The Changing Face of UK Family History Research

Over the past ten years the popularity of Family History Research has grown exponentionally in the UK and the US.When I started out, family history research was a case of travelling to busy records offices and poring through indexes, old books, dusty documents and microfiche readers.To get a UK birth certificate (etc.) a visit to St Catherines House was often required. This was the equivalent of a long workout at the gym! The enormous, heavy, quarterly index books were deftly pulled from the shelves behind the researchers and slammed down onto the long, lectern height desks. A quick ruffle through the pages to find the required name either resulted in a reference number being written down, or a swift return of the book to the shelf behind, trying not to hit the others waiting to look at the books. It was quite amusing sometimes to see a frail old lady, or a newcomer having problems coping with the massive books and being given dirty looks by those who were making a good income by charging to obtain certificates for customers who could not make the trip themselves.Now these details can be looked up on line and a certificate ordered and delivered for a lot less than it would cost to travel to London.UK Census details were kept at a large building in Chancery Lane where a microfiche reader had to be booked. The lighting was subdued and there was always an odd atmosphere. Hushed and reverent, except for the zzzzzzz of motors as the films were being wound on or back, and an occasional flurry of activity when a reader came across a page they needed to copy. The film would be loaded onto a special copying machine and a charge made for the copy, which would be stamped with a warning not to publish the contents.With the coming of the Internet, and the realization that money was to be made, the proliferation of family history pay sites began. Many of these have become incredibly successful and lucrative for their owners.I began my family research in the late 1980s when I realized that many of my aunts and uncles were fast moving on to a better place!It was a very good period to start as the cost of travel, both by car and public transport was quite affordable at the time. It was not uncommon to find a reference to an ancestor living in a certain town or area and to make a day out of visiting that town and its local church. I once had an amazingly successful result when I visited a church in Kent and found a tall memorial stone in the church yard with details of many of the members of the family I was researching. It named people and gave their wives’ and children’s names, even though they were not buried in the churchyard.This kind of hands-on research is not so common today, although it could still be very useful. Researchers prefer to look up the details on line, and then look for pictures and articles about the towns, villages and areas their ancestors originated from.Unfortunately, this can only work if some other person or organization has bothered to put that information on the ‘net.I remember researchers who drew out massive family trees on rolls of wallpaper. Others kept file cards with all of their family members’ details noted down. Others had thick note books. Others had hundreds of scraps of paper interspersed with printouts of censuses and registration certificates. Now the information can be kept on purpose made family history software.Some people seem to have an easy time of researching their tree, others not!I have encountered people who have had problems getting back beyond their grandparents.Others have walked into an old church and found a plaque on the wall showing their ancestors’ families and their connection with the area over the past few hundred years.I have had mixed success with my own research. My mother’s line has been researched by others and myself and this has helped get us back to the sixteenth century.My father’s line, however has been very hard to push back beyond about 1830. This is because records of common people in England, although kept, were not very comprehensive. It is common for English parish records not to record ages, addresses or wives’ surnames. The result is that you can have several people with the same name recorded as living in an area with nothing to give any clue as to which is which.You may see a parish wedding recorded as “17th May 1789 Robert Smith to Ann”. Not really much to go on!The difference is very apparent if the families involved had money!”18th May 1789, Robert Smith, son of Edward Smith of Verilarge Hall to Ann Harding, daughter of Richard Harding of Giles Farm”If you are unlucky enough to have to research somebody with a common surname the parish records can be of very little use.Sometimes a “gem” of a parish record is found. It was the job of the local clergyman to record all the baptism, marriage and burial details for his area. Many just gave the basics, but now and then you may find details that were entered by a person who realized that the records were important. These men would put in extra details that are now of great historical use.They may have not only recorded the burial but also details regarding the circumstances of the death.They sometimes gave addresses and ages on marriages even though they were not required to.These men would, today be putting historical information onto the net to help others, because they realized the importance of recording even the humblest of lives.Luckily, today, a lot of similar, dedicated researchers have started free websites and groups to help others with their family history research. It is now much more likely for a new researcher to find that a lot of the information on their family