Hello! I've Been researching my famiy for 35 years, (back when it was ALL free)

+7 votes
Hello!  I've Been researching my family for 35 years, (back when it was ALL free), and I am fed up with the monopoly of Ancestry.com.  I want to go back to the early days, when it was free, and search engines actually pulled up what you asked for!  Please invite me to my dream site? I love the honor code! And have ALWAYS followed it.  I broke thru a wall on my Smiths yesterday that has been a thorn in my side for more than 30 years!  And it led me here. Thank God!  I thought Ancestry.com had bought up all the free sites.  I am SO happy to be here!
in Genealogy Help by
retagged by Tami Mize
I've got Smiths in my tree...what a mission they are....c ongrats on breaking through the wall
Thank you!  Good luck with your Smiths! You'll need it! lol  Needles in a hay stack!
Smiths, smiths n more smiths - but take heart it was thru my Smith line that I found some fascinating ancestors - that have taken me from Norman and Celtic England to Scandinavia and the middle east!
Wow!  Don't suppose you have Basil/Basel Smith? Archie Frank Smith? My Mom's Smiths came out of Hartwell, GA and Walhalla, SC.  Would be nice to link onto so much information!  Save me a LOT of work!  lol  Donna
to any Smith family who may connect - my Smiths are from the North East of UK, eg Whitby, South Shields, Chester-le-Street.
They married into, (recent ancestors) - Baxters, Newby, Wincop, Lawrence, Haggerston families etc. I note that some of these family names often have different spellings - such is the way, eg I think dePressene becomes de Percy....becomes Percy! anyway good luck Smiths

2 Answers

+1 vote
Welcome to WikiTree! I'm so glad you found us. It sounds like you'll make a wonderful addition to our community.

To send an invite we need your e-mail address. I know it seems like you entered it, but it doesn't appear here. (The e-mail address field is just for sending you this response.) If you prefer, you can also e-mail me at chris -at- wikitree.com.
by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
Donna, I got your e-mail and the invitation has been sent.
–1 vote
Unfortunately, genealogical research has never been free.  Before the Web, you still had to pay travel costs to go to libraries and archives and courthouses and cemeteries and churches around the world.  And you had to pay postage to send letters to these repositories.  Today, we live in a world where many original documents are online, and we don't have to travel to see them.  While there are still some free sites, someone still has to pay to host them and keep them running.
by Drew Smith G2G Rookie (170 points)
Yes, it was.  When the internet FIRST started, and up until Ancestry.com started BUYING all the free sites up, it was free.  The FREE Government Census records could be seen on several sites for FREE,  until Ancestry.com bought them all up.  For SOME reason, the Government is letting Ancestry.com have the monopoly on information that comes from the government for FREE to anyone.  And, gas was less than a dollar WAYYYY back then, it didn't cost much to run down to your local library and look things up for FREE. My library had resource books from all over the South East.  If you included a self-addressed, stamped envelope, you could write to any county courthouse, requesting information, and they had people whose JOB it was to send you a copy.  Some places might charge a small fee, but it was SURE as hell cheaper than what Ancestry.com charges for a year of looking at FREE Government information.  I was a teenager, in a poor family, and I was able to do a LOT with the little I had.  When I got access to the internet throught my Father-in-Law in 95, I found a WORLD of FREE information which amazed me!  I was able to download entire FREE Gedcom files from relatives I never knew I had!  It was 1995, the Census was free on the internet, and when MyFamily.com first started, it was also FREE, til it was bought by Ancestry, then, one by one, they ALL sold out to Ancestry.com!  Broke my heart.  I can't blow $150 a year on family trees.  Besides the fact that I HATE them with a purple passion!  Back in the old days, before the internet, you could get a LOT more information, a lot faster if you had time and money.  But, if you didn't, just write and request it.  As far as I'm concerned, Ancestry.com ruined Genealogy for the masses, and certainly for the poor.  They have a monopoly, and should be broken up like AT&T.
Check out ancestrylibrary.com, available for free at most local libraries with internet access. I use my laptop to connect to the library wireless network, then conduct the same ancestry searches as on the regular ancestry.com site. Unfortunately, for things like indexed census searches, they are still the best resource. Once you get past the census records around 1840 (when they started recording every person in the household), ancestry.com becomes much less useful than a simple google search.
Thanks!  I never heard about this.  Hard to believe Ancestry.com would let ANYone have their info for free!  Guess they charge the libraries a fee?  Before I got my own internet provider, I used to use the computers and internet at my local library.  This was around 2001.  Maybe they weren't doing it then.  Another good thing about the old days of internet genealogy, when you searched for something, it CAME UP!  Just what you searched for, you didn't have to look through a bunch of unrelated ads and wrong names to find the right one.  Type in "John Smith, 01/13/1892, Tyler, Texas" and ALL you got was a SHORT list of any John Smiths, born 01/13/1892, in Tyler, Texas!  HOW much research time do we waste these days, filtering out the crap to find the right one?  And sometimes, it's not there!  Progress!!!
Yes the library pays ancestry.com for the access, but from my perspective it's no cost, kind of like government benefits. They also offer HeritageWeb, and you don't have to be connected to the library WiFi server for that one. Luckily my library system (Orange County FL) has a pretty good genealogy research/support, others may not be so lucky.

I've never had much problem finding the right info on google (if it exists at all), the key is to use all possible name variations plus parent/spouse/child names, plus a date range from..to in the query. You may be seeing an explosion of content on the internet rather than the search engines not working as well. The uniqueness of the name helps a lot also.

Happy collaborating, and welcome to WikiTree.

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