RootsIreland have changed their fee structure - not sure if it's better or worse!
Free Index searches are no longer available and now cost 1 credit per page, all records cost 25 credits. The cost of each credit depends on how you many you purchase at a time - cheaper the more you buy.
approximate cost per search page / and per record
€5.00=35 Credits 14c / €3.57
€10.00=73 Credits 13.5c / €3.42
€18.00=150 Credits 12c / €3
€32.00=320 Credits 10c / €2.50
€60.00=750 Credits 8c / €2
Thanks for the info. They had it tucked away in their latest news instead of front and centre.
Very surprised they didn't email existing users (I didn't get one anyway) to outline the changes that were going to happen as not everyone would have been aware of this from Claire's blog a while back.
But anyway, some good, some bad.
I can see how the lower cost bulk bulking will be helpful to those with 'Patrick Murphy' ancestors. But taking away the free index searches is a bad move IMO.
I'm sure John Grenham will have lots to say about them now!
I have have purchased quite a few records from them over the years, but usually after a number of index searches to narrow down the parish etc. Admittedly once I've found a match I use the details to kick start a search in the NLI or RCBL
I understand John's online course has a section about using the free search to narrow down possible matches...
I prefer the old way - although the €5 was a bit steep.
In a way this might save some money for the people who really need more details to focus a search before they start an Irish search - i.e. those with limited information e.g Patrick Murphy Ireland abt 1820, unknown parents and location might hold off - and try to find a bit more details first ?...
Claire has an article on her blog today containing feedback from different Irish genealogy forums and websites.
Lots of people with some very negative thing to say about the new payment structure!
Not living anywhere near Dublin/NLI, I have spent several hundred euro buying records from IFHF over the years but only after I had spent many hours searching to identify the correct ones. I won't part with another cent if I can't eliminate the wrong records before purchase. How many of us are lucky enough to have uncommon names to work with? I for one am stuck with very common names on the whole. Big fail to IFHF for this move.
If they start losing money they'll hopefully cop themselves on and either go full payment membership or revert back to the free search. It seems they've stirred up a hornet's nest anyway.
They’ve made a classic internet-business mistake. Soooo many firms that went online in the mid 1990’s with a similar business model were cleared out by the dotcom bust. Have they not learned from that? Do they realize that a cyber customer is just a click from leaving a business? Their site already is too busy with repetitive tat, the navigation is awful to the uninitiated and now their pricing disparity – and five ‘price points - for the same product - will annoy their smaller customers (probably the biggest market.)
The obtuseness is amazing:-
To view the details of any single record from the search results page will cost 25 credits but may vary depending on the type of record you view.
Then they give a price matrix and follow that with
we suggest that you buy enough credit to view 10 records.
So that’s 250 credits (maybe, but may vary) BUT their pricing plan has either an option of 150 credits at €18 or 350 at €32. Where is the logic?
The Irish Genealogical Research Society has issued a response to the new fee structure, removing the free index search facility at RootsIreland's website:
A backward step
Recently, much has changed for the better in Irish genealogy, what with records coming online for free, or being made more generally accessible. But the recent action of the Irish Family History Foundation (through its website www.rootsireland.ie) to introduce charges to view its online indexes to records has come as a complete shock. It appears that mixed messages are now emanating from Ireland! One of the most used and beneficial websites, sponsored by the Irish government’s department for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs - www.irishgenealogy.ie - offers free access to parish register indexes and records from Dublin, Cork, Kerry and Carlow. The site is a joy to use and for most entries links are provided to digital images of the original record, enabling verification of data. However, by contrast, the IFHS does not provide links to the original records and charges have now been put in place to view the indexes, and that’s before paying to view the record itself. Contrasted with the government website, this appears a poor bargain by comparison. It is a worthwhile exercise to read the extremely restrictive Terms and Conditions produced by IFHS on their website. The tone is hectoring and threatening – and it begs the question of who on earth advised them on their public relations policy? Quite alarmingly, the terms determine “your rights, responsibilities and benefits” but I think most researchers will be alarmed to read “you may only use www.rootsireland.ie and its contents for your own personal non-commercial use... you cannot provide third parties with details of any records that you have paid to view, even if you provide them for free (so don’t pass on any family history records to your family)... if you do not agree with any of the Terms and Conditions do not use the site”...threats of disconnection and possible prosecution follow. Given the number of complaints already received by the IGRS, without delay the IFHS needs to seriously re-think this model of negativity and re-instate the free viewing of the indexes!
Thanks mod9maple. With the limitation to 'personal, non-commercial use' this sounds like that both (1) people on forums such as this can't do lookups for people and that (2) external professional genealogists can't access the database. I can understand that professional genealogists cost them money in commissioned research but with people doing lookups, someone is still going to buy the records anyway.
As error prone as IrishGenealogy can be, at least you can (mostly) check the images. I wonder with RootsIreland how often it has set people on the wrong track because of transcription errors. As it stands, where an event happened after the start of civil registration, I would personally think the civil cert offers better value and accuracy and that the lack of images costs RootsIreland. RootsIreland just looks like a business model under threat. If IrishGenealogy get their hands on more records I could see RootsIreland being dead in the water.
I think that's the core of the issue... up to now IrishGenealogy has only been covering areas outside those covered by RootsIreland and IFHF resisted plans for further digitization of the NLI films. Digitizing these could have been a step towards making these available online as images at least. Possibly not transcribed initially if costs did not allow, but I think plenty of people, in Ireland & worldwide, would volunteer to transcribe images.
bottom line in my view - this should not be a business, it's a resource to share
There is an important point made in the statement of the Irish Genealogical Research Society quoted by mod9maple above about the terms and conditions imposed on users about sharing information. There is an implication that IFHF owns the data, and has a right to limit its use. No, it bloody doesn't own the content of parish registers and the like. They own a database that more-or-less correctly contains the same data; they own a search facility linked to that database; they have copyright on the format in which they present data.
Just a couple of days ago I received a mail from an American friend who wants help in understanding her Irish ancestry, and she was quite bothered about sending me the data about a marriage in 1831. Yet in this matter I can be regarded as a research assistant or collaborator. Why should she be made feel that she is bending or breaking the rules?
I don't mind paying for information if it costs somebody money to source that information for me. But I am getting a bit uncomfortable with IFHF. It describes itself as a "not-for-profit organization" yet seems to be intent on increasing its revenues. What for?
Since the index searches were previously free to access, I didn't see a problem helping people narrow down parishes - although you had to be careful not do use too many or you could fall foul of another rule re your search vs payment ratio...
Since the searches are now paid for - I think there will be fewer people willing to assist, a) because they have to pay a fee (no matter how small), and b) because technically they are breaking the terms and conditions in doing so.
I think the big losers in this will be people outside Ireland who cannot easily access primary sources, e.g. NLI RCBL etc, and are not familiar with townlands, RC parishes, civil parishes, Poor Law Unions etc and need help getting their search started...
It is sometimes possible to extract results using the free search, based purely on the number of results.. but this only works with less common names, or uncommon combinations of names.
That’s a good point.
The marriage certificate of my great-great-grandparents from the 1850s on the Roots Ireland website is very sparse on details e.g. the boxes for the names of parents were empty.
Therefore without a view of the original record, I could not verify for myself if their data was complete or not.
An 1850s RC marriage record would not usually include details of fathers. From what I've seen the most common format would be date, names of bride and groom, names of witness and possibly an address.