Earlier today, after I said the words, “what the heck else can go wrong,” apparently the Universe took that as a challenge.
I opened the mail and inside was a bankruptcy notification that F&W Media had filed bankruptcy. While you probably won’t recognize that name, you will recognize Family Tree Magazine and Family Tree University with their online classes, conferences and huge, huge bookstore. Here’s the link, but this is NOT an affiliate link, just so you know. To be very clear, I’m not recommending that you purchase anything. (Please note that these companies, in spite of similar-sounding names are NOT in any way affiliated with Family Tree DNA.)
If you look at who is teaching at the Family Tree University upcoming Virtual Conference this weekend, you’ll see names you recognize. If you look at the bookstore, it’s a who’s who of authors within our community. It’s also heavily weighted towards genetic genealogy.
Those people aren’t being paid. Not now, and maybe never.
This is the lovely howdy-do that I and every other instructor with unpaid classes and most (if not all) authors received in the mail today.
What Does This Mean?
This notification means that F&W Media applied in court about a week ago for protection FROM their creditors. The court was provided with a list of creditors 542 pages in length, with 30 names per page, for a whopping total of 16,260 people or companies that they owe money.
Almost all of those people you see on their website are creditors meaning we have sent them an invoice for recent services, such as the upcoming conference, or they owe us money and haven’t paid it. In some cases, a LOT of money.
While I’m angry, I’m “only owed” hundreds of dollars as compared to others who are owed thousands.
In the case of the Virtual Conference scheduled this upcoming weekend, my sessions were due to be delivered to F&M media on February 15th. I did and subsequently sent them an invoice on February 19th for those sessions. Instead of a check, I received this bankruptcy notification. Actually, that’s probably a good thing, because some of the checks they did send to people bounced, causing the recipients overdraft fees and additional headaches, especially if they wrote checks themselves on the deposited funds.
However, Family Tree University is continuing to present the conference this weekend utilizing the work of the people who will probably never receive payment.
How Does Bankruptcy Work?
I’m not a lawyer, but I have been a creditor in two prior bankruptcies. Obviously, bankruptcy is filed when the company has no possibility of paying their bills, so they seek protection from their creditors under the law and direction of how to distribute the money they do have among those creditors.
After the bankruptcy suit is filed, any debt before the filing is now within the bankruptcy court meaning managed by the court. The company may be able to continue business, starting over debt-free, in essence from that day forward. The court decides.
Whether, as a contractor who just got jilted, you want to continue to work for them and believe that the company can and will pay you for future work is another matter. To say that the trust has been eroded would be the understatement of the year.
In this bankruptcy filing, the book division may be sold off, which may provide future relief for the authors. I say “future relief,” meaning that they may be paid for the books sold in the future. Whether they are paid anything at all for the amount of money they are currently owed for royalties or for the books already sold is up to the judge.
To have a PRAYER of collecting anything, the creditors (meaning me and the others) must file additional paperwork with the court in Delaware by June 7th.
Then, the court will decide what debts are legitimate and will divide the assets of the company among the approved creditors. Creditors with secured debts are paid in full first.
In personal debt, a secured debt means that the debt is secured by something tangible, like your house or car. If you don’t pay the bill, that item can be sold to liquidate the debt.
Credit cards are examples of unsecured debt which is one reason why the interest rates are so much higher. So is the risk to the creditor of not being paid.
In corporate debt, tangible assets could be land, buildings or things like a book division that has residual value and is not losing money.
Next, the unsecured debt is paid in the order that the judge deems fit.
Here’s what I know for sure – in the two cases I previously was involved with as a creditor, I jumped through a lot of hoops and received absolutely not one red cent. Zero, zip, zilch. Nada.
In one case, the final disposition took years and I was owed more than $10,000, depending on how you count – meaning whether or not you include interest from when the debt was originally incurred. If you count from the beginning when the debt was incurred to the miserable end, that total approached $20,000, with interest included.
This situation was very poorly handled by F&W Media. They clearly knew there were having huge issues, yet they proceeded, signing contracts they clearly knew they could not honor, taking advantage of the giving spirit of the genealogical community. That’s bad faith, pure and simple.