has already been gathered by another person.A search of the net for such free sites should always be the first step when researching.Pay sites like Genesreunited in the UK have helped with this exchange of family research information. At first it carried no research information of its own and just allowed subscribers to create a free online family tree from their own research. It soon had a large amount of members with many hundreds of trees held on their site.Other people could then check to see if somebody had put information regarding their name interests onto the GRU site. They then pay to subscribe to contact the other users. It is quite affordable even for a person with a casual interest.My own feelings about this site are mixed. The up side is that a person can join and quickly contact a person who shares their ancestry. They often find that a family tree has already been compiled. The down side of this “family tree on a plate” situation is that it can give people the impression that family history research is easy.Another problem is that users can propagate false details. It is very easy to make mistakes with research, especially if it is based on parish records. Anyone using this site for serious research should make sure they check out the source of the information they receive.I once encountered a lady who sent me information that showed a family with three daughters, all with the same first name. That rang alarm bells! When I checked further I realized that the mother that was shown was still having children when she was 54 years old! Very unlikely, but easy mistakes for a novice to make.Other sites like Ancestry, Findmypast and similar sites carry information gathered from government agencies and old records. These are usually indexed to make locating individual names a lot easier. As more and more information is being added, so the cost of subscribing to these sites is rising. Currently a year’s subscription to Ancestry’s UK site, and others, is nearly £108. This is now putting these sites beyond the reach of the novice to average researcher.The future of family history research is assured. As more TV programmes such as WDYTYA, Coming Home (Welsh ancestors), Heir Hunters (modern inheritance research) and Empire’s Children make way for even newer versions, like the new, “prime-time” version of Heir Hunters, “Missing Millions”, more and more people will want to find out about their own family history.As more and more information is made available on the ‘net, it will never have been easier to discover the origin of your family.I am not even going to go into DNA research, except to mention it. This is very popular in the USA.Americans do seem to have a need to ‘belong’ so a DNA test result can tell them instantly if they are related to a particular lineage, and where their family originated. It is not so popular in Britain, yet.As more information is put on line by paysites, researchers must make a point of putting their own research on line where it can be seen for free.There are lots of free sites and Groups that will store and share information, as well as providing help to researchers. We should all try to make the exchange of information a two way thing.As more is learned about a person’s family history it can be used to teach and improve the future of that person.Let us hope the hobby continues to grow and thrive.

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Family IQ Marketing System Review – Killer Approach or Marketing Hype?

I recently did a MLM company review on a new company called Family IQ that has been causing quite a stir in the MLM industry.From my in depth Family IQ Review you already know all the general facts about the company, the product, and the lucrative Top Tier compensation plan, so now I want to review the marketing approach and sales funnel that most distributors receive when they join Family IQ.Will the Family IQ marketing system work for you?Can this fairly simple sales funnel and lead generation approach really stand up to the claims of master distributor Rod Stinson who supposedly uses several simple marketing approaches and a recorded tele-seminar to generate an average of $70,710 a month in income with Family IQ?Now it’s no secret in the network marketing industry that top earners in most companies routinely pull in staggering amount of money in monthly commissions, sometimes hitting one hundred thousand and more, with some even reaching mid six figures in monthly income.”Beam me up Scottie”…. I have stumbled into a parallel universe.Hey we all know that there are stellar performers in every industry and company, you know, those are the people we all admire and hate at the same time. They seem to be nice people but it’s those gaudy $87,000 monthly commission checks that just seem unfair!However what most people really want to know is, can they do it, can they duplicate whatever success strategy is being used by the top earners so that they have a chance at the golden ring.Well this is where the rubber meets the road, I could talk a long time about this issue and the reasons why some make it in network marketing and most fail but that’s for another article.I will tell you that the single biggest reason that most people fail in MLM (other than lack of motivation and focus) is because of what I refer to as “Lead Poverty”. They just don’t understand marketing and how to generate leads so they keep dragging out their “warm market list” every time they go into a new MLM and badgering the same group of people until they finally join the “NFL” which means “No Friends Left”.To succeed in MLM you have to understand a basic marketing principle called “The Law Of Large Numbers”, which tells you