Genealogy Scam News You Need to Know & Spread the Word
- -----Original Message-----
From: aks_black@... [mailto:aks_black@...]
Sent: Friday, February 08, 2002 6:28 PM
Subject: Re: [MISSISSIPPI] www.gedlink.com
I subscribe to the Sunday Morning Coffee, a newsletter put out by
Pustola. This is a copy of the one from January 27th. She talks about
GedLink in it.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: SUNDAY MORNING COFFEE
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 07:41:50 -0700
From: Colleen Pustola <ladyaudris@...>
) Good Morning Friends! ( \
.-.,--^--. ( Come on in. . . \* )
\\|`----'| - The coffee pot's on. . . .=|=.
\| |// ...and we even have decaf, |~'~|
| |/ tea, and hot chocolate! | |
\ / _|___|_
Today's topics include:
1. Welcome to new subscribers
2. A continuation from last week's Coffee re: scams
a. Genealogy Developments ~ is it familydiscovery.com?
TO OUR NEWEST SUBSCRIBERS ~~
I'd like to extend a most hearty welcome to those of you who joined us
this past week. We are very glad to have you and hope you'll stay and
remain a part of us. This is not a discussion group, but a read-only
service. If you would like to make any comments regarding this Coffee
or any others, you are welcome to send them to me at
Please share this Coffee with your genealogy friends and relatives and
invite them to join us, as well. To subscribe to this newsletter all
they need to do is send a blank email to
A CONTINUATION FROM LAST WEEK'S COFFEE re: SCAMS
I covered the subject regarding scams last week and was supposed to have
discussed two other subjects today (see, it's right here on my
calendar!). However, I've received so many messages regarding Genealogy
Developments and Gedlink that I decided I'd better cover both in depth.
It seems that each enterprise has begun a publicity campaign and
everyone is wondering, "is it a scam?" Here's the lowdown on each:
a. GENEALOGY DEVELOPMENTS ~ IS IT FAMILYDISCOVERY.COM?
"This is a new commercial enterprise!"
No, it isn't. This has all the trappings of Family Discovery using a
new alias; same ploy as before ~ just with a new wrapping. Avoid them
like you would any of Family Discovery's other "enterprises."
Tender newbies, if you didn't follow up on the links I gave you last
week, then you still don't know and most definitely need to read this:
The subject of Family Discovery is NOT new and yes, they are rip-offs.
This is an old subject among those of us who have been doing online
genealogy for at least the last two years. The storyline changes a
little, but the players are all the same, and you should be made
Family Discovery, et al links their pages to free Rootsweb
<http://www.rootsweb.com> sites and archive pages, GenWeb sites, and
privately owned sites by way of frames ... sites on which all the
information is already free. Unless the attached site has some sort of
identifier on each page, you the viewer, will not realize that you're
viewing free pages and *paying* for the "privilege" of doing so! Family
Discovery is doing this without permission and are currently under
investigation by at least two states' attorneys.
Genealogy Developments advertises, "Currently we provide easy access to
over 900 million records." Of course they can say something like that!
Think about all the free sites there are to link to! We are here for
your convenience as a researcher. (I'd like to know who COUNTED all
those records that they can say something like that, by the way!) Then
they go on to say, "We are working on a very large scale SEARCH ENGINE
that will search billions upon billions of genealogy records." [my
And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. Genealogy Developments is
advertising precisely what Family Discovery, et al does ... a search
engine, and it's always "planned to be up and running within the next
Please, heed this warning. A new ad has begun to circulate under the
name of <GenealogyDevelopments.com>. Visit their site
<http://www.genealogydevelopments.com>, have a good look around ... do
you see a contact address? No? There's a good clue for you to realize
that something isn't up to what it reports itself to be. (It doesn't
really make a difference because even if there was one your messages
would not be answered.)
Now, while I'm at it, you need to know the other aliases so you're not
taken in. Following is a list of sites associated with Family Discovery
domain owners in one way or another:
Most of the above sites bill themselves as "the most comprehensive easy
to use collection of online records ever compiled," or something close
to it. Of course it is, if they link to every free website they can
find! Save your money and do the search yourself! You DO NOT need to
pay for a service that is already free if you know where to look. If
you need assistance, send a message to the list and state in the top
line of your message that you're a newbie needing help; you'll probably
get more than you can handle! :)
Gene Olson has has been a chronic thorn (yeaay!) in the side of the
owners of the above sites to the point of having a death threat put
against him! At first he focused strictly on FamilyDiscovery.com in an
attempt to get them prosecuted. He has since refocused his Anti-Family
Discovery Web Site and broadened its scope. It now includes any company
that uses illegal or unethical business practices. You newbies to
online genealogy would be wise to go to his site and read up on this
company so you won't be ripped off. Click on the following link and
you'll be taken directly to his site:
<http://www.compuright.net/badbusiness/>. Gene's email address is
Another site has taken over where Gene Olson left off. The website,
Census Diggins, which I gave you a link to last week
<http://www.censusdiggins.com/familydiscovery.html> has messages online
from quite a few people who have stepped forward to tell you of their
dealings with Family Discovery and some of their aliases. If you
haven't done it already, it would be in your best interests to check it
out, if only for a quick look.
