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External Links
A Short Note

Some of my webpages contain links to other people's pages. While I do make an effort to verify the URLs of these pages, it is an unfortunate fact that people do move, often without leaving forwarding information. All the people who have coded links to these transients -- like me! -- are left high and dry; Attempts to follow them usually result in some form of the annoying "404 Not Found" message.

I apologize for the inconvenience but, due to the large number of these external links on my pages and their essentially volatile nature, it is impossible for me to keep them completely up to date. Therefore, it is quite likely that you will find a number of these dead ends.

I have taken, instead of pointing to a specific page out of a collection, to pointing to a home page and hoping that that author provides adequate tools to allow you to locate the data that I used -- if still available at all!

Sometime it has been necessary to point to a page archived in the Internet Archive. This marvelous repository is intended to record every version of every page of every web site that ever existed.

I do make regular attempts to validate the links on my pages, but it is pure drudgery, and I'm always hopelessly behind. There are a number of link validation services available and I'm on the lookout for one that would suit my needs.

Recovering "dead links"

There are a few techniques that can be used to try to find a link gone stale.

Direct method

Sometimes it is the case that just the filename of the page within the site has been changed through an internal reorganization. This is often the case for sites that use genealogical software to generate the HTML for their site.

I try to avoid these cases by pointing my links, especially in the source citations, to the home page for the site. This has the advantage of being more stable, but requires the researcher to do more work in finding the specific page with whatever navigation aids are provided by that site.

Try to locate a "home" page for the site by stripping successive directory names from the right end of the URL. (OPERA users: CTL+Backspace)


If you know the title of the page, try searching for that title using a generic search engine, such as the excellent Bing (http://www.bing.com/), or Google (http://www.google.com).

Internet Archive

The Internet Archive, a/k/a "The Wayback Machine", at http://webdev.archive.org/, is an ambitious project with the aim to collect a copy of every web page that ever was. This includes different versions of the same page as it undergoes revisions.

There is a good chance that the page you seek has been recorded in the archive.

Dead links within my site are another matter entirely, and I try very hard to stamp them completely out of existence. If you find any, I would certainly appreciate a note telling me where they are! You may report them to [email protected]


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Uploaded: 2010-12-03 11:00 
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