Thursday, May 10, 2007

Using Personal Accounts at Family History Centers (FHCs)

I have a little more information since my last post. I made the trip to the local family history center (FHC) in my area. I typed www.ancestry.com into a browser and was automatically taken to www.ancestryinstitution.com. I assume there were cookies from a previous login using the FHC's account, which allowed Ancestry to take this action.

I clicked on the advertisement on the right-hand side of the page and was taken to www.ancestry.com which displayed the normal login boxes in the upper-right corner. I logged in using my own account and all looked right with the world. But I began to get nervous when I noticed the usual FHC Edition message at the bottom of the page. You know the one I mean? The one that contains the link to the list of titles that are included in the Ancestry FHC Edition. I guess I've never stopped to read the rest of the contents, so I can't tell you what else it contains.

You may recall my post regarding the dangers of the "weird hybrid" environment that resulted from use of an unauthorized deep link at the Family History Library (FHL). I started to worry that such might still be the case. I immediately tried accessing some of the censuses not included in the Ancestry FHC Edition. I found they worked! I started work on my tree and tree access seemed normal also.

It wasn't until I tried to access English BMD records that I found problems. I was not able to access the BMD Death Index without getting a message that I needed to buy a World Deluxe subscription (which I already have) or registering for a username/password (which of course I have since I have a subscription). It wasn't until I logged into www.ancestry.co.uk that I could access the database.

I tried logging out, which seemed to work fine. I tried logging in a second time and found that neither the username nor password fields auto-remembered me. Looks like a pretty tight solution to me, other than the 2 problems noted.

I talked to the staff who didn't seem to know anything about the change. Hopefully Ancestry will inform them that they need to reset links, bookmarks and favorites to go to www.ancestryinstitution.com rather than www.ancestry.com. Otherwise FHC people will have to log in to www.ancestry.com every time a user wishes to use the FHC account.

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