The History of how

Jan Cortez & Cronies

 booted me out of MIGenWeb!



Read more about it!!!


The Whole Sad Story Behind My Forced Departure from MIGenWeb
Because I have been asked tons and tons of times why I left
.....start at the bottom.


Dateline October 2006:

     Now, I have had various cohorts of hers contact me and ask isn't it time to "forgive" Jan? Now if it was her asking and she was truly penitent, then I would listen but she does not know the meaning of that word much less to admit she was wrong, so I will try my best to get people to really truly WANT to bring MIGenWeb back to what it once was and all that it COULD be. Will that happen under Jan's leadership? Nope, not in my humble opinion. It saddens me because I was there in the beginning and I knew what it could be, and sadly that has not come to pass. :(((

Dateline May 2006:

     I have heard through various sources that her highness Jan just wants me to get over this whole situation. I would be most eager to get over the entire debacle and as soon as she resigns from the AB & as the SC of MIGenWeb which has not been run effectively since she took that position and with the guarantee that she never return. (But since she stretches the truth a lot any guarantee would not be worth the paper it was written on.)

     Do I think that will ever happen, nope, she is too busy attempting to control her little domain that she thinks she is queen over. I do not even care what she does any more but I know that the fact that almost 15,000 people have read this to learn more of what she is up to makes her crazy and that tickles me no end. <g>

     I am finally over the worst of the surgeries courtesy of the idiot that ran the red light and slammed into my van. Now I can concentrate on getting yet more data on line to help those researching in the Livingston County area. Keep an eye out as tons more stuff coming including a total overhaul of the cemetery section.

Dateline October 2004:

     I just was informed that I was elevated to the wonderful position of being a "Ginger's Elf" I honestly think I should be an "elfette", but if that is what Jan wants to call those who want to get the truth out, then so be it.

    The other thing that I heard was that now the 3rd person to replace me as Livingston County coordinator stated that well nothing had been "donated" for her to add to the site so nothing new. I could understand this if she say lived a long way away, but she lives in the county and there are tons of things she could get on line if she chose. Or she could just link to my site, naw..........that would be too easy. <g>

Dateline - October 17th, 2004:

     The interesting fact is that I was not allowed the courtesy of the mediation process as stated in the USGenWeb By-Laws. Just recently this same Board called an Administrative Hearing to remove a State Coordinator for delinking county coordinators. If this was done to him, then WHY can't I get my complaint acknowledged? Another example of the character of your fellow AB members. In this hearing for the GA State Coordinator Jan Cortez made the following comment:

"Could be Pam Reitsch is giving lessons on how to trash the SC's of the USGW."

Jan Cortez

     I was especially fond of the comment she made about me and and the fact that she does not have the courtesy to spell my name right. I have heard that she has made similar snide like comments that I was dismissed for whining about my health problems. Since the MIGenWeb list was rarely active....everyone was afraid to say anything for fear of being reprimanded, the only time I would comment was during roll call or if I would be unavailable for a while due to surgery.

     Another tidbit that came out about this time was that she & her cronies honestly I guess believed that being sick & in mourning I would just roll over and say here guys, you can keep all the data that I amassed on line for your beloved archives. I think now that the main plan that they have is to have no data on the county sites, rather to have all of the counties, just an entrance point to the archives. Funny thing, that was NOT the original idea of the project by Jeff Murphy, but then nothing that goes on today is anything like that so why am I surprised?

Dateline August 2004:

     Jan consistently touted the fact that she was an elected official "Township Clerk" at Mecosta Township in Mecosta County, MI. She had been re-elected numerous times and was loved by her constituents. Well, I guess not everyone loved her. In the primary election of August 2004 someone ran against her and beat her by 50 votes! She loved the people that she worked for so much that the very next day she up & quit, even though the new person did not take office until Jan 1st, 2005. Thus she left a part time person to run that office during the busiest time ever, the Presidential election. I guess character shows through all the time.

Dateline - March 13th, 2004:

     Well it appears that Jan is making up new rules for the county coordinators as she goes along. Perhaps she just cannot find anyone to delink me from any of the major projects, (she has tried several) so now she is ordering around the county coordinators that they MUST link to their connecting county sites in MIGenWeb. 

    I sure would like to know WHERE is it written in either the USGenWeb Bylaws or in the MIGenWeb Requirements that you MUST link to your neighboring MIGenWeb counties?? I know it's not mandatory in other states, and if she doesn't have it written and posted on a web page, then it's not a legal requirement. I have checked with a number of other states and counties and have not seen anyone that is given this directive. Having been the first county chosen on MIGenWeb and there for the first almost 9 years, that directive was NEVER given by ANY state coordinator. 

   The interesting thing is that there is now supposedly a new Livingston site on line, but there does not seem to be any data, at least that I could find, thank heavens for the great search engines now. Thankfully most people just go there instead of checking individual states for info. The two links within the county that I did find, well one has bad information and the other I sure did not see any genealogical data there.

