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The History of the Family TreeHouse Web Site

I started this family web site back in 1994, when CompuServe® first offered its members 5 MB of free web space as part of the subscription service. The original intent was to have a way to share stories and photos from our time in Europe (1991-1995) with family and friends back in the states. Working on the web site over a dial-up from Europe was tedious, so needless to say I didn't work on it in real-time; I would work on the site locally, and then upload the changed and added pages and photos in bulk.

After we moved back to the states, working on the site became a bit easier, and HTML technology improved, so I made a number of fairly rapid changes to the site, mostly involving how pages were built, not what they looked like. Here is a screen-snap of the front page of the "rev 4" web site from 1997 (and here is a remake of the live rev 4 site - not maintained so not all links will work), looking substantially the same as revs 1-3 from the 1994 era onward.

In 1997 I purchased my first domain name - FamilyTreeHouse.net. Back then, FamilyTreeHouse.com was taken, but all the rest of the FamilyTreeHouse perturbations were available, so I bought them too (.org, .info, .biz, .ws). I had the domain names redirected to my CompuServe® web site, so people typing in https://familytreehouse.net/ would be brought to that web site. In July 2009 FamilyTreeHouse.com became available so I bought that one, too, so now even THAT domain name redirects to FamilyTreeHouse.net.

Also about this time (or even before) I started to run out of space on my allocated 5 MB on CompuServe®, so I moved my web site from CompuServe® to the new 10 MB of space provided by my broadband ISP, Highway1®. But the photos were piling up fast. Even after winning the national Best Family Web Site award two years running (1998 & 1999), first from Highway1® and then from MediaOne®™/RoadRunner® (who bought Highway1®), which came with an additional 5 MB of storage space as one of the prizes, I was still running out of space. I began collecting free 5 & 10 MB web spaces from various vendors (BigFoot®, Go®, etc.) to park images. The text web pages were on my MediaOne® web site, but the photos were scattered around over a dozen sites or more.

Sometime around the turn of the millennium (January 1 2001), as a lot of the free web sites were going out of business (I wonder why?? ;), I bit the bullet and bought a spartan 500 MB web site from A-Plus Net®. This allowed me to consolidate all my images into one place. At this time I also redesigned the web site into "Rev 5" (another remake, also not maintained) which lasted until early 2006.

With rev 6 I finally brought the text and pictures back together and the entire site was hosted in one place on a new "economy" web site at GoDaddy®. We added "SSL" when web security became a hot topic and spoofers were hijacking small web sites for nefarious purposes. In 2009 I added the BallotBox sub-site when we bought a small vacation-home in mid-coast Maine that we called the Ballot Box (for reasons that are explained elsewhere), with the intention of beginning the arduous process of retiring, and retiring to a place we loved and wanted to be in.

So here we are with "rev 6a." The physical dwelling called the Family TreeHouse that we lived in for so long has been sold and we now reside permanently at the BallotBox in mid-coast Maine. Maybe there will be a "rev 7" some day to make use of improvements in HTML capabilities, but this works for now, and I no longer have a professional need to keep pace with web design techniques, so maybe this where it will stay.


Gene's Signature

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