Another Change to our Website

I hope you like changes. This one should make it easier for all of us – the blog will now carry all new additions to the website and not just the updates about the site itself. Everything will still be fully searchable and all of the new content can be found using the same categories and pages as before, the only real difference is that new content will be easier to find. If you subscribe to our blog, you will even get new content delivered directly to you inbox. Newsletter subscribers will still receive updates and notes on a regular basis.
In making this change we have moved a few files, and we will be moving more. Again, the categories and main pages will still list all of the files, and if you have bookmarked a particular file we will forward you to the new location.

Big Website Change That We Hope You Never See

We made a big change to the website today, but only some of you will see it and that’s a good thing. We would like for none of you to ever see it – the new thing, not the website, we want you to see that.

As most of you know Genealogy Quest has been online and free to everyone since 1998. When Ancestry offered to buy us out, we declined. Obviously we do not want our paying clients to fund the website so we rely on advertising. We do not show controversial ads – no banking, no politics, no sex – just plain advertising that appeals to broad groups of people and this revenue pays most of the operating costs for the website.

Unfortunately that revenue is dwindling because more and more people use ad-blocking software and we do not get paid if people do not see the ads.

Our new update is a request for people to turn off their ad-blocking software when they visit If you have ad-blocking software a screen will come up asking you to whitelist us – this means tell your ad-blocker to exempt our site. You could also pause your adblocker but whitelisting is easier because you don’t have to remember to turn it back on again and it will remember us when you visit again.

It is almost certain that some people will not like this change and we may lose some visitors. That is not what we want to do, but we cannot continue to lose revenue and we felt this was the least disruptive way to keep the website free.

If you have problems with adding us to your whitelist, please let me know which browser and which adblocker you are using and I will attempt to help you.

10 Million Pages at Chronicling America Newspaper Collection

Chronicling America, the free, online searchable database of historic U.S. newspapers, has posted its 10 millionth page.

We now have 10,000,000 reasons to use the Library of Congress’ searchable newspaper collection at Chronicling America. I’m sure most genealogists have used this collection at least once, but do you ever go back to see if new material has been added? It might be a good idea now that they have reached 10 million page.

I like newspapers for various reasons, the first is obvious – to see what my notorious ancestors were up to! But also, to check what the weather was like at a particular place and time, to see the fashions my ancestors might have worn (or simply wished they could afford or even laughed at, it’s fun to work our which ancestor might have which reaction). Some of my ancestors were only in the newspapers when the county fair came around – but in a rural setting where county fairs were taken seriously, this still tells me something about their lives. And if you follow them for a few years you tend to see who their rivals were – I like to check out those families in the census (especially the agricultural census) just to see who was really better!

The Library of Congress issued a press release for this milestone and I confess, I have never checked the foreign language papers, but I will now.

Chronicling America Facts

  • The site now features more than 10 million pages – 74 terabytes of total data – from more than 1,900 newspapers in 38 states and territories and the District of Columbia.
  • Between January and December 2014, the site logged 3.8 million visits and 41.7 million page views;
  • The resource includes more than 285,000 pages in almost 100 non-English newspapers (French, German, Italian and Spanish);
  • More than 250 Recommended Topics pages have been created, offering a gateway to exploration for users at any level. Topics include presidential assassinations, historic events such as the sinking of the Titanic, inventions, famous individuals such as the Wright Brothers and cultural or off-beat subjects like fashion trends, ping-pong and world’s fairs;