Image by StartTheDay via Flickr
I have the same frustrations as many others within the weekend genealogist community. A lack of access to vital records, that should be considered public records. So many promising searches leading to results locked behind the secure doors of large subscription or membership sites that control vast amounts of information. So many of my results, lead to that impenetrable wall of “to view these records, please choose a subscription”. Always, that locked door in a solid brick wall.
I wouldn’t mind a reasonable fee, but when you have to shell out subscription fee after subscription fee for the privilege of viewing what amounts to historic pubic records! The whole thing just keeps getting under my skin, and grates at my very core. I understand the desire, and need to make money to be able to provide the services offered, but there has to be better, less expensive method. I’m sure they receive funds from advertisers to help defray costs. Okay, I’m becoming one of those people that I complain about all the time, squeaking about every dime. In this day and age though, you had better squeak, because most of us can’t afford the luxury of a lubricant.
This is the reason I enjoy sharing all the information I find, about free sites, or places you can get partially free information. Its also why I’m all for the digitization of public records by libraries and government archives. Just imagine how nice it would be, to have the opportunity to search the microfilmed newspaper article stored by libraries. I wouldn’t mind paying a reasonable fee for unlimited access to something like that. The digitization of official records such as the census, birth, marriage, and death, and so on should be encouraged, but should never fall under the control of one or two sites that will charge substantial fees to view the records.
We should all support the Federation of Genealogical Societies Malcolm H. Stern – NARA Gift Fund.
“The Stern-NARA Gift Fund is a nationally supported program to finance preservation and imaging of valuable research materials now preserved in the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. These materials consist of microfilm and digitized images of important genealogical records and indexes. These materials are produced without government funding, and are then distributed to the 13 National Archives Regional Archives for use by researchers or placed online for access. FGS administers this fund and conducts fund raising campaigns to support records preservation of and access to these records.”
Now here is a cause, worthy of support and advancement. The sooner we can get those records digitized, the sooner we can all have access to information that jus might break through a few of those brick walls. Perhaps even put an end to one of my biggest frustrations.
Okay, I’ll jump off my soap box now, and wish you all a happy and productive weekend, with hopefully, very few brick walls or dead end searches. Don’t forget to grab a feed, either by reader or email, and join us at Facebook also.
“"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information." T.S. Elliot via Quotations Book.