   I truly do not mean to be mean spirited to the new coordinator, but so far I have not seen any effort to answer any queries from anyone knew to this county. I guess that God is just testing me with a new "lesson" with all of these new experiences. As I was told in my Bible study, I do have to love everyone, but that certainly does not mean that I must LIKE them...   I am sure trying...:(((  

Dateline - March 1st 2004:

     The more I think about this whole debacle, I have come to believing through prayer and contemplation that Jan and her cronies are very unhappy people. I feel that in whatever situation they are involved with they can do no more that strike out at those that they see are happy and have total content lives. Perhaps in their minds by bringing them down, that will bring the unhappy people up. How very sad to have to live like that. 

     Every message of the hundreds that I have received have thanked me for all of the data that I have placed on  line for free without restrictions. On the MIFamily site owned at the time by several of the group that Jan hangs out with you have to just put in a name and it will spit out one sentence of what you might be looking for. None of the real data can be seen in total as on any of my sites. Such a sad way to convince yourself that you are helping people. Interesting since then, the ownership site that named owners has since changed, perhaps too hot in the kettle for Pat Hamp.

     It is sad that this also came as a shock because I also was too trusting to think that Pat Hamp was indeed a friend too. She had borrowed several antiquarian books worth hundreds to transcribe for the MARDOS Memorial Library, but when this came up and I asked for their return, they were not. A number of requests were made to retrieve my property, and when push came to shove, they finally came back with the covers torn off which she knew would drastically reduce their value. Amazing when you go up against the little troupe of fellows who control MIGenWeb. They even sadly have pulled the wool over another previous SC of the state who was DEEPLY hurt by the shenanigians of Jan Cortez the last time she threw a hissy fit and left in that fit of temper. From the mail I received at the time & still receive, appears this is Jan's normal mode; if she cannot get her own way she up & leaves in a huff.

     I also received a number of messages that informed me of other similar tornado like disasters caused by the same individuals. How sad. Interesting also now that a new Livingston County site has been set up with links to commercial sites that are NOT the hosting site. Hmmmmm...isn't that what I was removed for? I see links to all sorts of interesting things, but no real data. :(((((

Dateline - February 14, 2004:

     Sadly this day, the once great USGenWeb is now getting one step closer to the end of it's great run and IF we, the people that put the data on line, the county coordinators do not stand up and let Big Brother aka the USGenWeb Board know that we are still here in the U.S. I think we are asking for problems.

     I thought we lived for the most part in the United States and were innocent until proven guilty, the optimum word being "PROVEN"!

     Could I have just folded my tent and crept quietly away? Yes, I could but I believe in the total truth being out there for all to see. If this steps on a few people in the way, I apologize but I will not have people thinking something that is wrong when the truth is a total other matter. Over the years of my site I have tried ONLY to help people with the best data available for Livingston County MI and if Ms. Cortez thinks she can find someone to do a site better, all the more power to her. 

     The Advisory Board of USGenWeb and the MI State Coordinator Ms. Jan Cortez have decided that this is no longer true and they will get rid of ANYONE that does not tow the line and follow EVERY edict that they throw out with or without the aforementioned "PROOF"

Dateline January 10th:

     I was contacted by Ms. Cortez, the State Coordinator for Michigan, demanding that I remove two items that she felt were not appropriate. She "claimed" that she had been contacted by the President Richard "Isaiah" Harrison with the message that either one or two messages had been sent in complaining about my site for Livingston County MI. Mind you in the almost 9 years since I helped put USGenWeb together I have only received "ONE" complaint and that was about the American Flag being on my site. I cordially told that person that when they had their own site, they could leave the flag off, but I would leave it on my site.

     Supposedly these "complaints" (Again I have requested now 7 TIMES to see PROOF of these messages and have not been allowed to see them) were either one or two in nature. ( I was never told) and had they the decency to show them to me, perhaps all of this would not have happened. My heritage is that of 100% Lithuanian, where under the iron curtain, every day people lost their life savings etc. through lies and deceit and that is why I treasure the freedoms of the USA in knowing that without proof, a person remains innocent. 

     One was that I had on my site a comment that IF people wanted to see data like I have been known for since my sites inception continue to be added, I would appreciate a donation, any amount to I never did receive a copy of these messages but that did not stop Ms. Cortez in her eager path to get rid of me & my site. This is no different than asking for donations for other charities, like the D.A.R. or the American Cancer Society et al.

     Due to the red light runner that nailed me in 2001, I could no longer afford the $2,000 a year bandwidth fees to keep both & which includes the 1895 atlas and dozens of other antiquarian books.

