Savoir fair — BIFHSGO launches new website

At its virtual monthly meeting yesterday, the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) officially unveiled its new website that replaces the one they’d had for more than 10 years.

When BIFHSGO learned last December that the small Florida-based company, EasyNetSites, which had helped more than 160 genealogy societies create a new website, would likely stop operating at the end of June 2021, unless someone took over, they moved quickly to issue an RFP for a new website.

For a few years, BIFHSGO’s board had talked off and on about replacing the old site, but the directors knew doing so would require a tremendous amount of work and cost a significant chunk of change.

The closure of EasyNetSites also threatened to play havoc with BIFHSGO’s plans to promote its annual conference schedule (September 19-26, 2021) and registration.

By the time the news came out that a software development and web-hosting company had purchased EasyNetSites, BIFHSGO had already decided to move ahead with a new design and was receiving bids from website designers.

New design
In May, Mediashaker, an Edmonton, Alberta-based company that had created the website for the Alberta Genealogical Society, received the contract.

The months of long hours, hard work, and nail-biting by BIFHSGO’s web team, along with their selection of Mediashaker, paid off.

The new website is clean, professional-looking, and easy to navigate. Gone is the vertical format, replaced by a more modern layout in a landscape view.

The goal was to build a new website around what BIFGSO does:

  • Gives presentations, workshops, and conferences — Events
  • Collects and researches information presented in online databases — Name Index
  • Shares resources, such as guides and online links, with members and non-members — Resources

Expanded name search
With the new site, BIFHSGO has made it possible in the Name Index to search family names in all the databases at once.

With the old site, you had to search each database separately. For example, researchers, unaware that a distant relative had been a British Home Child, WWI soldier who died at No. 1 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station, or a member of the Rideau Canal Soldiers, may not have bothered checking these databases. Now, the website does the work for you.

Improved features
The News section has been expanded to include other family history organizations’ events, generally those that would interest members.

The Links to Online Resources has also been updated and includes passenger and immigration lists, military records, maps, and Ottawa and Toronto resources.

The next step for BIFHSGO is to create a new logo.

Kudos to BIFHSGO and its website team. The long hours of work day after day, month after month, paid off.

Savoir faire is an occasional feature about genealogists and genealogical societies and organizations that are doing good things. To read about other creative and inspirational ideas, click on the ‘Savoir faire’ category in the right margin.

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