Four years ago my brother-in-law, Eric Proffitt, my sister and five kids came to live with me and my six kids and 18 year old brother for a few months.
One day, my brother-in-law came home beaming. The greatest idea hit him while he was struggling to work on a friends ancestral line. Eric Proffitt had been helping people out with their genealogy for years out of kindness because he loved the mystery of it all.
“What if” Eric asked “we had a website that would let people post small genealogy requests for pictures, grave rubbings or records to be pulled that would help them with their family search”. I love genealogy myself, but at the time I was at a 5 year roadblock and wished beyond wish that I could get some help. I had already paid 2k to a professional genealogist and I had gotten as far as I could at the time.
I immediately thought the idea was brilliant “Kinda like being able to Geo-cache but with a purpose!!” To me, it sounded like the perfect way to get the masses involved in genealogy. At the time, I had never heard of indexing or crowd-sourcing. Geo-caching was the closest thing I could imagine to having millions of people around the world involved in one project.
“To make the site more sustainable and appeal to non-genealogist, we could make it so the person requesting the information can put up a fee that they would pay to get their request fulfilled-five dollars being the most common cost” my Eric Proffitt explained. I was hooked. I strongly encouraged him to find out how we would make it happen.
The next couple of weeks Eric did a ton of research. It seemed that the basic programming fee would cost 30k, and that didn’t include marketing, on-going costs, or web-design, which would be another 10k. Eric Proffitt flew to Salt Lake and discussed his idea with one of the top genealogy organizers there who loved the idea and told Eric that if he got everything together in time, Eric could present at the up-coming genealogy conference. Eric Proffitt was stoked, but cost of the whole thing was too daunting, and the idea was put on the back burner.
Fast forward four years. I had just got so frustrated with the road block I was having with my family tree that my husband found a Ukrainian teacher who happened to be a gifted photographer, to visit my ancestral village. Our hope was that since we couldn’t afford to go ourselves, that we would send this teacher guy to our village and see if he could take pictures of the location, and try and meet any relatives that still may be living there. It cost me 1200 dollars to get him to visit to villages. With seven kids, the 1200 dollars was hard to come by, but it was thoroughly worth it. The pictures he sent, and the people he met added a whole new dimension to my family tree. I was so thrilled. My husband was like-wise very impressed with the whole process. It was then we approached Eric Proffitt and Mike Parker, with looking into the whole crowd-sourcing genealogy idea again. They were both still interested and in researching the idea again, and were thrilled to find out that the cost to do the whole project had dropped significantly even when he added in the cost of developing an app to go with the website.
Unfortunately the price hadn’t dropped enough to make it affordable for us to do on our own. It was then we decided to try and crowd-fund the idea-an option not available 4 years ago. We knew that if the idea was as amazing as we thought it was, that it would catch the vision of other casual genealogist like ourselves and take off.
We now have less than 20 days to finish our campaign and are still short the amount we need to make it work. If you would love to know more about your genealogy, I would encourage you to visit our Indiegogo Campaign and think about donating. Together we can make this work. . . Updates: Thanks to funders through indiegogo Campaign and other private investors we are ready to launch out new sight within the next month. The name of this site is called ROOTSBID. I am beyond excited. Whenever my husband is overworked, and our bank account is looking slim, I just feel a thrill to think that our dream is being completed right now!!!