Thursday, August 18, 2011

Putting on My Tinfoil Hat

Over at GeneaBloggers, Thomas MacEntee has correctly stated that genealogists are awfully cranky lately. He is right. We are.

He has also stated that we should take a big breath, pick our battles, and above all, be kind when we can. He is right. We should.


Dear Sirs and Madams at the Big Genealogy Companies:

August seems to have become the month of Big Changes in Genealogy. Unfortunately for you all, not everyone is on vacation right now, so some of us are complaining. I love my genealogy subscriptions and appreciate what you do, but I’m starting to become paranoid.

Dear I don’t have a subscription with, so I have not been affected by the changes. But some of my friends have. That sucks.

Dear I have a subscription. I also have Pages on Footnote, and many of the Pages are about people who have no connection to the military. I also love the other content on, and I love what they were doing and planning to do with NARA. I made one of my most important “cousin connections” through Footnote. With the new focus, that probably won’t be happening any more on Fold3. That sucks. (And although I understand the patriotic significance of the new name, Fold3 is nevertheless kind of lame-sounding).

Yesterday I was feeling a lot of love for Ancestry because of the free access to the 1940 census thing. (Tinfoil hat on: That wouldn’t have been a deliberate move to soften us up for the Footnote-Fold3 switcheroo, would it? No, that's too devious, even for a mastermind.)

Dear Genealogy Bank: I like you the way you are. Please don’t change. That would suck.

Hoping that there is no such thing as the Genealogy Illuminati who get together to conspire to take over the Genea-World,

Yours truly,


  1. My husband just asked why I am laughing out loud. I think Fold3 sounds like a bad boy band. Why re-brand a reputable company? Very risky.

  2. Great post - agree, agree and agree some more! I'm also laughing at the comment about the boy band. I wonder what focus group convinced them that Fold3 was a good idea?

  3. My first inkling that Footnote had changed was when my bookmark didn't work.

    No redirect. Just didn't work.

    On the bright side, I now have an extra $79.95 annually to use to find another subscription service...

    I vote with my feet.

  4. I'm just reading everything, and yours was right to the point. No need to ramble on, like some did. I never used Geni, I don't fall for the word Free, and have Footnote, which I won't renew. Sharpen your pencil, because I bet there will be some more news down the road! Good piece Greta.

  5. fold3 could also remind one of the old cloth-diaper days, don't you know! Now, there is an analogy that has all sorts of implications! Good post, and refreshing amid all the crankiness (to which I have also bee subject). Thanks.

  6. Enjoyed your post Greta!Fold 3 makes me think of diapering a baby with cloth diapers! lol

  7. Sierria - A bad boy band? I never thought of that ... but now that you mention, it ... all sorts of images come to mind.

    Diana - Now the the thought that a focus group was involved definitely did occur to me - how much awful stuff has been foisted upon us as the result of focus groups?

    dee - I think a lot of people will vote with their feet, which was probably part of the plan, unfortunately.

    Barbara - Thanks. I believe you are right - there will be more news down the road. I think a lot of us in genealogy get caught up in the "It's free" scam because the switchover happens over a longer period of time than usually happens in industries that produce a tangible, physical product. Information-based industries wait until the "free" customers have provided value-added content, then pull the switcheroo.

    Karen - Oh, yeah, diapers - now that will bring a lot of images to mind! (I am cranky, too, but I guess I am so used to stuff like this that I have become resigned).

    Cheryl - Well, now all of our "great minds" are thinking alike - we coulda told them that name would be a marketing disaster!

  8. Thanks for the chuckle, Greta - sometimes when websites are making those frustrating changes, all you can do is laugh!