Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Do you ever use Wikipedia for your Hertfordshire Research?

If you visit Genealogy in Hertfordshire regularly you will know that I frequently include links to the Wikipedia web site - and if you use Wikipedia you may have found some of the 200+ links from Wikipedia to my site.. 

I started the Genealogy in Hertfordshire web site at about the same time that Jimmy Wales founded Wikipedia and originally Wikipedia contained very little about Hertfordshire - but with teams of enthusiastic helpers it now contains an enormous amount of information about Hertfordshire towns and villages as they are in the 21st century - and also much valuable historical information. However there is a problem, as the following message from Jimmy Wales indicated.

To all our readers in the UK,
We will get straight to the point: Today we ask you to help Wikipedia. To maintain our independence, we will never run ads. We depend on donations averaging about £10. Only a tiny portion of our readers give. If everyone reading this gave £2, we could keep Wikipedia thriving for years to come. The price of a coffee is all we need. When I made Wikipedia a non-profit, people warned me I’d regret it. Over a decade later, it’s the only top ten site run by a non-profit and a community of volunteers. Has it crossed my mind how much we could have made if it had ads? Sure. But it wouldn’t be the same. We wouldn’t be able to trust it. Most people ignore my messages. But I hope you’ll think about how useful it is to have unlimited access to reliable, neutral information. Please help keep Wikipedia online and growing. Thank you. — Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia Founder

I know exactly how Jimmy is feeling - as Genealogy in Hertfordshire has always been a non-profit site, with no adverts, and it also asks people who find the site useful to make donations.

The big difference is that the donations to Wikipedia are to pay the expenses of running what is a very large web site used millions of times a day, and it needs money to keep the site going. Donations to Genealogy in Hertfordshire all go to a Hertfordshire Mental Heath project in memory of my daughjters Lucy and Belinda. The basic computer costs of running the site are independently covered because it is one of a number of community projects run by HertsWeb while the costs of building the reference library of books, post cards, CDs, subscriptions, etc. used for answering questions, etc., all come out of my personal pension.

Donate to Wikipedia
Support the Mentally Ill in Hertfordshire
The big similarity is both sites have large numbers of visitors who greatly value the information they contain and expect the sites to continue for free for ever. May I suggest that if you have never made a donation to support Wikipedia, or to support Genealogy in Hertfordshire's nominated charity, now is the time to do it.    

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This is the newsletter for the Genealogy in Hertfordshire Web site. Comments on this blog are moderated and may be transferred to the web site where appropriate. If you have a local or family history query you want answered you must use "Ask Chris" - See box in right hand column. Anonymous comments cannot be answered.