We Need Your Help!
Recent changes with our service providers have left us to seek your input. If you value the services My Pomerania offers, please take a minute to read through the options presented to us at this time. We would also appreciate it if you could answer a brief survey for us to determine support for these options.
Last month, we received an email from Google notifying us that as of June 1, 2021, the free storage we use for maintaining high-resolution images will be discontinued. At that time, we will need to upgrade our plan to continue providing access to the records. I have taken the last month to research plans and alternatives to keep these records online, but I won’t be able to make this a reality without your help. I want to be as transparent as possible with costs and outcomes. I will list them below. Google storage is the most pressing issue at this time, followed by website slowdowns.
When we started this site, we promised that it would always be free. We want to maintain that promise for our visitors. The only way to make that possible is to reach out and ask those of you who truly appreciate what we do to help support and sponsor the website. Even though this is My Pomerania, I want you to know this is as much “your Pomerania” as mine.
Pledging a recurring contribution of as little as $3 a year will continue to support our mission.
Thank you for considering to support us!
Exploring the Solutions
Upgrade Storage for the Records Portal
COMPLETE! Priority: HIGH – Cost: $240/yr.
With Google ending the storage we use, the records we have won’t be staying online forever. The best solution long-term is to upgrade to their unlimited business plan. I will need to reupload the records and manually relink them on each page. Upgrading before June will provide a buffer so access won’t be impacted.
The upgrade will also allow us to provide much more, like the ability to host meetings of up to 250 participants. It will also allow us to upload the records in their original quality, so you can zoom in and read smaller text without it blurring.
Upgrading Our Web Hosting
COMPLETE! Priority: MEDIUM-HIGH – Cost: $1080/2 yrs.
You might be wondering, why do we need to have two services? Our records portal operates on a faster platform with unlimited space. It also allows fast rendering of images with the ability to zoom in on any device, so you can read records on-the-go. Traditional web hosting doesn’t do that. Conversely, we aren’t able to run our website from Google Drive.
Server logs show that with our increase in viewership and keeping WordPress up-to-date, that the website bogs down at peak times, sometimes coming to a grinding halt. Database searches crawl. We’ve been on the same plan for close to a decade, even before My Pomerania started, and unfortunately we’ve outgrown it.
The price seems steep, but by committing to a 2-year plan, it would save $240 each year. The overall cost would then be a more reasonable $540 per year. We are also outgrowing our email newsletter plan, and upgrading the server would allow us to manage emails ourselves (for free!) without paying the steep price for email marketing. The new server is also more secure. While we have some time right now, eventually upgrading will be unavoidable.
Upgrading the Searchable Databases
COMPLETE! Priority: Medium-Low – Cost: $228, own for life
The Pommern Database runs off a plugin that hasn’t been updated in three years. This runs two future risks: security and functionality. This week, I needed to remove several features to revive the search. It will only get worse as other features update. The positives: fixing the issue will provide a better user experience. The component needed to implement this requires only a one-time fee and we own it for life. We plan to further index the books we have on the portal for those who struggle to read the old script and for ease of use.
Research Trips for Records
Finally, since my last trip and the increase of inquiries about records in the archives, it has become abundantly clear that there is an interest in finding surviving records. It’s also become clear that independent researchers in Koszalin are hard to come by and quite costly. I’ve been mulling over doing annual trips to obtain books requested by you. There is also the possibility of doing tour groups as well, if there is an interest (something I need to look into further). The survey asks if this is something you would also be willing to finance (or if this is something you are in need of).
If so, my hope would be to provide a lower-cost alternative. Simply put, if I receive enough requests to cover the cost to travel there, I wouldn’t mind spending several weeks photographing books to make your family history available to you. Last time, I averaged about 38 books a day. If I were to go back, my goal would be to spend three weeks in Köslin (Koszalin) and expand the collection of property records to fill in for many of the places where civil registers were decimated. I am open to working in other archives and would need to plan in advance.
Please take a minute to answer our survey.
A Message from the Editor
I want to start by saying that I feel uncomfortable asking for this level of support. My goal has always been to keep this content free for all. I’m continually looking for ways to eventually make this website financially sustainable again. In the interim, even small contributions to the site will help us stay the course. To put it into perspective, if everyone on our newsletter list sponsored us with $3 a year, it would more than cover our costs and help us to provide even more for you. I would ask you to consider supporting us with those small amounts if you can. I also want to thank you for your continued support of our mission. It brings a smile to my face to read emails about how we’ve helped you find more about your family history.
Founder and editor of My Pomerania