The history ofthis website is the history of the Web. I thought it
might be interesting to some to see how far we've come.
Click on the images to see what the old pages looked like.
1997:The website was originally
established on AOL member pages. It was a simple 6
page web with a solid color background. It was created
using AOL's easy online website creator,
which had limited options. This is pretty much what
everyone's personal page looked like back then (some
color/font differences), probably because we all used
very limited tools.
My focus was originally on family
tree research, but it turns out that Baril is a very
common French-Canadian name with no connections to us,
so I ended up expanding my focus to Vladimirets.
1998 - 2001:
The website remained on AOL Member pages until we
outgrew it. This image shows how the index page
looked in 2001. The background was called "fuzzy leaf",
which I thought was appropriate for a genealogy website.
The website was created using FrontPage 95,
and my learning curve taught my kids a lot of really bad
words. It wasn't a fun program to do web
development on, but it was the only full-featured
non-commercial option at the time.
I started to really focus on content
at this point. The mailing list was established,
and the content expanded to include another chapter of
the Sefer Vladimirets, as well as its table of contents,
the yiskor list, and the map. The photo album was
stocked with images from the Sefer Vladimirets as well
as all the old photos I had in my possession. When
we had about 200 photos online and 15-20
total web pages, we exceeded
the amount of free space AOL could offer.
2001 - 2007: When we outgrew the AOL member
pages and moved the site to RootsWeb.com, I took the
opportunity to redesign the site.
Version 3 was a
cleaner, more modern look, with easier to read fonts and
a textured sidebar that was taken from an illustrated Haggadah in the 16th Century. Thanks
to a computer crash, it took almost a year to update the
site and get it uploaded. Three versions of
FrontPage have been used to create this site: FP98,
FP2000 and FP2002. Having gotten used to
it, I don't cuss at it quite as much.
Adobe Photoshop was
also used for cropping some of the images.
Although these images show the site
in late 2007, after several reorganizations, you can
clearly see that there is a lot more content. The
website took on a life of its own as other researchers
helped me with translations, immigration research and
photographs. I also made a trip to visit my mother
and my aunt to scan old photos that they had. This
filled out a lot of the 1930's-1960's photo pages.
During this time we hit some major
milestones: over 1,000 images, over 120 pages, over 100
people on the mailing list, the halfway mark for
translating the Sefer Vladimirets, and some recognition
from others on the quality of content and presentation
shown by our website.
One milestone is
of particular interest to me - as of 2003/2004, when you
did a search, we finally outranked the Vladimirets
tractor. Now, our site or associated links come up
first in the list. For decades,
the Vladimirets tractor was the best-selling Soviet-era
tractor, and it still has quite a fan club. Large
numbers of websites are devoted to it, and there are
literally tens of thousands of photographs of various
specimens across the internet. It was quite an
accomplishment to finally outrank the tractor.
2008- The site is still hosted by
Rootsweb.com, since they allow unlimited space for
genealogy websites. It seems every 5 years or so,
the website expands enough to require a redesign.
I also take the opportunity to clean up the back end,
since I don't know who will take over for me eventually.
Version 4 of this website is fully compatible with the
new web standards (Web 2.0), which should make it easier over
In addition to updating the
look in 2008, we have added
more interactivity to the site: audio & video
archives, interactive street maps of Vladimirets,
searchable web galleries, multimedia exhibits
highlighting information that would otherwise be buried
too deeply for people to find.
Programs used to create or maintain
Personal Ancestral File
-- for Family Tree database entry & GEDCOM creation.
Not fancy, but you can change the entry template and I
get tired of christian templates with christenings and
baptisms, but no B'nei Mitzvahs.
RootsMagic -- to publish the Family Tree
Microsoft Expressions Web
-- replaced FrontPage for website design and
-- web gallery program for the photo album, maps,
slideshows and some of the exhibits.
Other backend programs
were used to create or edit content, such as Adobe
Photoshop, SoundForge, DePopper, Daktek, Flash, and
Some tasks, such as digitizing
audio and video from obsolete formats was outsourced, as
was some advanced programming and graphics work.
The site is now hosted on a paid
server host, with a "mirror site" hosted at
rootsweb.com. When the photo albums were upgraded
to web galleries, rootsweb couldn't handle them.
Creation of the "Vladimirets
Landsleit Connection" through Facebook.com,
for those who are more interested in connecting with
current cousins than the past.
While not a design change, we
achieved some major milestones this year:
Completion of the yizkor book
translation into English. Addition of scanned chapters
of the yizkor book so that the entire book is preserved.
Addition of multiple family trees
to the database, so that Vladimirets descendants can
more easily connect and see how the families intertwine.
And back by popular demand are the graphic family trees,
although we cannot show the entire database in a single
tree, only descendants of a specific individual.
PAF Companion 5.2 enabled us to provide these
trees in pdf format.
We are now using The Next
Generation (TNG) genealogy software for our database, to
allow for collaborative work on the family tree.
TNG also has some new features, including a relationship
calculator, multiple view styles and the ability to
import/export sections of the tree. For security
purposes, we can also parse the tree to allow a user to
contribute or edit only their branch of the tree.
This should eliminate conflicting information, as people
argue it out amongst themselves.
We are also shifting the photo
albums to this software package, so users can upload
their own photos to the albums. As we expand use
of TNG, users will be able to upload multimedia as well.