Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Footnote just got a lot more interesting

I received the email announcement about Footnote's presentation at the TechCrunch 50 conference in San Francisco in email awhile ago. I don't often print a full press release (mainly because someone else beats me to it!) but I haven't seen this posted yet (I know, others probably are posting it as I peck away here). It reads:

-------------------- Takes Social Networking into the Past launches Footnote Pages at TechCrunch50

San Francisco -- September 10, 2008 Losing a loved one can result in a range of emotions, from the grief and sorrow to comfort, which often comes from reminiscing stories and memories with family and friends. The challenge arises when there is no single place where all of these stories can easily come together to be shared, enriched and preserved.

Now at, anyone can find or create Footnote Pages where users connect and share stories, photos, and information about the people important to them.

To kick-off the new Footnote Pages, today released over 80 million of these pages created from data from the Social Security Death Index. Most visitors will find existing pages about several deceased friends and family members already on the site. was selected from over 1,000 applicants to launch Footnote Pages at this year’s TechCrunch50 held in San Francisco. Russ Wilding, CEO of Footnote, demonstrated Footnote Pages to an audience of over 1,500 investors, bloggers, and major media outlets.

“We encourage people to upload their personal shoeboxes of photos and documents to,” explains Wilding. “Now with Footnote Pages, friends and family can come together to share stories and memories about the people they care about.”

Described as Facebook for the Deceased, these pages feature a photo gallery, an interactive timeline and map, and other tools that bring people together to create a more colorful and rich picture of the past. “Social networking is not only for the younger generations any more,” explains Wilding. “We are seeing Baby Boomers contribute and connect online in increasing numbers. Footnote Pages are an easy way for this audience to interact with each other and learn things they would not otherwise know about deceased friends and family.”

Beyond profiling people, Footnote pages can also be used to document and discuss historical events or places including: the Vietnam War, the Assassination of JFK and the Lincoln-Douglas Debates.

Unlike other social networking sites, provides content that enables users to tell and share stories from the past. Through its partnership with the National Archives, has digitized over 43 million documents including historical newspapers, military records, photos and more. adds about 2 million new records to the site every month.

Visit to learn more about Footnote Pages and get a new perspective on the lives of your own friends and family who have passed away.
About is a history website where real history might just surprise you. features millions of searchable original documents, providing users with an unaltered view of the events, places and people that shaped the American nation and the world. At, all are invited to come share, discuss, and collaborate on their discoveries with friends, family, and colleagues. For more information, visit

About TechCrunch50

Founded in 2007 by leading technology blog TechCrunch and entrepreneur Jason Calacanis, the TechCrunch50 conference provides a platform for early-stage, and frequently unfunded, companies to launch for the first time to the technology industry’s most influential venture capitalists, corporations, angel investors, fellow entrepreneurs, and the international media. Companies are selected to participate exclusively on merit. TechCrunch50 is supported by corporate sponsors Google, Microsoft, MySpace, and Yahoo!, as well as venture capital firms including Sequoia Capital <>, Mayfield Fund <>, Clearstone Venture Partners <>, Charles River Ventures <>, Founders Fund and Fenwick & West <>.### Contact:
Justin Schroepfer
Marketing Director
(801) 494-6517

PR Contact:
Jeremy Kartchner
Snapp Conner PR for
(801) 994-9625

This press release has left me genea-smacked for awhile here. I think I understand what they have done and will do, and it sounds exciting to me. Being able to add stories and photos to persons in the Social Security Death Index sounds like a pretty good thing to be able to do. It's social networking and it's genealogy.

What is in the future? My crystal ball is cloudy. If I were doing this, I would invite users (everyone?) to add families for each of their persons in the SSDI. The parents, grandparents, etc., and their children, plus stories and photos. I wonder how much bandwidth that Footnote has? Of course, you are talking about a great number of persons if you go back just two or three generations, but such an undertaking would be a great web-linked family tree, wouldn't it? You would still have the problem of linking different data for the same person together somehow. But if you can just get the "linked family tree" back to about 1850 time frame, it would provide an excellent starting point to go back further.

My compliments to Footnote for their foresight and vision. I think that this may be one of the top genealogy events of 2008.

1 comment:

Xfaith said...

I got this email to, and took it for a test drive. I made some posts over on mine, can you link after the fact to someone else's posts?