some really great genealogy sites. So, in keeping with the theme of the USGenWeb site, “Land of the Free…Genealogy”, each Saturday a free genealogy web site will be spotlighted at Free Genealogy Site Saturday. This can be an old favorite, like USGenWeb, or something new. The only requirement is that the data presented must be free. Sounds like fun!