August 30, 2009

Ancestry in arbitration over the Drouin Collection

According to reliable sources the Institut généalogique Drouin took The Generation Network Inc. into arbitration over the lack of full and proper indexation of the Drouin Collection previously put on-line by Ancestry.

On the 12th of August 2009, the judge named to arbitrate this case sided with Drouin, and declared that Ancestry has failed in its contractual obligation to properly and fully index the database prior to publication and since publication. The decision grants 60 (days) to Tje Generations Network to remedy the situation. Should they fail to do so, the license granted by the Institut Drouin will lapse.

The parties must still meet on September 9, 2009 to decide on the amount of damages caused by this breach of contract. Following this decision, Jean Pierre Pépin has asked that Ancestry remove the Drouin collection from internet access until such
time as it is fully and properly indexed.

The Drouin collection is not available on Ancestry.com, instead genealogists will see a notice

Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967
About Quebec Vital and Church Records (Drouin Collection), 1621-1967
UPDATE: Access to this content is currently unavailable.


For those who read French the dispute detailscan be viewed in this PDF file. You can also read blog news in French about this litigation

40 comments:

LOOKING4ANCESTORS said...

Oh, let's hope that The Generations Network gets their act together and indexes this very important resource properly. It would be a shame to lose access to this permanently on Ancestry.

Brenda said...

Were you one of the two who reported it to Eastman? Whatever ... good reporting, Lorine. It was kept so quiet till now! (... le francais, sans doute). Unfortunately this confirms our worst fears about the quality of Ancestry's products, and now the database is completely unavailable for the foreseeable future. Bad news all 'round.

avtrudeau said...

BUMMER! I use the Drouin A LOT, and this is going to be a big inconvenience for me.

AndreaD said...

I want a reimbursement for my subscription as that was a big part of why I subscribed.

Karl said...

Something tells me that Footnote's lawyers are already at work to make a proposal for the collection when Ancestry fails to meet the deadline... and believe me, they will!

Anonymous said...

Curious, that both Olive Tree and Dick Eastman carry the exact same text (beginning "On the 12th of August 2009" for two paragraphs) - with the exception of minor formatting differences and spelling errors.

How is that that two supposedly reputable reporting entities have a) one plagarized the other or b) both plagarized someone else, and more importantly, c) neither disclosed their original source?

Shame, shame, shame.

Anonymous said...

do you suppose they might accept volunteer help to index (maybe give us some free time at ancesstry?) if we all pitch in to help get the indexing done so we can keep access to this very important collection?

Genealogy Blogger said...

Dear Anonymous - You can see by the time stamp on my blog post that I published the story at 7:08 am (Pacific Time). This makes it 11:08 am my time (Eastern).

Dick Eastman's blog post does not have a time stamp. Mr. Eastman's first comment on his post is time stamped 2:07 pm, mine is 11:05 am

Does this prove anything? Absolutely nothing!

If Mr Eastman's post were time stamped we would at least know who posted first BUT that DOES NOT MEAN the second plagarized the first!

Let me assure you --- I did not plagarize from Mr Eastman and I do not believe he plagarized from me. Neither of us has any need to plagarize from anyone, let alone from each other!

In this Internet world of rapid communication, I added the link to my blog post on Facebook immediately after I wrote and published the blog post.

I have hundreds of friends on Facebook. Many saw that link. Many sent it on to their friends.

Perhaps Mr. Eastman's contact saw my Facebook link or read my blog post and gave him the information (without saying where it came from!)

Perhaps Mr. Eastman and I share a contact and received the same information and perhaps we published around the same time.

Perhaps we have two different contacts who happened to get the information from the same person.

I don't know. And I don't care.

IT IS NO BIG DEAL!

That is what reporting is all about. Hear the news and report on it.

Why did I not name my source? It was not necessary, nor was it important to the content of the story. I went to the Drouin Institute and read their information to verify that what I had learned was true. It was. And so I published the story.

I think I was the first English speaking blogger to post about it, but I cannot be 100% certain. I do recall being rather pleased and thinking that for once I had the jump on other bloggers! :-)

It's difficult to be the first to talk about any breaking news in our genealogy world as there are so many of us with our ears to the ground and with contacts who gives us a heads up if there is anything new happening.

Not being first to report on something does not make the story any less important. We all talk about the same things, hopefully with our own twist on the topic. But sometimes we just report the news (remember Dragnet and Joe Friday's "Just the facts ma'am"?)

michelle said...

We need to get the Drouin Collection back on line. I have emailed Mr Pepin at Drouin to express my displeasure. I will do the same to Ancestry tomorrow. I think we should all start applying the pressure to both sides. Really we should get our money back from Ancestry.

Ancestry could get a more complete index up if they for instance got rights to the database at bms2000.org which contains more complete indexing BUT, no images.

Nessa Reifsnyder said...