The leaders of this community already contribute a lot. What we are paid for each session is almost a token amount, but many of us provide these and other similar sessions as a way of giving back to the community in a medium that can reach the highest number of people. That’s in addition to contributing things like this blog that is free for everyone.
Every professional that I can think of does similar things utilizing different technologies and contributes in many ways.
This bankruptcy, in part because of the massive scale and the thousands of dollars owed to some people just before tax time has sent shock waves through the professional levels of the genealogical community.
No one can afford to take a “pay check” hit of, in some cases, thousands of dollars.
We feel betrayed, and at the same time, we feel sorry for the employees we’ve worked with for years. Most of them are gone now too, without a peep or a goodbye, before we knew. I hope they land on their collective feet and I certainly want to believe they had no direct knowledge that F&W was taking advantage of us.
At least they qualify for unemployment. We don’t.
We Need to Have a Discussion
After the shock of this situation wears off, after we’ve had a chance to deal with the ramifications, and after tax season when we’re all insane, especially those who were counting on those funds owed to pay their corporate taxes, we, the community, need to have a discussion about education and payment of professionals for their services.
While I understand that we all would like for everything to be free – it isn’t. Education isn’t free and neither is continuing education required for us to stay on top of what’s happening in this industry. Every. Single. Day.
Those of us who work professionally in this field incur the costs of incorporation, a CPA to help with our corporate taxes and filings, sometimes lawyers, the cost of computer equipment, software, subscriptions, blogs, websites, servers, ISPs, travel and education. We also don’t have paid vacation, sick time, insurance or any other benefits, AND we pay all of our social security contribution (including the 7% paid by employers) as well as required federal and state unemployment tax, which we, as business owners, can never collect.
If you think, “what fun to go to conferences,” let me just say that I paid about $2500 to attend RootsTech which meant that I substituted RootsTech for paid client work for roughly a week. It was not an unpaid vacation. I attended 2 classes, 2 keynotes plus one that I left early, and 2 lunches. I went to the FHL for parts of 2 days, so about a day in total for my own research. That’s it.
What was I doing the rest of the time for those 7 days? Contributing one way or another. Unpaid. Gratis. Including the class where I prepared the session and substituted for another speaker who became ill. That’s what genealogists do for each other.
Here’s a surprise. At least one speaker got to attend NO sessions at all. Not a single one.
This isn’t a pity party, it’s the reality that people never see behind owning a business. The last thing we need is to be unpaid, especially when others are making money as a result of those very efforts that we’re not being paid for. That’s adding insult to injury.
Consider that it takes approximately 2 to 3 DAYS, minimally, to produce a quality one-hour webinar or presentation. The pay from F&W Media was equal to approximately 1.5 HOURS of privately billed client work, so you’ll understand the outrage that we’re not even going to be paid that amount now AND the virtual conference that customers are paying to attend that includes our unpaid material is still going forward this coming weekend.
And just saying, this might not be a good time to say, “But you get to work for yourself,” either. 😊
All of the professionals that I know personally want to teach and provide services, but we want to be fairly compensated and paid. Perhaps contracts in this industry need to read differently and contain clauses that specifically address this type of situation. Maybe contracts need to contain clauses that state that the material can’t be utilized until it’s paid for and address bankruptcy specifically – and perhaps we all need to require that verbiage be included in every contract we sign.
I’m not sure how to address the issues of royalties and book sales, but I do know that we have a lot of bright people in this community and we can collectively figure out a way to protect ourselves from something like this happening again.
Once burned, twice shy.
What Can You Do?
Genealogical education, in particular for genetic genealogy, is absolutely crucial.
I hope you’ll support the authors and educators who give us so much by purchasing their books, webinars, subscriptions, products and services that they sell through OTHER outlets and avenues. If you’re buying anything, click through their (our) affiliate links. I won’t cost you anything and it provides a little something to them.
For blogs especially, affiliate links keep the lights on and the free articles coming.
If you’re purchasing a book, the author may well sell the book personally or can tell you the most advantageous methodology for purchasing. Check their website or drop them a line.
