March 13th, 2008 by Tim
As you know, The Generations Network has hosted and funded the RootsWeb online community since June 2000, thereby maintaining RootsWeb as the world’s oldest and largest free genealogy website. TGN remains committed to this mission and believes that RootsWeb is an absolutely invaluable and complementary resource to Ancestry.com, our flagship commercial family history site. We believe in both services and want to see both communities prosper and grow.
As part of this goal, we have decided to “transplant” RootsWeb onto the Ancestry.com domain beginning next week. This move will not change the RootsWeb experience or alter the ease of navigation to or within RootsWeb. RootsWeb will remain a free online experience. What will be different is that the Web address for all RootsWeb pages will change from www.rootsweb.com to www.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Again, the RootsWeb experience is not changing.
The decision to host RootsWeb on Ancestry.com is being made for one primary reason: we believe that the users of each of our two main websites can be better served if they have access to the best services available on both. Simply stated, we want to introduce more Ancestry.com users to RootsWeb and vice versa.
Today, despite the fact that Ancestry.com and RootsWeb.com are the two most frequently visited family history sites on the Web, only 25 percent of visitors to Ancestry.com visited RootsWeb in January 2008, while only 20 percent of visitors to RootsWeb visited Ancestry.com (according to Comscore Media Metrix). We think we will serve our users best by doing a better job of letting them know what is available on both Ancestry.com and RootsWeb. Hosting RootsWeb on Ancestry.com is the first step towards making this happen, but we will absolutely look for more and better ways down the road to advance this goal.
Hosting RootsWeb on Ancestry.com will also make it easier for us to make changes and improvements to the RootsWeb experience in the future.
All old RootsWeb URLs will continue to work, whether they are bookmarks or favorites, links to or from a hosted page or URLs manually typed in your Internet browser. We will have a redirect in place so that all old URLs will automatically end up on the appropriate new RootsWeb URL. You will never need to update your old favorites or links unless you want to. We have worked to make the transition as seamless as possible for our users, and this change should have a minimal impact on your experience with the site.
RootsWeb will remain a free online experience dedicated to providing you with a place where our community can find their roots together. If you have questions regarding this change please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Generations Network, Inc.