Sunday, July 01, 2007

Ancestry frustration

I used to love It has everything I need to research our family history as far as possible through online records. It has a super cool setup to suggest records and format it all into a family tree. It has online copies of census records and immigration records. Awesome stuff! I've spent many a night not sleeping and instead discovering long-gone ancestors. Some of them have fascinating stories suggested by where they lived, when, and with whom.

Today I'm giving up on The owners sold their business to someone who then failed to work out an arrangement with the LDS Church, and subsequently cut off all church family history centers from the service. This affected me because then my own dad cut off his subscription. (I can almost hear him mumbling something about "those dirty rats".) Now every time I go to do something besides browse my already-entered family tree, it pops up a window telling me I can have a 3-day subscription if I'll agree to pay them $30 a month after my 3 days are up.

THREE DAYS?!? Sorry people, but 3 days isn't enough to do more than blink at family history research. Worst of all, it won't let me download the GEDCOM file of my family tree any more. I can give them more of my precious family info and upload it, but they won't give me back all the work I already did there.

I'm bordering on total hate now. I'd just buy a subscription for a month and then cancel it, but I'm not giving those dirty rats a single penny! I think I'm going to wait for some information from another family member who recently contacted me, then sign up for the 3-day trial and spend an entire weekend doing nothing but cleaning-up loose ends in my family tree. Then I'll download it and NEVER GO BACK.

I should have seen this coming. only ever worked well in Internet Explorer, and IE is a really crappy web browser that is only widely used because it's part of a huge monopoly and most people don't even know they have other options. Oh the similarities!

I suppose I can always go back and do my research the old fashioned and totally free way. It's just... so incredibly much more time-consuming. Then again, I'm about to the point where that's my only option for some of these people. They just don't have many records out of Slovakia available online.

There is gleeful good news to go along with all this, however. I'm told the LDS Church is now preparing to debut a huge family history system through that will rival, but remain totally free. Hey, Ancestry? You thought it was all about capitalism? Sucks when you dis' the big guys and they turn around and give you a huge dose of competition, doesn't it?

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