I know they won’t ask on behalf of themselves, so I am. The F&W bankruptcy is hurting a lot of people right now.
Thank you for your support as we struggle through this.
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Sorry you have to deal with this craziness. I hope things work out for you and everyone effected by this turn of events. Good luck!
Thanks. I’m a lot better off than many. But it’s just wrong.
It IS wrong — and I hope the future will bring better administrators and better contracts. Wishing you and the others well.
wow thats not good news then ,its amazing how many bad business practice can run for wile then make more of damage to future minds alike , hope your find new ways to be funded for what you do
Are they still going ahead with the conference?
If people pay for this, will it happen, or will people lose the money they pay for registration!
Presenters should stop their presentations unless they are paid up front before the conference begins.
I think you could do a hold on their using your material legally????
Good luck to all of you and to all concerned!
Yes, they are holding the conference. I have requested either payment or that my session be withdrawn. I don’t know what the other speakers are doing. This isn’t the fault of either the presenters of the attendees, or the moderators for that matter. The other really sad aspect is that this was a really good educational venue.
Is Family Tree DNA a related company?
No, absolutely NOT. But thank you for asking in case of any other confusion. I never thought of that.
Glad you’ve that clarified.
Yes, I added a note in the article too.
The UK magazine Family Tree magazine was pre-existing and is totally independent as well.
Welcome to the real world.
Why thank you. I’ve owned a business since 1983, so 36 years this week, actually. However, many of the other people haven’t. Wrong is wrong. I hope I never get used to it.
A bit rude and why would you say something like that? Did you get stiffed in a business transaction? If you feel like that why even be on this site?
I think your ideas about changing the language in contracts would help the community tremendously. We always want to trust – especially when we see something as part of our community. Unfortunately, not everyone or every company is trustworthy. What they have done is unethical and I would think it would be unethical to continue to use your work and that of others this weekend. Maybe illegal? I suppose a class action suit would do you no good if they are bankrupt. And thanks for explaining exactly how that will work for you and others.
I hope you and others will receive some compensation even if it is belatedly.
And thank you for all you do for us. You are very important to the genealogical community and are much appreciated. I have learned a lot from you in my work with DNA – which I still learn more about each day I work with it and imagine I always will.
Are any of the My Heritage links associated? I am so sorry this has happened to you.
None of the DNA testing companies have anything to do with this company. F&M Media’s companies (Family Tree Magazine and Family Tree University) focused on DNA because it’s a hot topic. On my page, both Family Tree DNA and MyHeritage are affiliate links for me, meaning that if you click through on those links and make a purchase or try a free subscription at MyHeritage, I receive a small payment. But that means I have an affiliate relationship with them, not that they are affiliated with the company that files bankruptcy. Sorry for any confusion.
I am Shocked and deeply sorry that this has happened. To all of those authors, instructors, students, etc. who are affected by this, I am very sorry. It has often seemed to me that there are not enough resources, classes, etc. for genealogists. I am retired, on SS and cannot afford to spend much. I cannot travel. I do sometimes purchase a book of interest and I do have software which I keep updated and I do subscribe to several Blogs. I appreciate any and all of the information that I have enjoyed over the past 20+ years that I have been researching my family. I have learned a lot, paid for sme of the information and have received and shared a great deal of other information. It saddens me that things like this happen. During the holidays I almost resubbed to FT Magazine. I guess maybe it’s good that I didn’t. I have enjoyed it in the past. I hope that somehow there will, in the end, be some goodness come from this somehow.
Roberta, I feel for you and the others who didn’t receive payment (or had a paycheck bounce)… I do hope that all of you will receive at least some part of what you’re owed. Unlike one of your other commenters, I know that you are well acquainted with the real world. But it’s always painful when it hits you between the eyes. I’m so sorry that you have to deal with this.
All the best to you and the other people affected by this bankruptcy.
I’m so sorry this has happened to you — and all the other genealogy folks involved in providing session info / books, etc. I was surprised at the list of all their different magazines — used to be a subscriber of half a dozen or so. Alas, I suppose that makes me part of the problem — but I just don’t read magazines these days.
