GeoCities Going the Way of the Dodo

Some time in the near future, Yahoo! will pull the plug on its GeoCities service.  The announcement has been out on the street for a while, but not very overt.  Just a notice on the service web site stating no new accounts are offered, and that users should be aware of the upcoming closure.

So what does that have to do with cannon and marker hunting?  Well consider that GeoCities, like AOL’s now similarly dead Hometown service, were the first forays by many into the “personal web page” arena.  Long before Web 2.o, blogging, and social networking became popular, many enthusiasts found an outlet creating very simple web sites to convey information.  Of course, there were many, many poor sites with little real value.  But several of note were fine repositories of information not elsewhere available on the web.  For instance:

  • John Mead Gould’s site with a lot of information about his grandfather, coastal fortifications, and artillery pieces on display in New England.
  • Steve Russell’s site on the 27th Indiana.  Good information about the “lost order” from the Antietam Campaign which was found by members of the regiment.
  • Or a site with a wealth of information on the 25th Ohio Volunteer Infantry.
  • And this isn’t just a Yankee thing, as evidenced by another site for the 43rd Alabama.

The really sad bit is, even though Yahoo! has called this well in advance (unlike AOL), many of these sites will not be migrated.  Some are simply left behind, like some scrap book in the attic, where an enthusiast moved on to other endeavors.  What I lament here is with one flip of the switch, a lot of good hard research and field work will be wiped off the list.

Then again, on the bright side, a lot of goofy stuff will get cleared out too!

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