Every genealogist has experienced the frustration of clicking on a web link and discovering that the page is gone or the genealogy website is now defunct. Things change rapidly as technology evolves, and it’s nearly impossible for website owners to keep years of pages up to date at all times. Therefore, broken links and defunct websites is a problem that isn’t going away any time soon. Genealogy Gems listeners often ask what to do about broken or defunct links in the show notes of older episodes of The Genealogy Gems Podcast, and I’ve got answers for you! Read on to learn how to overcome defunct website links.
Defunct Genealogy Websites and Broken Links
I received this email from a listener of the free Genealogy Gems Podcast, and it’s one I’ve received from lots of listeners and genealogists alike: “As one of your podcast listeners who is working my way through past episodes, I am running into a bit of frustration that I am wondering if you, on someone else reading this, can help me on.
I have tried to get to a couple of websites that guests of yours mentioned, with no success. 2010, where I am at, may not be all that long ago for many, but it is an eon in internet terms. Are you…aware of any person or site tracking genealogy related websites and that records/posts notations of name changes, buy-outs by other service providers, or just plain disappearances? You might have mentioned some in the interim, but I’m still a hundred episodes in arrears.“
How to Find Information When a Genealogy Website has Disappeared
1. The Wayback Machine Can Find Defunct Sites
2. Use Google as Your Private Investigator to Find Out What Happened
- When did world vital records close?
- Sunset notice for World Vital Records
- Who acquired World Vital Records?
3. Google the Information Itself
Obvious but not always obvious
Genealogy Gems Show Notes
About the Author: Lisa Louise Cooke
Lisa is the Producer and Host of the Genealogy Gems Podcast, an online genealogy audio show and app. She is the author of the books The Genealogist’s Google Toolbox, Mobile Genealogy, How to Find Your Family History in Newspapers, and the Google Earth for Genealogy video series, an international keynote speaker, and producer of the Family Tree Magazine Podcast.