Yesterday (12 Jan 2017), Judy Russell blogged about FamilyTreeNow.com in her blog, The Legal Genealogist. She strongly suggested that you “opt out” of allowing this public information aggregator website to present your personal information. I follow her blog, but I only caught up with “Suggestion: opt out now” today.
On its home page, this website states:
Welcome to FamilyTreeNow.com! We have one of the largest collections of genealogy records anywhere, and they’re all 100% free to search! Start researching your family tree by entering a name above and see what we find, or start your family tree now.
Elsewhere on this website, under “About Us” the website explains:
Our mission is to create the best free genealogy site in the world. We want it to be super easy to use for new users yet powerful for experienced genealogists. We’re working really hard to improve the site and add great new features. If you have any suggestions please let us know your thoughts so we can improve!
FamilyTreeNow.com was launched in 2014 by some technology veterans who like taking services that typically cost money and making them free so everyone can use them. We have great offices in Roseville, CA where we draw up new features on our giant whiteboard wall and generally try to have a good time while also working really hard.
The website appears to generate income from advertising, including one for Checkmate, a pay site for looking up criminal and other public records.
Judy Russell’s post stirred up a lot of reaction from readers and more is being added even today. Many agreed with her that so much personal information about living people shouldn’t be presented for free on the Internet. But there were some who justified their use of this website for various reasons relative to genealogy.
Actually, I was not aware of this website until this morning. I checked it out by searching for my own name and for names of a few relatives, living and deceased.
My conclusion: I probably will use FamilyTreeNow for people searches from time to time in the future. The information presented is already publicly available online, on social media, with Google searches, and on peoplefinder websites–just not in such an easy-to-use format, and certainly not for FREE.
One thing I DON’T intend to do is create yet another cloud-based family tree on FamilyTreeNow. The trees I browsed seem pretty limited and basic. Besides, I subscribe to Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com, and have large trees on these services. I also have dabbled a bit with contributing to FamilySearch.org‘s Family Tree.
In addition to these cloud-based trees, I am using PC-based programs RootsMagic and Family Tree Maker, with syncing to Ancestry.com. I am even using Family Tree Builder which syncs with my MyHeritage account. The hints and matches I am getting from these services provide me with plenty of leads to new information about people already entered in my trees.
Let me be clear: Sometimes I would like to look up information that is available online from a peoplefinder website. I have paid for this information in the past. Now that I know about FamilyTreeNow, it will be my go-to website for such information. And I’m not going to bother trying to opt out.
If you want to study Judy Russell’s blog posting about FamilyTreeNow, go here. Then you can make up your own mind about whether or not to “opt out.”