The Closing of Geocities and computer genealogy in South Africa
- In a couple of day Yahoo!'s Geocities will close down. There's a lot of
genealogical info there, so you might like to have a look while it's still
More info at
There are plans to back it up at:
but I'm not sure how fare those plans have progressed, or whether the
material will be generally available.
Among the material that will be disappearing is a site that I have been
running for the last 12 years, the African Family History Network.
Perhaps some history of the site may be of interest.
It was originally the web site of the Computer Interest Group of the
Genealogical Society of South Africa.
I had suggested that the Genealogical Society have a Computer Interest Group
(CIG) when genealogy software began to become widely available in the 1980s,
to advise members who wanted to use computers to keep track of their
genealogy, and to review programs etc.
The Genealogical Society approved of the formation of the CIG in June 1989,
and asked me to be convener, and so i prepared prepared announcements to be
sent out with the newsletter, but the editor of the newsletterr got pretty
nasty and obstructive, and very rudely said he would refuse to send it out
unless it was in both English and Afrikaans, because it was "policy" that the
Society was bilingual. He didn't, however, offer to help with the extra cost.
So, having volunteered my time and money to help members of the society, I
was told that it was unacceptable unless I paid more.
Anyway, we did eventually have a computer interest group, which had its own
newsletter for a while, to share information about genealogy software. We
also started an international genealogy forum on BBS networks, which was the
first ever international computer communication among genealogists -- the
predecessor of mailing lists like this one. And it had its beginn ings on a
humble BBS in Clubview, Centurion. Back in those days all internet traffic
between South Africa and the rest of the world, including the BBS conferences
on Fidonet, went over a dial-up line using 9600 bps modems between Rhodes
University in Grahamstown and Oregon in the USA.
I suppose the Computer Interest Group has now been superseded by EGGSA, which
has its own site, and so I converted the old CIG web site to the African
Family History Network, to widen it to include the whole continent.
Well, that site is closing now too, but its concerns are continuing in the
African Genealogy Forum right here, which is for discussion and exchange of information on genealogy and family
history in all parts of Africa.