A very, very bad situation – for the genealogy presenters and authors involved – and for the genealogy public too. I am surprised in a way as this seemed still ‘a going concern’ but that’s part of the issue as raised now – that the company is carrying on without making payment! I hope you can keep us updated. And that those who sell physical or digital books, etc. or present/teach will let us know clearly which are the best ways to make sure those who do the work will get paid.
Roberta; So sorry. Janet
Roberta, I looked up F+W Media in Wikipedia. They were acquired by private equity firm (Usually means “vulture” capitalists who strip the company) and have had constant turnover of management. I went to Indeed.com and the employees were talking about the problems there for the last several years. Add a declining industry. Having been in a position similar to what you are facing, I learned that I had better check them out first just as if I was thinking of buying their stock. The internet now makes that easier. So that’s the best advise that I can give to protect yourself in the future (other than cash up front).
Thank you. Glass Door looks pretty ugly too. I don’t know if these other resources though.
I, too, am so sorry this happened to you (again). I can tell from reading your blog that you are a very giving person and love sharing your genealogy knowledge. Thank you for letting us know. I just resubscribed to their magazine, so now I will know why it quit coming. My loss is so minimal compared to your financial loss and that of the other presenters for the conference.
I purchased some books from them last year. I’ve tried to support genealogy companies/vendors because fewer and fewer people purchase educational materials–thinking they can do all their research online.
Is the Family Tree Maker software/program part of this company?
Would a Go Fund Me Page be a possibility for you and your fellow presenters???
No, Family Tree Maker is not part of that company. Thank you for your kind thoughts. I’m fine, just hurt, disappointed and upset-not just for myself but for others too. My loss was small by comparison to others. I doubt that they will do something like GoFundMe but it is an option.
Why did they go bankrupt? How long have they been operating, (I presume profitably)?
Someone else just posted a very interesting link answering that question.
Appalling. And, yes, dishonest. An interesting take on why it happened (posted on the ISOGG fb page): https://blog.lostartpress.com/2019/03/11/an-alternate-ending-for-fw-media/?fbclid=IwAR1k2MGIhM1jYlXAZr1flHvEwNDSnMZn_mjvXkswtdB0iV1HDKlxQj6Fc5I
That’s so sad. I worked in the computer industry for years and saw this over and over.
oooops, I hit shift+enter and found my comment had posted! You’ve probably already seen that blogpost, Roberta … but it might be of interest to others who read the comments. So sorry that it’s happened to you – and other genealogists – who give so selflessly of their time.
Wow. I’m so sorry to see how our genealogy educators and leaders are being treated by FTU. The community is so giving and helpful to start with, that this sure feels like a low blow.
As you said in an earlier comment – I hope we as a community – never get used to wrongs like this. 🙁
Thanks to you and all the others impacted for your hard work and for sharing your wisdom and knowledge with us. <3
Another area of confusion. The well respected UK “Family Tree Magazine”, now named “Family Tree”, first published over 30 years ago, now published by Warners Group Publications plc, has no connection with the US Family Tree Magazine.
Oh wow, I didn’t know that either.
Thanks Trevor … I’d been wondering about that. Relieved to know it’s not the same magazine.
Just read the explanation on why this company has gone bust.
Debt and Greed seems to be always at the core of these events.
It’s as if the 2008 credit crisis never happened. Nothing seems to change.
Governments creates lots of regulations, but issuing and allowing endless credit seems to be their only solution..
The thing that sickens me is that bankruptcy seems to be becoming a corporate strategy.
I used to work in the area of aviation policy and I remember being amazed at how the bankruptcy system seemed to be being worked by the airline companies in the 1980s. Bankruptcy didn’t seem to stop them flying. It did seem to mean they renovated employment contracts very severely. The laws here in Australia work differently I think. But reduced risk doesn’t necessarily always produce great results either.
Roberta I’m so sorry this has happened. Janice
Roberta: I am sorry this happened to you. Thanks for a terrific explanation of the costs & payment (or lack there of) for genealogical presentations. I am shocked they can continue to hold the upcoming conference and use your material when they already know they cannot pay for it!
