film & videos

  food & wine
  italian american

  free email
  link directory

new york
events, links, forum

events, links, forum

events, links, forum

events, links, forum

san francisco
events, links, forum

los angeles
events, links, forum

about us

you can help us!
We're an all volunteer website and need your help to keep going. Here are five ways you can contribute:
1 Donate
2 Buy something
3 Submit a story
4 Volunteer
5 Advertise

get in gear!
New in the gift shop, logo wear and use items!
  PLEASE NOTE: We are experiencing unexpected technical difficulties caused by our web host. We apologize for the inconvenience. During your visit you may experience service and page interruptions - we are in the process of fixing everything and hope to be fully back on our feet soon.

internet research & genealogy scams

by Deborah K. Millemaci
(return to genealogy)

The Internet can be an invaluable resource for genealogy research, but you need to exercise caution if you come across the "Genealogy Scammer!" They are notorious for offering FREE information and before you realize it, you end up paying dearly for what you can obtain minimally on your own.

I can't tell you how many times I receive e-mail messages offering "Free trials" for obtaining information I already have. I fell "prey" to one such e-mail spammer/scammer with "Genealogy Seekers" (aka: Family Genseekers and more alias' I'm sure). I had received an "invitation" to join Genseekers for a "5-Day Free Trial" - and immediately after I signed up for it, I regretted my decision.

What disturbed me was the information they asked of me. I unwittingly provided them with a check number from my bank account. If this was a "Free trial" that would not be necessary! After signing up with them, I immediately sent them an email stating I was sorry but I found their services were not what I needed, and I wanted my free-trial membership cancelled. I sent them a total of 8 emails requesting cancellation, almost all of them were returned, with a message stating that the "User's mailbox was Full." (hmmmm...I wonder why!) I never received a reply from them. I also notified the bank of my problem, and issued a stop payment for the check, and I realized $20 is a small price to pay for the mistake I made.

Here are several websites that will give you detailed information on these genealogy spammers/scammers:

You can also obtain more information by doing an online search for "Genealogy Scams". These scams are not limited to online genealogy. There is another one that originates out of Bath, Ohio that will provide you with a "book" that supposedly details information on your family name. Information on this scam usually comes through the mail. Uhm, I fell prey to that one many years ago, and it was a total waste of money. You can read more about this at the website I have listed above. It is also important to note here that, unfortunately, there are some "professional genealogists" out there that are lacking proper credentials. For more information on this topic you can check out:

There are many genealogy mailing lists with members more than willing to help others in obtaining information. I belong to several messageboards listed through Rootsweb and they have been invaluable to me. They have websites and mailing lists for almost anywhere in the world. The important thing to remember is that there is a lot of genealogy research online and it is free! These resources are available through surname and regional mailing lists, family websites, etc.

However, it is important to remember that there are some people who feel the need to deceive the unaware, so if you come across a "genealogy service" that sounds too good to be true, it probably will cost you more money than you planned on spending, and it will not provide you with the information you are seeking.

Research a potential genealogy service thoroughly before signing up with it, as it will save you a lot of headaches later.

©Deborah K. Millemaci - May 2003
No part of this article may be reproduced in any form without written permission from the author.


© 1998-2005 by unless otherwise noted