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My name is Colleen and I find dead people.

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27 May, 2006 The Great Debate is a genealogy website that houses a plethora of databases containing genealogical information. On this subscription based site, one can view U.S. Census Records, WWI Draft Registration Cards, Social Security Death Index, Newspaper articles, Immigration information, and much, much more. It is an invaluable site for researchers.

It also is not free. It can be rather expensive if one opts for the World Collection, which includes foreign Census Records (England, Wales and Ireland, I believe) and other foreign information. Many people think it's unethical and inappropriate for (owned by to charge people to view records they could get themselves if they'd go to the proper repositories.

I couldn't disagree more. is not just a website with information thrown all over it. It is a collection of searchable databases complete with incredible indices that allow you to plug in someone's name and see what records might be available with that name. You can usually then view the actual image of the record. These records (and the indices to these records) did not come to be on for free. They had to pay people to scan all the images. They had to pay people to read each record, transcribe the information on them, and then create an index for each database.Thousands of records, probably millions of names. This isn't to mention the cost of the website itself, the tech support they need to make it work and to maintain it, and administering the subscriptions. None of that came free to, and it doesn't come free to us.

I just purchased a year's subscription to, The U.S. Collection, for under $160 a year. It would cost me 10 - 20 times more to travel across country to Pennsylvania, paying for transportation, hotels, and food on top of the cost of research: Copying costs, parking feees, etc. Not to mention the time I save. The World Deluxe collection is quite a bit more expensive. Again, not as expensive as traveling to Ireland and Czech Republic would be.

A few nights ago I discovered a new database at WWII Draft Registration cards from 1942. I believe that only people who were born in certain time frames are included in this particular addion to the databases. I found two of my HODICK ancestors' cards right away

A welcome addition to the collection. I hope they plan on getting other groups' WWII cards online soon!


Anonymous Patty Quinn said...

I read your blog on this subject, and really do have a question. Aren't the records gathered and indexed, recorded ect. by the church itself?? The members do this as part of their connection with the church.

I've never heard of them actually being paid to do this - it's part of the religion to record every human being on earth. All the ones I've talked to are doing the work voluntarily, and are not paid.

And if the site itself is church based, then that makes it non-profit. But they seem to make a lot of profit from a non-profit organization. Just one person's opinion.

10:42 AM  

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