I was curious so I clicked through to see if it was worthwhile to explore further:
Here is the home page:
I put Isaac Seaver's name in the fields and clicked on "Search Now."
A popup window appeared that said they have access to over 500 million records nationwide, and my search found "over 75" records for Isaac Seaver in the United States.
I clicked the blue "Continue" button and saw essentially the same message:
I clicked the "Continue" button and the order form popped up:
So it looks like I can enter my personal information and my credit card information, and for only one dollar ($1) they will provide a report with all of the information they found, presumably via email. You can also subscribe for a year at $18.95 per month for up to 25 monthly reports.
Most search requests with even uncommon names return "75 records."
A search for "Joseph Zxcvbadfas" returns 75 records. A Google search returns zero matches, an Ancestry.com search returns zero matches or familySearch.org search returns zero matches.
* Will I get only the first 75 records?
* Can they find my particular John Smith who died in 1675 in Massachusetts? Or is it just recent records (20th century or later)?
* Are they only "death records" from some resource? Or are there other records also?
* Why can't I input more information, like a place name or a year (or year range) in order to narrow the search?
* What resources does this web site access? The site provides no list of resources.
* How does this "automate" my genealogy search? Does it give me green leaf hints, or suggested record matches, or add facts to my RootsMagic program? No, it probably gives me a list of names and other information that I would have to manually enter into my database if they apply to my person.
The "About Us" link indicated that this is really an obituary lookup service. Does it access only free publicly available databases (like the Rootsweb Obituary Daily Times?)?
Back on the home page, there was a link for a 24/7 Live Chat link, so I engaged that and discussed the resources with "Harry" (which doesn't match the picture of the pretty woman on the chat box):
Here is the conversation I had with "Harry:"
Please wait for a site operator to respond.
OK, so I found out that Harry doesn't know what resources they have. Most genealogy websites tell you, even boast about, their resources. This site doesn't.
At least the price is relatively low for a "death record." I resisted the temptation to see what $1 would buy me to find out about Isaac Seaver.
This is a commercial web site for obituary lookups. The primary market is probably the public who are not genealogists and want to see when their friend or relative died. But it's probably not a fraud site - it will probably return 75 matches in response to a request and the payment.
In my humble opinion, other websites with more resources are available for genealogy researchers, and many of them are free to use.
The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2013/11/genealogist-beware-deathrecordsorg-is.html
Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver