Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Genealogy Market

Writing in The Beaver last winter about the genealogy boom (story here), I talked with Erin O'Reilly at about Ancestry's web-based databases and search services.

Yesterday Ancestry announced a new feature: the 1891 Canadian census.

Now the 1891 census is a public document, available from Library and Archives Canada for many years: microfilm, online, the works. What Ancestry is offering, for its fees, is an indexed, searchable, easy-to-use version of the public document.

It's a bit like bottling tap water and then charging for the convenience -- a very successful business in recent years. Convenience value added, fee charged -- that's how genealogy is being organized and commercialized for the rest of us who don't expect to put in the time in the archives in pursuit of our ancestors

Ancestry has lot of other services like this too. I wonder what the response is like.
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