I can't believe the Drouin records are gone. I'm in shock, truly. I haven't read enough of the supporting documents to understand why this dispute has arisen...but I can assure you that either with or without indexing (I've used it both ways), the Ancestry publication of all those church records enabled phenomenal research successes for me. Losing these records would be devastating!

Anonymous said...

Even unindexed the Drouin Collection is an invaluable resource that I have used extensively in my family research. I hope this issue gets resolved quickly. Otherwise I need to find another source for this collection.

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons that I signed up for worldwide access on Ancestry was the Drouin Collection. It does not surprise me that Ancestry's indexing is being called into question. The indexing is really poor and seems to be done by complete morons. In particular, refer to the indexing of the census records. Unless you know who you are looking for, forget their indexing. You either get nothing or everyone in the state.

Anonymous said...

This is TERRIBLE.... The only decent collection on Ancestry.ca is the Drouin collection. Without it, the Canadian site SUCKS.........A few vital records from Ontario and that's it??? Do they really expect people to pay for that... not me!!
What are they thinking??

Sterling, Massachusetts said...

Even with poor indexing WHY force the take down? Both sides can go screw, as far as I'm concerned. Work out your stupid problems but leave the materials up! Typical dumb judge, too.

Anonymous said...

I am also in a state of shock about the loss of the Drouin Collection. As all my ancestors (and also my husband's) are from Quebec, these records are priceless in my research. Probably 75% of my work is done with the Drouin records and, at this point, I don't really much care about the indexing. Just please, please settle your differences and get the records back up for those of us who are really serious about our history!

Anonymous said...

Whether ancestry did a poor job of indexing or not at least I found the information. And I found a LOT of good information about mey relatives. Records that I had never seen before. I don't see why they couldn't keep it on ancestry. It certainly was a great, great help to me just the way it was. I could just cry. I didn't print out the originals. I would have printed them out If they would have let us know. Instead, in the middle of the night they took all those records away. Saying they were upgrading or something like that. Why didn't they tell us...we are going to be deleting all your information from the Drouin Collection and if you want copies make them before we "upgrade." Is there something "political" about this? Is there some other site, that wants this Drouin Collection for themselves. I think if Ancestry.com wants to keep customers, they should get the Drouin Collection back online as fast as possible. It is important to have even if they have not done in perfectly. Lawyers, Judges, what a bunch of Morons. Just people making trouble and trying to collect a lot of money.Like they used to say "somethings rotten."

Anonymous said...

As with other people, the main reason for my having an Ancestry worldwide subscription was the Drouin. I am British, but my family on my father's side was Canadian - tracing back to the original settlers and then back to France.
Loss of this database is a major setback to my research. Especially annoying is the fact that nobody at Ancestry has seen fit to announce the problems with access to Drouin, or attempt to keep subscribers informed as to when, or if, it will be restored

Anonymous said...

Having the Quebec Vital and Church Records available, even "poorly indexed," is 100 times better than having them without indexing or waiting for them to be properly indexed. Regardless of the quality of the indexing, I have found all of the records that I wished for. If ancestry waited to properly index these records before making them available, I can imagine that we wouldn't see them for several years.

Anonymous said...

I hesitate to admit this but I have NEVER used an Index--in fact till this came up I didn't even know of them. I simply looked at the last pages of Parish Records for applicable names. And I found MANY. If the Drouin remains offline, my subscription, too will be downgraded or cancelled.

David Germain said...

The Quebec records helped me discover over 200 years of my family history, from before 1675 through 1892. And that was just from a quick (but careful) cruise through the records. I still have a lot of blank spaces to fill in and, without access to these records, they will remain blank. Let us hope this gets settled quickly so we can get on with what we all wish to do. I'm even brushing up on my high school French in order to help understand what I'm reading.
Bon chance.

Anonymous said...

It's one thing to remove it from future searches, but Ancestry STRIPPED my tree of all my references, links, etc to the Drouin Collection, including birth records, marriage, etc. They are all GONE. It's not the same as not being able to do more research - this is everything I have done being removed so that I have to do all this research over again. I am so distressed over loosing information that I saved to my tree.

Anonymous said...

What a pity! I guess now I know why several weeks ago I was "inspired" to spend the entire day searching my granddaughter's Quebec roots and to make copies! It is totally worth the day's wages I gave up (I'm self-employed). I have also used the Acadian version of records a great deal.

Genealogy Blogger said...

Dear Anonymous - Yes it is distressing BUT Ancestry did NOT STRIP YOUR TREE. They pulled the database as ordered by the court.

Anyone working in the Family Tree was creating a LINK to the online image(s). They were NOT saving the actual image to their tree. Thus when the database was ordered removed, any links leading to it were no longer going to the image.

Anonymous said...

I want a reimbursement for my subscription as that was a big part of why I subscribed.

Anonymous said...

To meet the requirements set by the Drouin Institute would require that Ancestry.com set up a special set of extra search fields for use only when working with that data base. Handling the accented characters used in French might also be a problem. Not having the database available on Ancestry.com is a real loss. Searching using the Drouin Institue web site is prohibitively expensive for the non professional genealogist.

