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Apr 26, 2009

April 26, 2009

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NEWS:  Lisa discusses 9 newspaper databases being launched by Genealogy Bank 

MAILBOX FOLLOWUP:  Russ Worthington's answers to a listener's question on familial relationships in Family Tree Maker.

How To Re-Order Spouses

How to Enter Intra-Familial Marriages  

Listen to Family History: Genealogy Made Easy

GEM: Online Downloadable Source Citations
It's A Gem of An Idea!  Mark Tucker who writes the ThinkGenealogy blog posted a provocative video on April 20, 2009.  The blog post is entitled Better Way To Cite Online Sources.   

The heart of his proposal is this:  In order to encourage quality genealogy research among their customers, shouldn't the websites that sell access to genealogical records online also provide a source citation for those records that the user can download and include in their research?  As it stands today, when we download let's say a page from a census record or a page from a newspaper, there's often times nothing on the digitized image itself to indicate which database it came from, or even a location or date. 

Mark emailed me to say âever since our interviews in St. George, I have not stopped thinking of ways to get the message out for simplifying citing sources using Evidence Explained.  And he sent me a link to a message board post from Elizabeth Shown Mills.

Randy Seaver's comments on the subject at the  geneamusings blog 

This last week I had a chance to sit down and interview genealogy blogger and lecturer Stephen Danko for the Family History: Genealogy Made Easy podcast and I took the opportunity to ask him for his input. 

We really need to hear from at this point are the genealogy subscription records websites themselves.  It's their product that we are talking about.  And in the end, these digitized genealogy records we are talking about citing sources for are indeed "products."   And for companies like Ancestry and World Vital Records / this is about business. 

I contacted both Ancestry and World Vital Records to do brief interviews with their reps about this proposed idea, and how they see it potentially fitting in to their future business plan, and also to hear what they think of this grass roots effort amongst their valued customers - In these tough economic times it must be great to see the interest that their customers have in their product and their willingness to stay engaged with them and provide input as to what elements could be added to their products to add increased value and draw for their customers.

I've done many interviews with folks from Ancestry with the help of their very efficient and responsive publicist, as well as interviews with folks at familylink.  Most recently I had a great time interviewing the COO of familylink Steve Nickle who gave us a terrific sneak peek at their newest venture called Genseek.  And you can listen to that interview in Genealogy Gems Podcast Episode 61.  

In this episode I will play for you the responses from both Ancestry and familylink / World Vital Records to my inquiry about whether record sites providing source citations for the records they provide to their customers. 

Yep, you heard it correctly.  For the first time in two years of this podcast not only did they not provide a telephone interview, they didn't respond to my inquiry at all.   That's never happened before.  The silence is deafening!

As a genealogy media producer I'm pretty disappointed in both Ancestry and World Vital Records responses because any time they send out a press release or want to talk about a new venture they are launching I have welcomed the information and provided it here on the show and on my blog, as so many of us who podcast and blog do â and that kind of passing the word on has got to help their bottomline. 

This is the first time that I haven't had a reply within 24 hours of an interview inquiry with Ancestry.  And I think that tells us a lot!

Elizabeth Shown Mills:  "I suspect they'll do that catch-up (and she's referring to how these companies will have to go back and cite sources for the thousands of databases they've built up over the years) only if newer companies adopt Mark's recommendation and the older companies then feel the pressure to compete."

So what do you think?  This is one of those questions that affects all of us.  Send me an email or leave your comment on the Genealogy Gems voice mail line at (925) 272-4021 and I will play it on the next episode.  Let your voice be heard! 

GEM:  Google News Timeline
The Google News Timeline has been discontinued.

GEM: Interview with Maureen Taylor
Maureen discusses her upcoming appearance at the Southern California Genealogical Jamboree

GEM:  Profile America
Casey Jones 

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