Just please, remember the above list of aliases. These people will take
your money, giving you little to nothing in return, and from their past
history will not answer any of your messages. Hide your wallet,
checkbook, credit card, and run! :)
*EVERYONE* seems to be wondering about GedLink. Are they a scam, or
what? Does anybody know anything? Well, I have to honestly say, I
don't know if they're a scam. However, I DO know a few things which I
now report here:
We DO know that GedLink is in the middle of a major publicity campaign
because mention of their messages is popping up all over the lists.
I've been doing a little investigating on GedLink because I've received
so many messages asking about the site. They ask you to register (not a
problem), and you have to download a trial version of their program
(free) to link up with others. The premise here is to be able to allow
others to view your data at the same time you're viewing theirs.
What they don't tell you until about four pages into the site, at the
end of registration, is that they want you to become a member for
$19/year which allows them "to develop, maintain and constantly upgrade
the system and gives you access to the FULL version, allowing you to
request family trees." Until you pay, you can't access the promised
One of GedLink's designers said in an online message, "The GedLink
Software can be freely used. With GedLink, you can search for names,
issue requests, and send messages without becoming a paying member. We
don't want to write that the user has to pay for GedLink before the
registration, in order not to frighten him before he has first used the
Software, and we think it's not necessary, because there is no cost
involved for the basic features the user expects (search, requests...) .
On the second hand, it's true that we want to offer more features to
paying members, as soon as we end the test phase, but GedLink shall
always stay satisfying and useful for simple users who don't want to
Further down the same message the Gedlink designers says, "let me try to
reassure you a little about our company. "Infoduc" exists since 1994.
Its main product was a French shareware for genealogy, called "Win
Genealogic," until we decided 1999 to "go internet". We created
"notrefamille.com", a still flourishing web based service for the
family, including genealogical tools. We signed some partnerships with
important French portals like "Wanadoo" (France Telecom) and "AOL
France", where our genealogical tools, including GedLink, will soon be
available. They can be presently seen on voila.fr (which belongs to
France Telecom)." I checked and they are indeed seen on the following
Most of the people I've read receiving posts from this project were
apprehensive and backed out before they were charged. They have already
learned an important lesson: do NOT download software, or register with
a company, unless they tell you up front whether money's involved and if
so, how much. When in doubt, do your own investigation and see what
others are saying about it.
This next message is from someone on one of my lists: "I use Gedlink and
I recommend that you invest in Norton Internet Security. Gedlink works
on you sharing a directory (in your computer) with your gedcom file in
it which you would need to update everytime you made changes. I have
asked Gedlink on several ocassions about security with this method of
sharing and what keeps someone from hacking into other areas of your
hard drive. On their FAQ page
<http://www.gedlink.com/web/en/support/faq.asp>. Nothing addresses
security, Gedlink has tried to assure me that their software prevents
this....sure just as Microsoft prevented those from accessing Outlook
and most recently Windows XP."
At this point I need to reiterate ~ I am not saying Gedlink is a scam.
I've found no negative messages about them after doing a major Web
search ~ the nearest negativity being that in the last paragraph.
contacted have not heard anything negative. I'm willing to give GedLink
a temporary benefit of the doubt, but I won't be giving them my money.
I really don't get warm and fuzzy feelings from a company that buries
their fees, not divulging them until you're already registered and they
have your email address.
How do you protect yourself? Apply to your Internet dealings the same
good sense you try to use in everything else you do. However, on the Web
you need to be more than just a little skeptical. As others have said,
"Keep an open mind, but don't let your brain fall out!"
Family ... it's what we're all about.
I so enjoyed spending this time with you today. Thank you for sharing
it with me. I wish each of you a week filled with health, productivity,
fun, and above all, filled with love and inner peace.
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> Is anyone familiar with www.gedlink.com?web page and wanted me to try their product which they claimed "is
> I just got an email from them which indicated that they had found my
basically FREE OF CHARGE". The software is free, but you can't access
ANY data unless you join for $19 a year.
>page as a link, and you also put a link to them on your page. So you can
> Their concept appears to be simple. You just let them add your web
access gedcom files from other users. (So, I get to advertise them and
supply them with their data for $19.... I don't think so...).
>my web page, and my web page has a gedcom, have they already put a link
> My problem is this... Since they contacted me through information from
to my gedcom file in their system which they are now charging people to
access. I furnish my information to anyone who wants it free of charge.
>ease, visit http://www.rootsweb.com/mississi and scroll down and click
> Does anyone know anything about them?
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