Rootsweb is a network of individuals focused on family research. The website is designed to help users find and aid one another in genealogy research. The homepage contains a wide range of resources to assist the user. Two searches are available, one for Rootsweb.com specifically and the other for Ancestry.com. New researchers can learn more about the research process by reading helpful articles and tutorials that explain how to trace family bloodlines and where to find specific types of information. Rootsweb also lists search engines and genealogy databases as well as current volunteer projects that let users get more involved. The site also provides users with access to genealogy message boards, mailing lists and other resources.
Rootsweb was created to provide genealogy researchers with a way to join others who are performing similar research. The application ties together numerous online resources through one list of links. While Rootsweb can be helpful, seasoned researchers found that the application was lacking. Rootsweb, which is a part of the Ancestry.com community, is little more than a basic search tool and link list that guides users to bigger, better research tools.
Rootsweb isn’t a full-fledged genealogy research tool. Users coming to find documents, family tree building tools and other similar resources will be disappointed. The application is really a jumping point for users to find other online resources. New researchers may appreciate the links and information available but others may find that Rootsweb isn’t as convenient or helpful as other genealogy websites and databases.
Rootsweb is a part of Ancestry.com, so naturally the site has adopted elements of Ancestry’s website design. The application features a list of basic links in two columns on the homepage. Handfuls of elegantly stylized leaves in gentle green hues create a warm, friendly atmosphere. The link list is organized, with bold headers for easier navigation. Some banner advertisements are present but are kept tucked out of the way.
New users can begin searching without signing up for a Rootsweb account. Users who want to become a part of the community can click the small “Sign In” link in the upper, right hand corner of the homepage. A blue “Register” button is found along the right side of the next page. The form on the next page asks for the user’s first and last name and email address. The second step asks for a username, password, country and zip code. The last step asks for any email addresses associated with Rootsweb services. If the user has any, they can link their account. The user must also perform an email verification to finalize registration.
Anyone can sign up for a Rootsweb account for free. There are no subscription fees and the user doesn’t have to make any purchases or subscribe to any specific services. The application works with other services within the community, which may come with a fee. The user does not have to subscribe, but may find that Rootsweb is rather limited in the documents and information it can access.
Rootsweb is ideal for anyone who uses one or more services within its network. These services include WorldConnect Trees, RootLink entries, Post-ems,, calendars, mailing lists and other websites. The application is intended to help users connect across networks and manage research more efficiently. A new researcher may be better off starting with a solid genealogy website that doesn’t rely so heavily on the user’s established network.