that success is numbers related. That means if you put a product in front of a large enough group of leads, you will have lots of sales.It’s an input/output equation, the more leads you have, the more sales you have, and the more profit you have.So how do you escape from Lead Poverty and embrace the Law of Large Numbers?Now there are a lot of ways I coach people to do this, Old School MLM marketing approaches, Crossover Approaches, and Online Internet Driven MLM Marketing Approaches will all get you there.The bottom line is that with a constant high volume lead flow, you can’t miss.So let’s review the specific marketing and lead generation approaches that the Family IQ marketing system uses.The Family IQ “Funnel Marketing System”This is the core of the marketing approach and is a recorded webinar or teleseminar that features Master Distributor Rod Stinson doing an hour long opportunity presentation in which he goes over the concept of direct response marketing, talks about Family IQ & their Top Tier compensation plan, and shows his proof that the system works by featuring several photos of his dining room table covered in $1000 cashier’s checks.Now the Family IQ teleseminar is actually a pretty powerful video that really does the heaving lifting for the distributor. Although I feel it’s probably a little long, but it gets the job done and hits the prospect at the very beginning of the presentation with the huge income potential and then keeps hammering home the point.That is of course the beauty of the Top Tier MLM business model, you get the normal huge income potential of the long term residual income once you build a large group, but you also get big bucks up front.This presentation comes in the form of a replicated website that each new Family IQ rep receives that includes a hosted capture page with an opt in form, a video presentation, a basic autoresponder with automatic follow up letters already written and in place, and a back office with a simple lead and contact manager.This system is great for a new distributor since its all set up, and requires no technical knowledge on the part of the new rep. It’s pretty much plug and play.The Family IQ “Lead Generation Prospecting Software”Now this is one of the core parts of Rods Family IQ marketing funnel presentation which he mentions several times in the teleseminar as he talks about being able to generate thousands of free targeted lead daily to power your business.Now of course this hits home with lots of prospects since the single biggest problem of a distributor in the MLM industry is in fact generating leads and finding prospects, but the question is does this software really work?Well the answer is yes, I have actually had quite a bit of experience with software such as this and it does in fact do what it claims to do, that is to generate leads.This is actually a software program you buy at a discount and download to your computer. Once its setup you can direct it to use its search functions to scour the internet to find different classes of potentially interested opportunity seekers for the Family IQ business. The software then extracts a leads name and phone number from internet websites, online adverting portals like Craig’s list, or online classified advertising directories.Generally the biggest target market for these scrapers are going after people who are already in network marketing. This is easily done by just using any MLM company name as a keyword in the software and then pulling the names and phone numbers of distributors off of their company replicated websites.Since in today’s market everyone who joins a MLM usually gets a company replicated website it’s no problem to find lots of leads.Now two questions occur when using this type of a lead source and they relate to lead quality and to saturation. If someone is already a distributor for another network marketing company what are the chances that they will be interested in a different MLM such as Family IQ?Actually this is probably one of the best classes of leads you can go after since it’s a very targeted market. We already know this type of lead likes and believes in network marketing since they already are or were in the industry. So there are no long conversations trying to explain how MLM works, they already believe.Also since the MLM industry is so transitional and attrition rates run 50% to 70% or more, its more than likely that most of your leads are either not happy with their success so far, have already dropped out, or may even be looking for a new deal as we speak.On the saturation issue, the question is that if you have a several thousand Family IQ distributors all using the same software won’t they just be recycling the same leads or run the chance of actually running out of this type of lead?Well to answer this question you just have to take a step back and look at the big picture.Estimates of how many MLM companies are in the world currently range from 1500 to 5000 companies and the number fluctuates daily since so may fail every year and so many new ones start up.Big network marketing companies have millions of distributors each, and if we even conservatively estimate that an average network marketing company has 10,000 distributors then you could have as many as 50 million distributors out there as Family IQ prospects.Well I guess you probably are not going to run out of leads any time soon.Now you have leads, what do you do with them?Well that’s the next part of the Family IQ sales funnel system, once you have the leads, now you have to get the leads to the Family IQ replicated teleseminar that Rod Stinson does so they can view the information and decide if they want to join.Now the beauty of a