Family history fair website launched

NZ Genealogy Report January/February 1999

Internet designers leister WEB design of Leicester, UK, have created a new internet project for genealogists.

Launched on 18 January, GENfair is an on-line family history fair providing an Internet shopping facility for family historians all over the world, and a wider international market for the goods and services of family history societies.

According to its designers, the service overcomes the barriers of currency conversion and postal delay in ordering.

GENfair is at the website address and is being publicised in the major genealogy magazines in the English-speaking world, through the journals of participating societies and search sites on the Internet.

Items for sale include books and microfiche in the participating societies' publication lists. Visitors to the site will also be able to buy genealogy software online and to order and pay for search services and membership subscriptions to the societies.

The minimum level of technology needed by societies is the facility to receive the orders by email.

The advantage to family historians, as in a real family history fair, is the concentration of a number of societies' bookstalls in one place. But GENfair will be accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to anyone who has a computer and an Internet connection. Currency conversion problems disappear and orders are transmitted to GENfair almost instantaneously.

How it works in detail:

Visitors to the site are supplied with a virtual "shopping basket" and can add any item they see to the basket by clicking on a button next to the item description. A "basket review" page enables them to see the contents, remove items, change quantities, or simply empty the basket and start again.

Clicking on a "Checkout" button displays a form for the shopper to enter their name and delivery address. The checkout automatically calculates and displays the total bill, adding shipping charges according to the country of the delivery address. It then links the shopper to a secure system where they enter their credit card details.

On clicking the final "send order now" button, the details are sent to GENfair and credit card details are encrypted by the secure server. GENfair looks after the validation and processing of the card details through their credit card merchant account.

The order details (without the card details) are forwarded automatically to the society. They despatch the goods and/or provide the services ordered.

Reviewed 8/7/2000 by Mark Dashper:

"I have looked carefully at the site, and it is a really good resource for our purposes. The different stalls are not all applicable, however it has some excellent references, and a reading room with material of interest. The real advantage is in the secured payment and currency conversion system, and in the precise indexing of all items. I found I was able to access even more detailed data for our Devonshire Dashper family research purposes, by going directly from one of the stalls, to the Website of the actual printer/publishers. In this case it was which contains a more detailed listings particular to our area of research. Both sites are thoroughly worth looking at and using."

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