This is a post about three different genealogists, who all happened to have terrific websites, and who all unfortunately have passed away recently…
William Addams Reitwiesner developed the website www.wargs.com and he died 12 November 2010. His website is being managed by Christopher Challender Child of NEHGS because of a previous agreement. It continues to be updated and managed, and is still online as a resource for genealogists.
Bridget Schneider co-developer of RAOGK.com “Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness” died 12 November 2011and the website went off line just before her death on 16 October 2011. It has not resumed, although her husband has stated several times that he will return RAOGK online soon.
Jennifer Marcelais, of the website www.gravematter.com “A Very Grave Matter” died just this past week on 19 September 2012. Her untimely death at the young age of 39 prompted me to start thinking about not only the loss of a young colleague, but the possible loss of her wonderful website, and her marvelous collection of New England gravestone photographs. Fortunately, her friend Bonnie Carberry may step in to carry on her Very Grave Matter project. Fingers crossed.
These three valuable websites were one or two person operations. Other genealogical websites are run by boards, businesses or organizations with backup staff, paid employees and (hopefully) business plans for continuing operations if the originator or author of the original website suddenly passes away. But some of our best resources on line are not Ancestry.com or Familysearch.org . They are much smaller websites that are just as valuable to genealogists as the big commercial websites.
When Bridget Schneider passed away, the genealogy community was in an uproar at losing an invaluable resource. However, over the past year other projects have started up to replace this hole in our genealogy toolbox. There are FB groups, wikis and a new website called http://generousgenealogists.com/ It has not been easy to cobble together a patchwork of resources to replace RAOGK.
Top Ten “At risk” Genealogy Websites (In my humble opinion)
What would we do if one of these people suddenly passed away and we lost their websites? Do they have backup plans? Can we as a genealogy community help develop guidelines and resources to prevent their loss, and other losses?
1. Cyndi Howell at “Cyndi’s List” www.cyndislist.com
2. Thomas MacEntee at Geneabloggers www.geneabloggers.com
3. Dick Eastman at “Online Genealogy Newsletter” http://blog.eogn.com
4. Jim Tipton at “Find A Grave” at www.findagrave.com
5. Caleb Johnson at www.MayflowerHistory.com
6. Lisa Holt at Holt ‘Ohana http://www.sightandsoundkaraoke.com/genealogy/holtTree
7. Joe Bott at “Dead Fred” www.deadfred.com
8. Doug Sinclair at Doug Sinclair’s Archives http://www.dougsinclairsarchives.com
9. TJ Rand at the Epsom, NH Historical Society website http://www.epsomhistory.com/
10. J.L. Bell at Boston 1775 http://boston1775.blogspot.com/
Note: these are websites I personally find invaluable. You probably have your own list of invaluable websites, run by a single person, that are also in danger of loss to the public if their originators do not have plans in place for continuing the website in the case of death or disability. Please feel free to list your personal favorite websites in the comments.
A recent article about Jenn Marcelais from the Portsmouth Patch:
Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo