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An easy to understand explanation here from Mark Howell

Another here from the RootsWeb Help Desk

Why do they do it ?    don't know !

I know why I do it ...

I started genealogy nearly three years ago .. from one day to the next .. got "hooked" ... as they say ..

And if you can't imagine someone can get hooked then believe me .. I'm not the only one

.. read a couple of these pages :-)


and there are millions more like me out there.

RAOGK Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness

and the LDS who provide information freely ..

collected as result of  their religious beliefs ..

What I liked were the mailing lists .. people freely exchanging data and names and personal stories ..
I loved it when I could help someone "find" a rellie ... nearly as good as finding one myself . nearly :-)

I received so much help from the members of the mailing lists I belong to that I wanted to give
something back ..
I became a supporter, (donating a small amount for a year) and when that wasn't needed anymore
I adopted a few surname lists .. not much to do there :-) but it's better than nothing.

I'm a firm believer in "free" information ..
why should someone have to pay for something that I or others did voluntarily
e.g. extracting marriages from parish registers .. scanning (and converting to text) old books ..
spending millions of hours .. ( not me alone you understand ? ..
 all of the ROOTSWEB listers .. )

for example

 FreeBMD stands for Free Births, Marriages, and Deaths. 

The FreeBMD Project's objective is to provide free Internet access to the Civil Registration 
index information for England and Wales. 

RootsWeb Surname list

The RootsWeb Surname List (RSL) is a list or registry of nearly 1,000,000
 "surnames that have been submitted by more than 194,000 genealogists, 
with additional names arriving at the rate of more 700 a day."

more details here 

Hosted Volunteer Genealogy Projects

I believe lists are there to help people get started .... to show them where to look for themselves ...
and to keep everything in archives for our grand-children to find ... and not to give someone a family tree
on a plate, or worse .. collect information from them that they later sell to someone else.

There is even a mailing list for Newbies

Then we have a second group of people who spend literally 100s of hours scanning 
old, out of print and out of copy-write books .... 
after also spending a lot of money to buy the book in the first place.
That these people charge a few pounds for the CDs to cover their expenses is understandable.

Colin Hinson's Rare books on CD


After saying that: of course I must mention the fact that there are commercial sites 
with enormous amounts of information. , for example, has information on more than one billion surnames !! 

A lot of the information free and the rest for a few dollars




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I added these pages 29/04/2001. If you have any queries or find any broken links then please email me