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.