By Roxanne (Writer) with Wayne George (Research Asst.)
(January 28, 2001)
There is a fine collection of websites done by one very cleaver man, Illya James D'Addezio. Mr. D'Addezio used his skill as a software programmer with outside webpage creation domains to put together several genealogy research pages. In his introductory pages Mr. D'Addezio tells us that his mission is to provide a quality site which contains original material and valuable links to other genealogical information on the Internet in an orderly fashion. He says he has had over 1,000 hits per day since the inception of his sites in 1997. He has people from all over the world accessing his sites and since many in the US were WebTV users, he created some special sites that would be compatible with our units. I checked all the links and pages and found that WebTV'ers could access everything as well as all PC users. This is truly a group of genealogy pages for everyone to use!
Mr. D'Addezio got his love of genealogy back in grade school when he was asked to do a paper on family history. At this time his grandparents were still alive so he interviewed them on his Italian heritage and spent many hours learning about his family and creating a poster of family info and pictures. He decided to learn more about his history in 1997 and since he had been an avid user of the internet since 1995, he decided to build pages of his own that would share some of his personal history, but more importantly give others databases of information to search for their own families. He makes the comment that he has met some of the nicest people who are also searching for their family history and this is also what I have found in the 3 years I have worked on my parents families.
This collection of genealogy websites is the first that had a section created just for those of us on WebTV and it is set up to be compatible with our way of viewing the internet. WebTV Networks were founded in 1995 with the idea of bringing the Internet into people's living rooms via the television. They now say they have more than 350,000 subscribers and growing stronger each day. Illya said he was amazed when he read the limitations for WebTV and he wanted to help get users the most from the information he had to offer. These new sites feature over 40 pages of information, key articles and 25 searchable databases, online survey and links to other genealogy sites.
The main website looks good and is easy to navigate, contains some headings and banners, but not an overabundance of advertising. From this page you can access the pages that are just for WebTV users.
His section titled "Are you new to Genealogy" finds a great article for beginners, one on keeping good records and putting together a notebook to store information in, how to search courthouses and other records, demystifying the National Archives and interviewing family members
The Family Album
This site's title was a little misleading because it has nothing to do with photos. The large print on all of these websites is good for those of us with "senior citizen eyes", we like that large print so we don't have to hunt down a pair of reading glasses. My researcher, Wayne, says he did not find any new databases on genealogy but this is another place to list our surnames or get increased visibility.
Genealogy Today, Jr.
This site is the first one we have seen really directed at children and teenagers who get that family history bug a few years ahead of most of us. This was well written, easy for little ones to use and gets 2 thumbs up!
Family Tree Climbers
This is another message board like many others on the net and is another place for us to list our surnames that we are researching which leads to more visibility.
First Name Basis
This is a place to plug in your stranger than fiction first names and hope something comes up. With the common first names like "Mary" for example, this is not going to be a lot of assistance but still the idea is unique and might just be what some family needs who has an uncommon first name in an ancestor.
This collection of sites also offers more for the International researcher than other small servers. We expect the large companies like RootsWeb and Ancestry to have a lot of info for European researchers but Mr. D'Addezio has supplied us with detailed info on Italian, German, Greek and several other European nationalities. One of his better sites was devoted to researching our Middle Eastern connections. Not sure that I have seen that much Middle Eastern genealogy anyplace else on the net. Even if there is not a lot of demand for that website, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the offerings.
The next article of interest was called Serendipity which is described as genealogy with a little help from above. As a born again Catholic, this appealed to me and my sense of ties with my ancestors and their strong belief in the hereafter. Within this same area is a section on helping folks find lost relatives which is not generally thought of to appear on genealogy pages, but fits just fine on this collection.
Genealogy Today also has 3 newsletters that you can sign up to receive online. They are Genealogy News Express, Genealogy Review and Genealogy Today List. They cover difference aspects of researching and can be another valuable tool for finding your ancestors.
I hope this group of pages will encourage more of our readers to research their family history. It has been one of the best things to come into my life - finding "lost" family and distant cousins has given me a new outlook on life. There is nothing like family!