Monday, May 24, 2010

Bought Any Genealogical "Snake Oil" Lately?

In a recent article in The Huffington Post "Congratulations, Mom -- Here's Your Graduation Present" Chris Rodda wrote an expose of a scheme aimed at novice genealogists. Megan Smolenyak pointed out the article from her Facebook page a couple of days ago. This kind of scheme has been around for decades in one form or another but the Internet allows it to be taken to whole new levels. The claim is that you can purchase a family coat of arms and a family history and "operators are standing by."

Michael Walshe, the spokesperson for Historical Research Center website, claims he was the one who brought us Ginsu knives and many other "as seen on TV" trinkets. Dick Eastman, in today's edition of his Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter reveals more about Walshe. Well he reveals more questions at least. Included in these questions about Walshe's claims about the money he made on his previous ventures. Eastman, also discloses that Walshe now has an even better deal--at least for himself. "For only 5,000 British pounds or so (roughly $7,500 US dollars), Walshe will set you up with your own branch of the Historical Research Center." Think of it. You also can rip off aspiring family historians at the same time you are making Walshe richer. What could be more disgusting! Hang on to your wallets and especially your credit cards.

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