Anonymous said...

Great to understand that now isn't it? Now that the images are no longer available, we all have to start over. Unless you actually keyed in things like the parish and godparents names, we will never be able to get that again without starting over. you may not call it stripping my tree, but if I no longer can view the document that I saved to my tree, I call it stripping. Ancestry should have given us warning and then I would have saved at least my directline documents. As it is, I have nothing. Lesson learned? You betcha. Can I get those documents back? Not a chance unless Ancestry and Drouin come to an agreement. That is all I can hope for without loosing a year of research. I thought it was safer than worrying about my computer crashing.....live n learn.

Anonymous said...

The index, even incomplete, was invaluable. Once you could connect family with a place, you can look at the parish and run from there. But if you don't know the origins, and it occurred prior to the census data, it is a shot in the dark.
Ancestry should have at least warned us, the judge given a grace period....but even then, there would be so many searching at the same time to download, the servers may not have been able to handle it.

I saved a lot to my shoebox that no longer link to anything. But they do give the year and place for the most part, so off to the LABS at Family Search to find at least the Catholic Parish records. Non-Catholic searchers are really going to have problems....as well as those in Ontario and the records for some in the US.

Anonymous said...

This whole situation with Ancestry/Drouin is very unfortunate. Until they come up to an agreement, I am using a site with a lot of data (no images) on Quebec marriages... may be of help to some of you. www.yourfolks.com

Anonymous said...

As someone referred to previously, The Drouin Collection for Quebec is available without an index at the FamilySearch pilot site at no charge to the user.

Anonymous said...

The source and citation SHOULD have remained in our Ancestry database. Instead, the link and the source and citation were indeed STRIPPED from my research. Contrary to the original story above, there is NO notice. I will not trust Ancestry fully ever again. I ordered software to go back to saving my research myself. I am unhappy, and I want a refund as well. AND I am rightfully pissed at the judge and Mr P.

Anonymous said...

As a french canadian born and raised in Ontario, i am really disappointed in this
loss.All of my ancestors from between 1600 and 1900 came from Quebec and from France before that.I have a ton of research left to do, but now my main source of information is gone.Why did i pay you for this site anyway?

Genealogy Blogger said...

To Anonymous: You asked "Why did i pay you for this site anyway?"

You didn't pay ME for anything. I think you are confused. The Drouin records were on Ancestry, not my site.

Anonymous said...

Very simple. Due to the tremendous interest in these records, the Institute (in hindsight) recognized that their "selling price" to Ancestry was too low and they looked for a loophole to get out of the contract. It looks like they found one.

Perhaps the Newfoundlanders who sold electricity to Quebec at bargain basement prices in 1968 will now attempt to have their case heard before the same judge.

Ancestry has the resources - why did they not choose to appeal?

Charles

Anonymous said...

Shame on Ancestry.ca all my family seach is out of Quebec. Maybe I will ask for a refund on my account.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Douin Institute should put up it's own search site. I would pay for it.

Josh Jenkins said...

I don't think the family search pilot is offered anymore now either! So pissed I want a credit from Ancestry.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that the dispute between Drouin and TGN has been resolved and the Quebec vital records will be available on Ancestry.com on Monday, September 20.

Anonymous said...

It's BACK.... It's BACK.... The Drouin Collection is back up on Ancestry.ca . I guess they must have negotiated their dispute and the good news is the collection is available as of Monday, Sept. 21st!!! Happy searching everyone.

Anonymous said...

The Drouin Collection, which is, after all, a set of PUBLIC records, should be in the PUBLIC domain, NOT in the hands of the "you've got to pay to see this" corporation Generation Network/Ancestry.com. There is no reason why anyone in the world should have to pay to see entries in this collection, indexed correctly or not. Generation Network/Ancestry.com is determined to buy up every genealogical source it possibly can, and make these PUBLIC records available only to those willing to pay their outrageous and illegal fees. There's absolutely NO reason we should lose access to ANYTHING because of Generation Network/Ancestry.com, but we already have.

Genealogy Blogger said...

Dear Anonymous - The Drouin Collection is available on microfilm and is for sale by the Drouin Institute (http://institutdrouin.com/mfilms/)

Since you are annoyed with Ancestry.com for making viewers pay for a subscription to USE THEIR INDEX to see the records, you should also be annoyed with the Drouin Institute.

I think it is important to remember that Ancestry is not PREVENTING anyone from seeing these records. Ancestry simply made an agreement with the Institute to be allowed to INDEX them, and then display the images on their website. This costs money - big money. So it's quite fair for Ancestry to make the records part of their paid database subscriptions.

But Ancestry doesn't have a hold on the records, it is the Drouin Institute who controls whether they are public or not.

I'll pay for the convenience of having the records at my fingertips and indexed - any day!