Bankruptcy rules seem to exist only to help failed businesses cheat people. I can’t stand that they can ignore their debts, reorganize and come back with no responsibilities! And yes, I’ve had it done to me. $800 was a lot of money to me at that time.
A research firm in Germany that had employed me for about 6 years stopped paying without notice. They did not file bankruptcy, and the Utah Labor Commission ordered them to pay my overdue wages. However, that has been going on since summer 2018 and the firm still has not paid the overdue wages. It was on a much smaller scale with about 7 people being laid off or quitting due to no payment in a few month period. Businesses go out of business or have to downsize, but what really stinks is when businesses are not upfront about this and leave their contractors or staff to suffer unexpected financial loss and stress.
Those bankrupcy laws were started to Help individuals and our general national economy stability.
Seems like every time a good idea starts, the users and losers follow sniffing at the money trail to figure out new ways use prolific honest people’s sweat to make a buck for themselves :/ .
THANK YOU for being in my life from afar, THANK YOU for your ongoing shares that have brought me so much Joy this past decade 🙂 . Discovering my heritage is Wonderful 🙂 .
You made me laugh out loud, too!
“””””And just saying, this might not be a good time to say, “But you get to work for yourself,” either. 😊 “””””
hahaha, I can relate !!
I almost took that out, because I didn’t want to appear snarky. But….if I had a $ for every time someone has said that to me, I wouldn’t be working at all now:)
Thank you Roberta for the announcement and background view behind the scenes, painful as it is to tell. I’m so very sorry for you and your colleagues and the hurt, financial loss and frustrations you all are experiencing.
I would like to offer a suggestion for you to possibly consider going forward in order to continue the educational work you all enjoy sharing with the rest of us who are interested in learning. I am a student of watercolor painting (as well as the genealogy) and the “Business Plan” that professional artists use to provide income for themselves might work for the genealogical community as well. In a nutshell, in addition to “advertising” their work through Sponsered Art Shows and Competitions or selling through a gallery, there are many well-known, successful artists who travel the country (on a schedule of their own making) that put on paid workshops for the many students like myself who are eager to learn, under the sponsorship of individual Art clubs or in some cases an entity that acts as the co-ordinating sponsor. The “Sponsor” makes all facility and sign-up arrangements, invites the artist and provides a contract etc. Our organization’s Workshop schedule is booked 2yrs ahead and becomes available for signups 4 months before the start of a new calendar year. The workshop itself can be as long or short as offered & decided between the 2 parties — usually 2-5 days. In the San Francisco Bay Area where I live & throughout Calif., we have numerouse Art organizations and someone somewhere is holding a workshop (we rent a space at a Jr.High school). Attendees pay ($300-$525 depending on # of days) up front when they sign up—in my organization’s case at least 30days in advance—and if not enough signups which for an art class is limited to 20, the workshop can be cancelled & money refunded. The artist is paid by check the last day of the course before he/she leaves the room! Obviously adjustments to this plan would need to be made for genealogy workshops but there are already many clubs that exist and because of the venue, many more attendees than 20 could be acommodated thereby perhaps bringing the cost for attendees down considerably.
I don’t know if ISOGG could act as the “central entity” or whether you would need to set up some sort of co-op of Genetic Genealogists but it seems that it might be possible for all of you as a “community” to take charge of your own destiny. I for one would attend.
“Thank You” Roberta for all that you, and others like you, do to keep us educated and informed and wishing you the very best going forward.
Thank you for your suggestions. i4GG does some of that, and there are “institutes” but those are for professional genealogists. I’ll have to give this some thought.
So sorry to read about the way you and others have been hurt by this bankruptcy. Thank you for writing about it so candidly!
Being self employed is not always a great thing !! long working days, expensive tax returns…. juggling the budget. and so much more.
When I was self employed as Interior Designer I was lucky in my 25 year span to have payment delayed on only one project. However, I did require a deposit prior to ordering or the start of construction. I signed the agreement, the client signed the agreement.. so both of us were liable for litigation. Repeat clients in good standing got reduced deposits % and if they referred others, got a discount. Even so, money was always a juggle… a design project from beginning to end may take 6 months and having to purchase fabrics, blinds etc in the beginning meant even on a 90 day credit, I had to paid for some things before I got my final payment. I do. not miss that part of being self employed! So I feel for you Roberta!
