The Ontario Genealogical Society has adopted a policy of working to preserve and keep publicly available privately operated websites of genealogical interest which were in danger of closing or being abandoned due to changes in the circumstances of the site owner/developer. In effect, the Society offers succession planning for the website owner/developer.
According to an email message I received from David Thompson, Volunteer & Director of the Ontario Genealogical Society:
“We have quietly pursued the acquisition or hosting of a few sites, most notably CanadianHeadstones.com, which is currently undergoing a major face-lift and upgrade. In addition we are hosting CanadaGenWeb’s Cemetery project (http://cemetery.canadagenweb.org/), a local history site in Port Hope Ontario (http://alivingpast.ca/), a family genealogy site, a Canadian WW-II troopship memorial site, and others, including a GEDCOM site (https://ontariofamilyhistory.org/tng_2017_11/) which currently contains some 62,000 individuals and 21,638 families.
“On Saturday we publicly announced our preservation program for websites in our newsletter (eWeekly Update: https://goo.gl/qmpY5o).”
Society President Steve Fulton, UE, has commented:
“Our preference of course is to preserve sites relevant to Ontario family history first, but if there is risk of loss, we would find a home for any site of genealogical interest. There are many types of websites and each scenario has to be evaluated having regard to its size, the capabilities of our servers, its relevance, its architecture and the demands the site will place on our own volunteer resources”.
The program is flexible, and for example will accommodate:
- Complete transfer of the private website and URL to the Society. This means the site will be moved to the society’s servers and remain static for people to research;
- Transfer of the active website and url to the Society servers, where the owner continues to administer and revise the site; and
- The website owner continues to host the site as they are doing now and develops an arrangement with the Society to transfer the site in the future.
- We will seek to place Google ads on the sites to help offset hosting related costs. As we currently do, all ads are tightly controlled so they are relevant to the mandate of the society as much as possible.
The following is the announcement published by the Ontario Genealogical Society:
Do you have your own genealogy-related website? Do you want to ensure that your site remains available when you are no longer able to maintain it, or are you tired of paying hosting fees? Don’t let it disappear!
Don’t let future researchers get a 404 Error that your website can no longer be found!
Consider letting the Ontario Genealogical Society preserve your work! We will host it at no cost to you. You can continue to administer your site as long as you want, and when you no longer wish to, or cannot, continue, we will continue to host and present your materials, keeping them available for researchers for decades to come.
Have a website you wish to preserve, or want more information? Email David Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s get started.