     Now the rule that Ms Cortez quoted said that no links could be on the "home" page which led to "PERSONAL" gain. Hmmmmm...I have waited patiently for the Treasurer of, which is the first & only 501(c)(3) non-profit host for genealogical & historical sites to send my "PERSONAL" share, but to no avail have I received any such check. So I do not see WHERE I am getting any personal gain as mentioned in the rule. She rebuffed me with the fact that I was getting server space, but there are currently no fees for having a site on

     The interesting thing about this whole mess is that there are multiple sites within MIGenWeb that not only collect funds for their own "personal gain" by selling mugs, and t-shirts, and tote bags, but have they been delinked? Nope, they are a member of Ms. Cortez chosen group. As a result they can bend the rules that we set up as MIGenWeb coordinators many years ago. The rule was that there would be NO LINKS FOR PERSONAL GAIN anywhere in the site, but that does not hold if you are in the clique.

     If indeed this rule is put into effect I see that eventually we will no longer be able to put ANY links for ANY 501(c)(3) non-profit sites charities, including the American Cancer Society, The Red Cross, D.A.R. & others. If as Ms. Cortez suggested that after all, these links could be on "any other internal pages" this would I am sure significantly lessen the amount of donations as of course many fewer visitors might see them. If the "board" allowed only their "choice" of potential links to charities that to me smacks of discrimination.

     The second was a paragraph regarding the Livingston County Genealogical Society that I was a founding member of back in 1980. For 7 years I hosted their pages on my website. Sadly we did not agree on some facts in 2002 and so I split from the group, but much like recently where I get dozens of posts a week asking where the 1895 atlas is due to people not updating their links, I continue to get lots of posts asking where the LCGS stuff is. So I put a paragraph up explaining where & why the data had gone. Simple & straightforward, nothing nasty. Due to unforeseen circumstances I am unable to answer yet more mail.

     Does this mess make those that have decided they are more powerful than the county coordinators who are the ones who do the work getting data on line? You bet it does! When USGenWeb was born, it was determined that the cc's (county coordinators) were to be the ones at the top and if some wanted to have a loose knit group of SC and an NC included, it was o.k. But now the whole design has turned on its head, making the "board" all powerful. If they decide, and (they are reviewing new "rules" now, so keep your heads up and read those closely!) they do not like you, they will IMHO do all in their power to get rid of you and that is what happened here. I was told that I could follow up with a complaint to this Board, but really if one is dedicated to getting data on line as anyone would readily see if they have been to any of my sites, why waste time? Perhaps those people have time on their hands but I certainly do not. Besides these are a very close clique group and it is sort of the one for all scenario. I would rather add more data to my sites to help you the researcher which has always been my goal.

     I knew when they were quiet for a few days after I sent my rebuttal & 1st - 7th requests for said "PROOF" that something was cooking, and now I see we have an answer, Ms. Cortez sent out a letter stating that I would be delinked from MIGenWeb on the 12th of Feb if I did not comply with her orders and WITHOUT PROOF change my sites.

     I held this letter until a few moments ago when I saw that indeed she has delinked me from the directory for counties. She had stated that since she had not heard from me she assumed that I would not make her demanded changes. The funny thing is that she blocked my mail and anyone that thought what she was doing was wrong so how would she have known if we wanted to discuss this further.

     Really this is not the total truth as about the same time as Ms. Cortez sent her edict and told me that I had until the 12th of February, she actually started that process on the 1st of February when she deleted me from the county coordinator list. I would bet that she was afraid that her little plan would become known to the other coordinators in the state of Michigan.

     Within a few hours that was proven to be true as when anyone posted to the list to ask just why she was going after the first MIGenWeb county assigned, they too were deleted from the list. Ms. Cortez did send what she called an explanation to the list in which she "claimed" that she had NOT delinked me from the state but in fact this was a lie, as she had deleted me from the county list and that is an integral part of being a county coordinator.

     I strongly suggest that you join either of the other two organizations I am proud to be a part of, American History & Genealogy Project (AHGP) or American Local History Network (ALHN) There I can say you will be safe to continue your love for genealogy, history and helping others, and having a true "FAMILY"! Sadly I doubt many parts of the former group I was affiliated with keep that attitude except for one state that I am sure of. What a sad day this is.

     It appears that Ms. Cortez has gotten her way, she has forced me out of MIGenWeb by her deceitful and Big Brother like tactics. But you know you can always find me where I have always been, at

     I guess if this is the way Ms. Cortez & her board are going to act I have to admit that I no longer need, nor do I have the stomach to endure the nasty, mean spirited ways the state is run, what a sad thing to have to say.


Pam Rietsch


20888th person to have visited this page.

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For More Information Regarding either The Livingston County Michigan History & Genealogy project or the 1895 Atlas project please contact:    Pam Rietsch at:

      Date & time this page was updated in some fashion: 09/27/06 10:26:17 PM The site is always under constant change and data additions, even if it is not reflected on this page <grin>