using a high volume automated lead funnel system for Family IQ, is that once your prospect views the presentation, they will either be pretty much ready to go, or they won’t be interested, there really is no in between when you are using a high volume approach, they either see it or they don’t.The two main approaches that the Family IQ system uses to get your leads to the teleseminar are a direct phone approach called Dial & Ditch or an automated approach called Voice Broadcasting.Dial and Ditch for Family IQ leadsWith this approach you will use one of 2 scripts that you will download from Rod’s Family IQ training website and then you will actually call the phone numbers with the intention of leaving a short sizzle message on the prospects voice mail designed to get them interested enough in Family IQ to go to your replicated teleseminar website and opt in to view the presentation. That’s the Dial part. I taught this same approach years ago to my downline but at the time we called the approach “Phone Drops” and it really does work.Now the ditch part is that if someone actually answers the phone you just hang up. Now since most new reps are usually nervous about directly talking to prospects since they don’t know what to say, the idea of not actually having to talk to anyone appeals to them and so they like this approach.Now the one downside of this approach is that it takes time to do all those dials but the upside is that it’s free. My advice for anyone who feels confident on the phone is not to do the ditch part but to actually talk to the prospect on the other end of the line and use the same script.I mean you are already spending the time to do the dial so why not use the time effectively and actually talk to your live prospects. Since you will be building rapport with your prospect by doing a live conversation your conversion ratio from lead to Family IQ distributor is going to be much higher.Voice Broadcasting For Family IQNow this is the automated way to use your Family IQ scraper leads. Voice broadcasting is a form of telemarketing that uses a web based autodialer to deliver the same short sizzle message you were using in the dial and ditch approach but does it for you. You just set up an account with a voice broadcast service, record your phone message, upload your lead list to the website, push the start button and boom! The automated system can deliver your Family IQ sizzle message to thousands of prospects in about 20 min or less.Voice broadcasting works, I have taught and used this marketing approach for years and have recruited hundreds of distributors using it. Response rates average from 1% to 5% depending on your message and several other factors but if you have some good training and coaching on using this type of system it a killer approach.You can setup a voice broadcast in about 20 min, it really takes no technical skills, and once you trigger the broadcast you will have leads flowing in that have listened to your message and are highly interested within 30 min.It’s fast, efficient, and cheap. The prices vary widely on voice broadcasting from as little as 1.4 cents per connected call to as much as 25 cents or more per connected call. The systems with no setup fee charge more per call and the systems that are the cheapest to operate charge a setup fee of a few hundred dollars upfront.Two things to note here are that generally this type of telemarketing is regulated by the by way of what is called the National Do Not Call list and more recently by legislation that limited the use of these systems to call only consumers who have actually opted in to receive these calls, or business to business sales. The good news is that when you pull a lead off of the internet from a distributors MLM company website, that qualifies as a business listing since they are using that phone to receive calls about their MLM business.Ezine advertising for Family IQThis is another approach Rod’s Family IQ marketing system gives some training on, and of course it works. Ezines are the online equivalent of magazines and take many forms, ranging from newsletters to article directories, and many offer free or paid advertising where you can get an ad in front of thousands or millions of potential prospects and then redirect that traffic to your replicated website for Family IQ.One again this approach works well, I have taught and used online advertising for years and of course today that’s where the traffic is, online. With a little coaching on copywriting a good ad, you can generate lots of leads to power your Family IQ business.Postcards Marketing for Family IQThis tried and true marketing approach is also included in the Family IQ marketing training by Rod Stinson. Postcards or direct mail have been an effective marketing approach for years, but recently since more and more marketers have switched to online approaches there has been a drop in direct mail which actually makes it more effective than it used to be. Its costs more but it can also be done in small batches to control cost.So in conclusion, these approaches that Family IQ uses do work. The only secret here is to actually do them, do them consistently, keep track of your numbers and adjust as you go.Most MLM distributors are very inconsistent with their MLM lead generation efforts and so even if they use a great marketing approach, if they don’t get instant results they throw up their hands and quit.In Network Marketing, the key to success is the result of just a few critical factors, learning the Law of Large Numbers, high volume lead generation, and using effective sales funnels. Used effectively, they can give you the edge to master becoming a successful figure earner in the industry.