The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

AOL’s Horrible Move – and the Loss of Leominster’s Best Genealogy Site

I have never liked AOL. I was a CompuServe person back in the day, so that’s me admitting my bias. However, they just screwed with everyone who was hosting a website on AOL but just shutting the damned service down on October 31st without any notice, or any way for the users to grab their files. This is the problem with creating a website and hosting it on a service where you don’t have control over the files in any way shape or form. (Disclosure: I use Blogger software for this website, but I host it on my own server space, and I have full access/ownership of all the files.)

There was a site hosted on AOL’s service (I think they called it “Hometown”) that was an unbelievable resource to Leominster, Leominster residents, descendants of Leominster residents, and anyone interested in genealogy. The site was Sue Gardner’s Genealogy Garden. Sue documented Leominster’s history, the people who lived here, and details about those families for years on that site. It was an invaluable resource. Sadly, Sue died several years ago, but the site was still alive, and people used it for researching their families, keeping Sue’s work and spirit alive. And now, AOL just shut the whole thing off, and there appears to be no way to get that work salvaged to be stored elsewhere. If I had known, I would have offered to help Sue’s family pull the content and I would have been happy to host it here on the Big DumpTruck. In fact, if they have a backup, or a way to access it, and they need a new home for it, I would be happy to not only host it here, but to pay for a domain name to point to it.

I don’t know who in her family would have the stuff, or if anyone ever goes out on the web looking up Leominster genealogy, but I will put the offer out there, as I’m personally very sad that all the information about my own family is now lost because AOL is run by a bunch of snot-nosed buttheads.

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  1. Dave Goudsward

     /  December 24, 2008

    Here’s an archive of the site

    http://snipurl.com/92qge

    You should be able to grab chunks of it for offsite storag.

  2. Melissa

     /  December 24, 2008

    Have you tried http://www.archive.org? aka as the Internet Wayback Machine. I bet you can find most of the info here!

  3. Jody

     /  December 24, 2008

    Thanks guys. I am trying to grab as much as I can. I will grab it and find out if her family wants me to make it available on my site. Of course, if there’s another genealogy site around here that wants it, that’s great too.

  4. Anonymous

     /  December 29, 2008

    I hate AOL as well, even though I use it. The reason I use it is not because I don’t think the software is crap, that the whole system is pretty much a virus on your computer, that it screws up everything ON your computer, and yes, they screw people over constantly – but because there are features – and other aol members – that I can’t live without, nor can I access in the same way, without being on AOL. I hate it that I need it…can’ you sue them or something? Cause some kind of uproar and get some kind of compensation for your and many others’ loss due to their incompetence? Large corporations of any kind, seem to always win when these situations arise – it sucks. I am so sorry for your loss, I really am. I know exactly how you feel – many of us have been completely screwed over, and lost out big time, to a larger, meaner, but much more stupid business.