Saturday, July 16, 2011

Genealogy and work and buzz

How will business interests affect the resource and networking possibilities for those of us building family trees?

That’s an interesting question. Here are some thoughts on one little change—the loss of “expert connect” at

The changes in the family history research industry are fairly obvious. It is growing and changing. We see commercials from every day. The databases there have grown very nicely, and the search mechanisms have also steadily improved. I love how the Family Tree Maker program now interfaces with I can’t rely on the hints, since that is what they are—hints, not facts, but they are helpful enough that I click on them more often than not.

I do think it is a shame that the expert connect service was discontinued. It was a wonderful system of offers and bids, and great communication in the process. Clients could choose the service provider they wished, and the researchers could bid on any project. I think the variety of possibilities was a very positive situation. You might find a researcher who specializes in one type of records  bidding on creating a family tree for an area in which they did not specialize at all, simply because he or she could see that they understood the resources needed for that client’s tree.  Or you might have ten providers bidding for one client's project. The client decided which offer is most attractive.  There was even sub-contracting, which worked efficiently. One person would research, and the other  would retrieve records that the researcher  couldn’t  access geographically. 

I found it a very lively marketplace, and I was sorry to see it go.  I enjoyed bidding, researching, and participating in a dynamic environment where clients clearly appreciated the results they got (see the reviews for the providers--very positive)

One of the main benefits of expert connect was the buzz. Everyone involved was excited about genealogy, and everyone was connected to in some way, whether as a researcher, a client, or as both. People were talking about their family trees, and there was certainly incentive to use the website often.

I know that the decision was made for business reasons, and I hope that the company does well. I have been subscribing long enough and enjoying results long enough to know that it is a valuable site for me to use.  But I also hope we can find more great marketplaces to support interaction between researchers and those who wish to have the research done for them.  And I hope that there will be many more places for genealogy buzz!

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