Since mid-week last week an old genealogy friend, Rootsweb.com, has been missing in action. Ancestry.com, which hosts the website, has not stated any time estimates regarding when it expects to have Rootsweb.com back up and running.
(Let's cross our fingers that another Ancestry.com Family Tree Maker Debacle is not in the works.)
Rootsweb.com is the oldest and largest free genealogical community website. The site may be "old" but it is a long way from retirement considering all that it does for the genealogical community.
Rootsweb.com hosts many websites for genealogy and historical societies as well as personal websites in addition to many, many individual websites belonging to The USGenWeb Project. Those volunteer USGenWeb sites can contain a goldmine of information for some counties. Of course, Rootsweb also hosts many free databases as well as many user-submitted Family Trees.
The message boards at Rootsweb.com and Ancestry.com were merged together back in 2001. (Rootsweb.com was acquired in June 2000 by MyFamily.com which later became part of the Ancestry.com corporation.) Though the Rootsweb site is down, the message boards are accessible through the Ancestry.com interface. Occasionally an error or two occurs when trying to access a message board while at Ancestry.com but usually a refresh browser window solves the problem.
The message boards are also linked to various mail lists hosted by Rootsweb.com. (Not all messages on these various mail lists are on the corresponding message board so a lot of communication can only be seen by the mail list subscribers.) The last mail list digest received by this writer was back on February 24. These message boards have an RSS feed link when viewed on the Ancestry.com interface. The RSS feed does not include the corresponding mail list. (I believe.) At Rootsweb.com there is also an archive of the past messages on all of the various mail lists.
This writer is surely not the only one who has found some "oldie but goodie" messages and cousin connections as I work back further and/or wider in my tree. It would be a shame even tragedy to lose all of this information.
Ancestry has kept the vast majority of the Rootsweb.com site free as the website was originally established which is good. But it may not have done any maintenance to the website (or host servers) which is bad. Hopefully, not too bad so that Ancestry.com can and will fix the problem. Perhaps as a bit of goodwill.
See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!