The uncertain bit is that Genealogy has been really hot for a few decades, Genetic genealogy gave it a great big boost that probably caused some genealogy firms without genetic services to hurt or even go down.
It is my fave hobby, so I hope it stays strong for years, but unfortunately genealogy may prove to be a short lived industry and might fade especially when people find it is not as easy as they thought it would be. I see that happening when I notice members at ancestry not signing in for months or years. I figure they gave up.
Now Genetic genealogy is just gaining its rise… it will go on for decades… perhaps longer as new DNA is discovered and added to the database.
Chin up Ro… spring is on the way.. I’m going to contact you for some advice/ research in Ireland… I am so fed up with the lack of info…
Thanks for sharing all this info. I think it’s interesting that they declared bankruptcy yesterday and today in my email box appears a chance to subscribe and pay for a course from Family Tree University!
Roberta – I’m not able to attend FTDNA conference this weekend. However, please look for Carol Dove, she’ll be looking for you. Last week I gave her something for you.
I purchase Emily D Aucilino’s book – Genetic Genealogy the Basics and Beyond, directly from her – 5 at a time. These are sold at our Placer County Genealogical Society – DNA Classes. It’s a great way to help Emily, and help attendees learn the basics of DNA.
Glad for the “Heads Up” on how we can assist you teachers with how we purchase books and other products.
Ally n Cali
Oh, I’ll miss seeing you!! 🙁
Thank you Ally. I too will miss you, but will see you in October! Carol, Roberta and I will find time together! You take care.
I read about the F+W bankruptcy in my sewing blogs and I’m sorry now it’s affecting you, too! The people in charge are/were vile liars.
Roberta, Thank you for alerting everyone. This is dreadful, and I’m sorry to hear about your loss and, no doubt, that of many others. This hurts us in the public eye, sadly. We now need to be more careful in what we do unfortunately. Too many people think we write these presentations in a few hours. It’s been estimated to take about 50 hours, and heaven knows the pay we sometimes gets (some are done for free) is so minimal. What we do is mostly an act of love for the field. To have companies take advantage of us is an outrage!
See you in Houston! I’m presenting this year…are you?
Yes, I am. Can’t wait to see you there.
I know little of bankruptcy laws and in particular laws outside of the jurisdiction I live in. That said, I think one of the general principles governing bankruptcy is that once you file it, one cannot pick and choose which creditor to pay and which ones not to. Doing that effectively negates one own bankruptcy filing. Any property you have delivered or even consigned to the now bankrupt entity, will be looked at by the court as assets of the defunct business. Now, as bad as this is, this is not the worst of it. It is possible that they Court may come looking to you, the creditors, to return recent payments made to you by the Company. So, even if you are lucky enough to receive something, perhaps a check that was in transit, you may be demanded by the Court to return it. The reasoning is that it is not equitable to pay you in full while others creditors get zip. I noticed that a poster receive a little flack by suggesting that sellers need to live and learn. However unkindly this was stated, it is true, it is a facet of doing business that due diligence about whom you do business with is essential. If you do not have the financial savvy in that area, then perhaps that is something your accountant / CPA can help you with, especially when you have thousands of dollars at stake.
I have a CPA. A CPA can’t help you decide with whom to do business. If you’re not willing to do business with a firm decades old, who has never before not paid their suppliers, who would you do business with?
So sorry. I am hoping that someone will come out of the blue and help you out of this mess. Believe it or not, praying does help. You have a very good product that we all enjoy – and, want it back.
Very sorry you’re having to deal with this. And the same for all the other wonderful professionals who have taught me so much over the years. Perhaps Judy Russell can chime in and create a contract that would include the verbiage you mentioned. Hang in there. And thanks for all you do.
This is awful and I’m sorry for you, Roberta, and the others who are being stiffed. For me, I guess I just lost $49 by sending a check to subscribe to Family Tree Magazine only about two weeks ago — received an email on March 14 saying “Welcome and Thank You.” Wish I had used my credit card (it was not an option on the form, now I know why) because I might have been able to dispute it then (having not received an issue yet).
