Thursday, August 30, 2007

MO Deaths

The Missouri State Archives has added scans of certificates from 1936 to the Missouri Death Certificate Database.


For Lee

If you're still out there, this is for you.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Does state licensing of professionals do more harm than good?


Bots hate my ancestors? sold and still sells user-submitted family trees online and on CD. (If I recall correctly, they used to be about $30 each.) The site is now owned by The Generations Network, Ancestry's parent company.

I am an Ancestry subscriber, but I'm not familiar with every feature and database. I recall there being a premium online tree-building section only available to paying customers; something bigger and better than WorldConnect.

I know people are willingly uploading the data and I don't know how a hugely popular site would go about offering free online tree-building, but both of these kinds of services bother me. Obviously not enough to not subscribe to Ancestry, though. I don't know why people use these premium services other than perhaps ease of use, but that still wouldn't change my mind. I just do not like the idea of the data being sold like it is.

So now Ancestry is "caching for cash." Not surprising considering the aforementioned premium services and knowing that search engines, namely Google, have made a killing do this. Really, is it that shocking?

On the other hand, I didn't see any of my data in the new cache database. I didn't search for many names, though. Are my surnames so unpopular that they aren't even worthy of a bot's attention? But I can see why others are upset. Ancestry's presentation was not acceptable. The content was being displayed not as it was intended, but as part of the Ancestry site. That's as tacky now as it was ten years ago when frames were all the rage and unscrupulous hacks would put someone else's pages into their framed layout, as if they did all the work. (There were JavaScripts to bust the frames.) And apparently the clarity of Ancestry's sourcing was poor (I didn't look), which should be embarrassing for a company with so many high profile genealogists associated with it. (Not that that means offense.)

This reminds me of the guy who was hawking software to create bogus genealogy data and web pages. His beef was with Google making money off of his work and trying to gum up their results. I bet he's none too pleased with Ancestry right about now.