Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Adding to the RootsIreland chorus

Claire Santry has posted a series of comments on the recent changes to RootsIreland at http://irish-genealogy-news.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/how-to-kill-off-goodwill-in-one-easy.html. Here's a few more to add to the chorus - from tweets, emails and comments on previous posts on the subject on this blog:

I'm sorry to see them charge for formerly free searches. Lucky for me I had just done some stuff a few days ago...  Why can't the rest of Ireland - both of them, get on the ball? I don't mind paying a reasonable price, but I prefer original records. (BG blog)

I don't understand why RootsIreland don't offer a subscription service a la Ancestry, FMP etc. Pay-per-view (for a transcript rather than a facsimilie of the original document) at the price being charged is not what most of us might call good value for money. (BG blog)

I regularly read your blog & have to concur with your analysis of the new payment system at RootsIreland.ie and the loss of some of the Advanced Search features. It is a retrograde step indeed. (email)

I just saw the change - I had heard about it - I had written to RootsIreland about their fees, and they said they were changing, but it wasn't publicized. Usually I get an email when they put new records on the site, but there was no email about the change. I think it will be more expensive. And it was pretty expensive as it was. I counted up what I've spent - ugh - I could have had an annual worldwide Ancestry subscription. I am at the point where I have fewer, and more complicated searches, so I think it will be a while before I try RootsIreland again. (BG blog)

I couldn't agree more with your analysis - I have a feeling the money is important to the RootsIreland people and they are out to exploit as many naive punters as possible. It is really disappointing that it is going this way. (email)

And this one from an archive...

An excellent summary on your blog of the changes at RootsIreland Chris - utterly frustrating for me as well ! Why change it ? Grrr... (Twitter)

The changes at RootsIreland are in my opinion (as a user, and nothing more) a major backward step. In my opinion, a simple price reduction would have kept everyone (well, most of us perhaps!) happy. I emailed my concerns to RootIreland last Friday but have as yet to receive a response.

If you are unhappy with the changes, please do vent your comments on this blog in the comments section below, to Claire Santry at her Irish Genealogy News blog (see above), and to every forum and genealogy magazine that you think might be interested.

But please, above all, make your opinions known to RootsIreland itself, which can be emailed at enquiries@rootireland.ie.

Making your voice heard may well be the only way that this regressive step can be potentially undone.

In the meantime, there is one other issue, the monopoly of access to the records. There is absolutely a case for competition here, whether through internet giants such as FindmyPast Ireland or Ancestry, or even the governments north and south - the government backed Irish Genealogy at http://irishgenealogy.ie/record_list.html is a wonderful initiative, for example, adding free to access records for Dublin City, Carlow, Cork and Kerry. The National Library of Ireland had contemplated digitising its Roman Catholic records and placing them online for free, though this seems to have stalled. I don't necessarily suggest records need to be free - but they need to be affordable and they need to be accessible in a fully searchable format.

Until competition is introduced we may continue to be held hostage to our own heritage through high pricing by those we hoped would help us to gain access to it.


British GENES on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BritishGENES and Twitter @chrismpaton


  1. I agree that searches should be free. That's what will drive interest in the site -- to view the actual hits.

    Just sign me Ol' Myrt :)

  2. Part of the reason for cancelling the proposed filming of the RC NLI films was objection to the project by RootsIreland/IFHF


  3. If correct, that's disgraceful. Thanks for update.