What a mess and a big loss for the gen community and many individuals.
You may actually receive the magazine. I don’t know.
Behavior like this just infuriates me. I hope good can come of it.
Thank you for the information. I was about to renew subscription. NOT.
OUCH. That must have felt like being kicked in the teeth for the third time. I feel for you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been in business for 30+ years or 30+ months, it’s a straight betrayal of faith and nobody goes into business expecting that. You provide your time and expertise, with a large dollop of additional sweeteners, for years, to even get to the position of being able to invoice. A genealogist is an entrepreneur, wearing a dozen hats: some well, some not so well, yet all the tasks need to be done to run a successful business where you get to eat and pay your bills. (I’ve been in business for myself for just over two years after being employed by others for 30+ years. The things I’ve learned about the ups and downs of entrepreneurship would fill a novel.)
I very much appreciated your breakdown of what happened and why, and your impulse to immediately share the information to educate others. I think genealogy is akin to photography – so many people pursue it that there’s a perception the results should be free or as near as. I have enormous gratitude to the genealogy community for my knowledge today – I am as a dwarf sitting on the shoulders of giants.
The thing that really frosts me is knowing they are using my content for their conference this weekend, fully well knowing I’ll never be paid.
Bad borrowers are the reason that credit bureaus were formed, to let merchants and others check a borrower’s record for on-time payment before making another loan.
Having been stiffed by contract employers for (sometimes) months of work, I understand where you are. When the payments are late, you go along a little bit longer, hoping that next month the company will turn it around, knowing that suing a sinking company for old debts is a game for chumps. Usually it happens when the employment market is slack, and there isn’t a more promising job to make a wager on.
Conventional employees are supposed to be the first in line to recover back pay in a bankruptcy, but contract employees are mostly at the end of the line.
Don’t contract employees need a bureau that reports on companies that are getting slow about paying their contractors? It could at least help cut the losses.
I quit subscribing to Family Tree Magazine when the editor became political with their Irish article. She went beyond proper boundaries.
I am so sorry for you and all the others affected. It sounds as though they were very dishonest to keep trading when insolvent but I guess some people are optimistic they will trade themselves out of difficulties.
There are a lot of people who somehow think they are entitled to family history resources for free. There is of course no such entitlement although we have been spoiled by so many generously sharing, especially of course members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. I am not a member of the Church but I appreciate their generosity.
You have such a right to be upset by this. I appreciate the replies who describe how they’ve experienced similar injustices. I estimate I’ve donated around 4,000 hours toward helping others without pay of any sort. I spent 20 years compiling material for two family genealogy books which I published without copyright so others could freely copy it. I sold copies for the cost of printing with no thought to the countless hours of typing and editing then donated free copies to libraries. It really upset me to find out a relative to whom I had loaned a manuscript made copies without telling me. I told him not to do so because the work wasn’t finished yet he did it anyway without my permission causing errors to be publicized under my name.
You have unquestionably shared so much of your time and knowledge free of charge to thousands of us. Your pay was no more than the hope of improving general knowledge. Anyone who would cheat you, be they individual or corporation, cheat us all because you and other professionals who are as generous as you still need to “make a living” and deserve remuneration for your work. Because of this, we should all be offended by this crude and thoughtless action.
Thank you for your support. I don’t mind contributing, and do regularly, but it needs to be my choice. What they’ve done is theft, especially given that they continued to sell the seminars, classes and books knowing full well they weren’t going to pay the instructors and authors.
This is so sad to hear – certainly for you, Roberta, and the others in the genealogy community who gave of their time and effort for the rest of us. Even though I’m not owned any money, I feel a little mislead because I just started a subscription to Family Tree Magazine to help me continue adding to my tree. I would have to expect they will be closing their doors ~ or at the very least that the magazine quality will suffer. Certainly I’m feeling a little bit like I’m not sure I want them to be my resource going forward.
In either case, I will absolutely look into purchasing some of the books I’ve had my eye on from other sources to ensure that you all get paid for your hard work. Thank you for the heads up!
Just so you know, I haven’t published books. I publish for free on my blog. But others have.