Friday, April 11, 2008

Potentially Fraudulent Sites Posing as Genealogy Websites


Potentially Fraudulent Sites Posing as Genealogy Websites
Posted by Mike Ward April 10, 2008

We have recently become aware of three websites purporting to allow family history research: SearchYourGenealogy.com, Ancestry-search.com and Australian-Ancestry.com. The sites claim to have “the largest online genealogical search tool” and promote themselves as the foremost resources for genealogy, but from what we can tell, these sites are nothing more than a series of web pages with links to other services. These sites, in our opinion, are clearly fraudulent.

On each site, potential customers are lured to purchase under what we feel to be false, misleading and deceitful promotional material, and get little or no value out of money spent at the websites. Blog and message board posts from the community confirm this opinion.

The people/companies behind the websites are buying very high level paid search results on Google and other sites. In addition, they are using trademarks of well-known websites, including Ancestry.com and Genealogy.com, to get higher-than-normal natural search results. It appears the site colors, fonts, and pictures on at least one site are designed to mislead people into believing the site is related to Ancestry.com.

As the leading online family history company, The Generations Network, Inc. and its website properties including Ancestry.com and its global network of Ancestry sites, Genealogy.com, and Rootsweb, we want to encourage consumers to validate and verify the legitimacy of a website before providing credit card information or paying for services. TGN will take appropriate administrative and legal action to do its part to protect the community from these sites.


About Mike Ward
Mike Ward is the public relations director for Ancestry.com and The Generations Network, Inc. He is responsible for all communications campaigns for Ancestry.com in the U.S., and manages the company’s conferences team. Mike has also worked in product management, content strategy, and marketing for Ancestry.com.

10 Fun Family History Activities for Family Reunions

10 Fun Family History Activities for Family Reunions
From Kimberly Powell

Like many families, you and your relatives may have made plans to get together this summer. What a great opportunity for sharing stories and family history! Give one of these 10 fun family history activities a try at your next family reunion to get people talking, sharing and having fun.

1) Memory T-Shirts
If you have more than one branch of an extended family attending your reunion, consider identifying each branch with a different colored shirt. To further incorporate the family history theme, scan in a photo of the branch's progenitor and print it out on an iron-on transfer with identifiers such as "Joe's Kid" or "Joe's Grandkid." These color-coded photo t-shirts make it easy to tell at a glance who is related to who. Color-coded family tree name tags offer a more inexpensive variation.

2) Photo Swap
Invite attendees to bring their old, historic family photos to the reunion, including pictures of people (great, great-grandpa), places (churches, cemetery, the old homestead) and even previous reunions. Encourage everyone to label their photos with the names of the photographees, the date of the photo, and their own name and an ID number (a different number to identify each photo). If you can get a volunteer to bring a scanner and laptop computer with CD burner, then set up a scanning table and create a CD of everyone's photos. You can even encourage people to bring more photos by offering a free CD for each 10 photos contributed. The rest of the CDs you can sell to interested family members to help defray costs of the scanning and CD burning. If your family isn't very tech-savvy, then set up a table with the photos and include signup sheets where people can order copies of their favorites (by name and ID number).

3) Family Scavenger Hunt
Fun for all ages, but an especially good way to get the kids involved, a family scavenger hunt ensures plenty of interaction between different generations. Create a form or booklet with family-related questions such as: What was great-grandfather Powell’s first name? Which Aunt had twins? Where and when were Grandma and Grandpa Bishop married? Is there someone born in the same state as you? Set a deadline, and then gather the family together to judge the results. If you wish, you can award prizes to the people who get the most answers correct, and the booklets themselves make nice reunion souvenirs.

4) Family Tree Wall Chart
Create a large family tree chart to display on a wall, including as many generations of the family as possible. Family members can use it to fill in the blanks and correct any inaccurate information. Wall charts are popular with reunion attendees as they help people visual their place within the family. The finished product also provides a great source of genealogical information.

5) Heritage Cookbook
Invite attendees to submit favorite family recipes -- from their own family or one passed down from a distant ancestor. Ask them to include details on, memories of and a photo (when available) of the family member best known for the dish. The collected recipes can then be turned into a wonderful family cookbook. A great fundraising project for the following year's reunion!

6) Storytime
A rare opportunity to hear interesting and funny stories about your family, a storytelling hour can really encourage family memories. If everyone agrees, have someone audiotape or videotape this session.

7) Tour into the Past
If your family reunion is held near where the family originated, then schedule a trip to the old family homestead, church or cemetery. You can use this as an opportunity to share family memories, or go a step further and recruit the clan to clean up the ancestral cemetery plots or research the family in old church records (be sure to schedule with the pastor in advance). This is a particularly special activity when many members are attending from out-of-town.

8) Family History Skits & Re-enactments
Using stories from your own family history, have groups of attendees develop skits or plays that will retell the tales at your family reunion. You can even stage these reenactments at places that are of importance to your family such as homes, schools, churches and parks (see Tour into the Past above). Non-actors can get into the fun by modeling vintage clothing or ancestral outfits.

9) Oral History Odyssey
Find someone with a video camera who is willing to interview different members about the family. If the reunion is in honor of a special event (Grandma and Grandpa's 50th Anniversary) ask people to talk about the guest(s) of honor. Or ask questions on other select memories, such as growing up on the old homestead. You'll be surprised how differently people remember the same place or event.

10) Memorabilia Table
Set up a table for attendees to bring and display treasured family memorabilia - historic photos, military medals, old jewelry, family bibles, etc. Be sure all items are carefully labeled and the table is always hosted.

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