After 18 years, the Irish Times/Irish Ancestors sub-site is winding down and transferring here, johngrenham.com.
From this morning, the Times is no longer accepting payment for any reports, instead offering a link that will take the user here, to a free version of each report. From next week, some of the legacy services will be redirected, telling users (and Google) that the service has moved permanently. A week-by-week process will increase the number of services redirected until May 23rd, when the Irish Times sub-site will cease to operate.
All the services on this site will remain free until May 11th, after which a soft pay-wall will ask for a small monthly subscription after five free daily page-views. All users who have paid for Irish Times/Irish Ancestors reports will continue to have full free access here.
Obviously, I have mixed feelings about the change. From the very outset in 1998, it was clear that a genealogy sub-site was out of place on a newspaper website, especially a genealogy sub-site not fully owned by the newspaper. I always thought of the relationship as symbiotic: I was the little bird that picked the crocodile’s teeth.
Ironically, it’s the success of the internet itself that has finally produced this parting of the ways. While the Times website was the Cinderella of the organisation, hard-working but neglected, my sub-site was welcome. But as the online side came front and centre, the Ancestors bit fell behind, increasingly clunky and out-of-date.
By last year, it was clear that there were only two options. Either the sub-site got serious attention, with redevelopment and some marketing muscle, or it had to go.
In the end, it’s entirely understandable that, if the choice was between using scarce resources for online journalism or for redeveloping a genealogy sub-site, there could only be one result.
The crocodile got dentures.