Here is the home page (two screens):
Under the search box, it says:
"Learn more about the people associated with any Genealogy Records. When available, our reports include: Genealogy Records; Photos; Search ancestors; Family History; Family Tree; Birth/Death Records;Military Records; Family Genealogy; Adoption Records; Obituaries."
There's a nice green button that says "Find People Anytime." Does "anytime" mean any historical person, or now, and another time, and later again?
At the bottom of the page, it says: "Search Any Name to Get Full Results." Really? Full results?? No one gets "full results" searching one website, do they?
So what is this website? Is it a site that will find actual genealogical records for a real person - living or dead? Or is it a "find living people" site? It costs $1 to find out.
I entered the name Isaac Seaver and the state Massachusetts into the search box, and the site found 75 Records (it said...). I saw this page:
There are eight databases listed there that were, apparently, "searched":
* Background Database
* Public Records Database
* Phone Numbers Database
* Associates Database
* State Records Database
* Nationwide Databases
* State Criminal Records Database
* Criminal Records Database
These lines showed on the screen above for a few seconds, and then it quickly showed me this screen:
So for one dollar I can get all of my genealogy problems solved by this website? That seems like a bargain. Clicking on the "Show Me My Report" button leads to the payment page where they will charge your credit card $1.00 for their service. There is a customer support phone number (1-866-434-4253) and the statement:
"If for whatever reason your unhappy with your report please contact customer support for a refund."
There are images of a "Sample Report" on the website. It wasn't possible for me to magnify those images (you can't save them...) to see what they say. I think that a "good" genealogy website would encourage you to look at them and provide a way to do so.
Then I realized that the search engine didn't bother with things like birth date, death date, spouse's names, and the like. How did it ever figure out which Isaac Seaver for whom I was looking for information?
I went to Ancestry.com and did an "exact match" on the name Isaac Seaver. There are 508 exact matches in the records available on Ancestry.com:
So perhaps Genealogy.us.org doesn't search and find all records? It found 75, and Ancestry found 507. And only some of those are for my Isaac Seaver (1823-1901). What are the odds that Genealogy.us.org found ANY records for my Isaac Seaver (1823-1901)? My guess is SLIM or NONE. And I'm not willing to bet even $1 to find out.
Maybe I'm wrong, but this Genealogy.us.org site looks like a "living person records" site that finds phone numbers, addresses, family members, court records, criminal records, etc. Sites like that have value if that is what a researcher wants.
My conclusion is "Genealogist Beware!!" Before I pay for anything on this site, I want to know what records it searches, what the report looks like in some detail, and how is it a "genealogy" search engine? Does it really find birth and death records, military records, etc. for historical persons, or just for living people? How does it discern one Isaac Seaver from another in Massachusetts? Is it just a living person finder? I want to know a LOT MORE about this service before it gets my hard earned dollar (and has my credit card number)!
The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/01/genealogist-beware-checking-out.html
Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver
UPDATED 7 p.m.: Thomas Macentee commented:
It is very important to read the Terms and Conditions on genealogy.us.org including this paragraph:
"You will receive your report for $1.00. Our customer service phone is 1- 866- 434- 4253. If for whatever reason your unhappy with your report please contact customer support for a refund.
"After you purchase your report for $1.00, you have the option to purchase our volume discount package for $199.50 details below:
"Services, we offer twelve months of twenty five reports a month for one year to search from millions of records around the United States. By ordering today you are agreeing to the total cost incurred from the payment plan by accepting all ten payments outlined below, and we agree to deliver all services pursuant to these terms. Refund policy, if you are unsatisfied with your order you may cancel your payments and receive a refund on your latest month's charge. Call: 1- 866- 434- 4253. Billing Information: This offer does not automatically renew. $199.50 billed over ten equal monthly payments starting today and prices are subject to change. In addition to our refund policy we also offer a search credit for any unsuccessful search. View a map of participating states click here. You may search for Genealogy Record reports for millions of records around the united states. This offer does not automatically renew. $199.50 billed over ten equal monthly payments starting today . We offer twelve months of twenty five reports a month for one year to search from millions of records around the United States."
I am genea-smacked. We have to get used to reading the Terms and Conditions on these companies that are trying to "help" us with our research.
Check out the Privacy policies too - http://www.genealogy.us.org/privacy.php. I'm glad that I didn't register!
My thanks to Thomas for digging this up for us.
UPDATED 15 January, 10 a.m.: I knew that I had read some posts about this site - and Christine Blythe has been a lone voice in the wilderness until now - see her summary post