Thursday, January 17, 2008

Goodbye, RootsWeb

It's been a long time since I last updated my genealogy pages on the Freepages site I have at RootsWeb. With less time for research, less time to edit and create pages, and a desire to make a new site, working on those pages simply was not a priority. I'm going to try and jump-start myself, though, and get more done.

The first step is to make a new site; not just a new layout, but a different way of managing the site. So, I bought a domain with a plan to take advantage of the packaged Wiki software and its image gallery. I think that if I can simplify the process to just managing data without messing with the layout — something I am easily addicted to — it will become easier to stay on top of finds and getting the news out. And with a Wiki-based system, I will be able to invite others to collaborate on research.

Having my own domain will also allow me more freedom in what I'm able to publish. I once created Google maps that showed where current and past churches in St. Louis were located. The problem was, I could never get the pages to work perfectly with RootsWeb as the host. That issue has been resolved, but I've changed the function of the page so only one is currently online. (See next blog entry.)

My domain package also comes with a few different blogging options, but I have not decided what to do on the that front. Since my feed goes through Feedburner, I believe I'd be able change the source and no feed subscribers would be affected.

Before I mention the new site, let me make one thing clear: picking a domain name is not easy. I wanted something that was easy to remember (catchy and not too long), conveyed a little about myself and since genealogy was the focus it also had to describe my ancestry. I also wanted a domain name that would lend itself to other projects, that I may or may not ever finish.

So, I chose Show Me Ancestors. Missouri's nickname is the Show Me State and that's an attitude you'll find in a lot of us here, myself included. This is (so far) where most of my American and immigrant ancestors lived, and it's where I was born and have lived almost my whole life. Were I to write about sports or news/politics, I'd go on and on about the Cardinals, Blues, Rams, Mizzou and SLU or how one group of locals made my city a local joke with their antics. This is why the vast majority of my posts here have been about St. Louis research, the Missouri death certificates project and so on. I can't help it.

Finally, I would like to state that what RootsWeb does by offering free web space to genealogists and societies is a great asset to the community. For those unable or not wanting to invest much in a site, I cannot recommend a better option.


Apple said...

I love the look of the new site! I'm still trying to learn how to use WeRelate so I don't think that I'm ready to try a wiki of my own yet, so I'll watch how you build your site and maybe be ready to tackle such a project in my retirement.

What you have done with the maps is a great resource!

Apple said...

P.S. Your domain name is PERFECT!

David said...

Thanks, Apple. I barely even use Wikipedia as a reader, so I was a little overwhelmed with the number of settings this package has, but it's not so bad.

Hugh W said...

you sre not the only one to follow this path

the probelms begin if you have a very successful site which is taken off line by your ISP until you buy more bandwidth

And when you die if the fees are not paid your site getsa deleted and your work lost

I stay with Rootsweb

David said...

Hugh, I'll address these issues in another post.