Saturday, August 23, 2008

Can't is a Four Letter Word

In my previous post, I discovered that the Zentz web site that had drawn me into genealogy - and my Norwegian roots - had ceased to exist.

Then I got to thinking.

As opposed to rearranging my prejudices.

Archives...

Somewhere, someone is archiving something everywhere. Even if the archives are incomplete. Hmm... fun and games. Or more accurately, my Fun and Games folder of bookmarks. In this handy little folder is the link to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. Fun and games indeed.

I decided to give the Wayback Machine a try. It was worth the effort, because it worked. The Wayback Machine has archives of the Zentz web site from July 12, 2001 to August 6, 2007. They have nothing for 2008. Why, I don't know. The last time I accessed the Zentz site was April 14, 2008 to check my link from the blog post of the same date. So, I'm guessing the Zentz site went down sometime between April 14, 2008 and August 22, 2008. Who knows? When it came down is not all that relevant. What is relevant is that you can still view it through the Internet Archive Wayback Machine. It's what genealogists of the future will be using to trace our footsteps.

You Can't Go Back

I recently discovered a site called AncestralSpace.com - a sort of My Space for genealogy buffs. While exploring the site and deciding whether I wanted to join or not, I flipped over to my Ancestry.com tab and started looking up other researchers who were researching Fjelds in North Dakota. In the end, I wound up looking at Selmer Fjeld, who is also in my family tree. At this point, I do not remember whose tree I was looking at on Ancestry.com, but I remember a Tina Haug in that tree...

It occurred to me that there was also a Tina married to a Selmer Fjeld in my own family tree, so I switched to look at my family tree. No Tina. I had neglected to add that bit of information to my tree, probably because it is not part of my direct line and I have been neglecting some of the more recent Fjeld family members in favor of their Old Country counterparts. My research lately has been focused on parish records and real estate records in Norway.

Time to return to the U.S. for a bit!

Then, I remembered my roots. My roots in family research, that is. The Gary Zentz tree sprung to mind. I knew Tina was in that tree. I just wanted to see if the two Tina's were the same person. So I typed my grandmother's name into the Google search engine as I had always done when looking for the Zentz tree in the past...

The only entries that popped up were my own entries for this blog and other web sites I am a member of. I typed in Gary Zentz. I typed "Ole Knudsen Fjeld." Some of the old links are there, but they no longer connect to an actual web page, so the Zentz site is gone. The link that I posted to the Zentz site in another blog entry is broken.

Elsewhere on the net, I read that the Zentz site can be found through FamilySearch.org. So I paid a visit to the LDS web site and typed in "Peter Zentz" as instructed. Nothing. It no longer exists there either. The skeleton has turned to dust, so to speak, and the ashes have been blown to the four winds.

It's the end of an era. But when did it end? I have no clue because I have been out of town and without personal Internet access for a few months. Ca ne fait rien. It matters little, for I have come so far in my own research that the information I have on the Fjeld family from Bruflat exceeds that of what Gary Zentz posted on his web site.

Still, it is a little sad. His research made my research possible.