Monday, October 28, 2013

Who will be the next company to partner with FamilySearch?

So, FamilySearch has entered into deals with Ancestry, MyHeritage and FindMyPast/Genes Reunited

I'm betting on NEHGS.  Maybe they will surprise me though and partner with some European company instead of American?  Or maybe they are done now with making deals?

I'd really like to see them enter into a deal with a DNA company.  The idea of tying in DNA results to their FamilyTree really appeals to me.

Many people have commented that they don't like the idea of volunteering for FamilySearch indexing and having the resulting index available on paid sites.  I volunteer to index and arbitrate at FamilySearch.  I don't see this as a problem.  The indexes will still be available for free at FamilySearch.  Now I will be able to directly attach the records I helped index to my trees at Ancestry, Geni, etc.  Sure, before I could have gone and taken a copy of the record to put on my trees elsewhere but thats not as quick and easy.  And anything that helps people to add source documents to their online trees is awesome!  For many people, if it is not quick and easy to add a source document they won't bother.

The amount of data that is scanned, indexed and made available each day is staggering.  The idea that these new partnerships may help us get even more records faster and easier to access is appealing to me.  If some companies make a return on their invested $ in the process, it is fine by me!

When I volunteer my time to index and arbitrate for FamilySearch I want my time to be as useful to as many people as possible.

FamilySearch is FREE, and it is not free to have the servers, tech support etc that are required to run their site.  Sure, the volunteer indexers are free, but that doesn't mean the equipment to scan documents, transportation around the world to access documents to scan etc are free.

These deals will possibly lower how much is paid to various record holders for the permission to index their documents as there will be less competition bidding on the same record sets as the big players are in a partnership.  Hopefully, this will mean we will get even more records.

The indexes created by the FamilySearch volunteers are much better than the ones created by Ancestry's paid transcribers.

All I see in these deals is good news for genealogists everywhere, whether you subscribe to the paid sites or not!

(Actually, I do see one potential downside, which is that with only one partnership taking images of the documents, if an image comes out poorly, we won't be able to go see if some other site did a better job on that image)