August 2002

Congratulations to Joe Bott

Joe Bott & his sons

            Joe Bott, 56, and his wife Laurie Bott live in Springdale, Arkansas. They have four handsome sons (two teen sons are still at home), two fantastic daughter-in-laws and three beautiful granddaughters. Joe, born 9 months from armistice day - give or take a month or two, is a "Founding" Boomer; he was raised in the Fairview section of Camden in Southern New Jersey. He joined the Navy and served on destroyers as a signalman from 1965 to 1969. He earned an associate's degree in Science at Camden County College. In addition, he attended Rutgers University and Glassboro State College (aka Rowan), where he ended his formal education with a B.A. degree in Biology. Joe has been a Food Scientist for more than 30 years. Joe's passions include history, people and old photographs. An avid collector, he has over 15,000 vintage photos in his personal collection, mostly of ordinary people spanning from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s. This collection and a long recovery from a life-threatening illness introduced Joe to his latest and most rewarding passion, Dead Fredıs Genealogy Photo Archive ( While recovering at home, Joe spent lots of time doing genealogical research online. During the course of his work, he noticed there weren't any comprehensive sites focused solely on genealogy photos. There were plenty of personal sites like Smith Family Genealogy of Southern New Jersey or Arkansas Jones Family Genealogy that had family photos, but no site was available to help visitors doing general research. Around this same time, Joe discovered a photo of a woman holding a baby while sifting through his photo collection. Written on the back of the photo were the subjects' names and ages. Joe decided to track down this family online. Two days later, he had the adult son of the baby on the phone; until that phone call, the son never knew the photo even existed. The pictured baby died at the age of 95. One day following the phone call, the photo was sent home. Dead Fredıs Genealogy Photo Archive ( began on an America Online web site; luckily, the sheer amount of photos to be posted (over 2,000 identified images from the collection) were too much for an AOL account to handle. Consequently, Joe contacted local web development company Vulcan Creative Labs ( and hired the creative staff to put all the pieces of Dead Fred together. When the new site launched on March 16, 2001, there was bedlam. received 20,000 hits almost immediately. After hours of damage control and frantic management of the growing site traffic, Joe and Vulcan Creative Labs realized the massive scope of Many of the visitors asked to add their own ancestors' photos, hoping they might discover extended family members and possibly fill holes in their own family history albums. Some wanted to place photos that had been sitting for years in the closet of unknown relatives on Therefore,, with a big nudge from Vulcan Creative Labs and the site visitors, expanded by adding an online photo uploader. Since its unveiling, has been featured in the media on NPR (National Public Radio) KUAF 91.3 of Fayetteville, Arkansas, Northwest Arkansas Times, Fayetteville Free Weekly and numerous nationally distributed genealogy publications. According to Family Tree Magazine (, is considered one of the top 101 Genealogy sites on the Internet. Furthermore, has the largest Genealogy PhotoBase on the Internet; it has grown from 2,000 images to over 18,000 images with over 6,500 surnames and hits averaging over 22,000 daily.'s popular monthly newsletter, Dead Fred's Relatively Speaking: Unearthing Relevant News, Advice and Updates for the Living, has over 1,300 subscribers, and the mailing list continues to grow at a rapid rate. Most importantly, has had over 54 orphaned ancestral photos discovered, all of which have been sent home or are in the process of going home. Joe began to keep himself busy during his retirement after he turned 62 years old. On the other hand, now the site has taken on an incredible life of its own. To manage, he has partnered with Vulcan Creative Labs and his daughter-in-law Claire Bott. Together, the Dead Fred Archivists handle advertising, database upkeep and enhancements, promotions, newsletter distribution and photo submissions. is a work-in- progress. The site fills a specific need, and it's going to be an invaluable beneifit to the growing online genealogy community. "It's unbelievably rewarding to see these photos find homes," Joe said. "Hopefully, the rest of my Boomer cohorts out there can get those old boxes of photos out of the attic and get the contents scanned onto If you cannot scan the photos, make and mail copies to me. I'll scan the images for you. The service is free, and donating the old photos is definitely a cool thing to do." So why is the site named DeadFred? According to Joe, a photo of Frederick the Great in eternal repose was offered on eBay for a bargain. Joe snatched it up. He and his family exhausted long lists of candidates for the site name for two weeks, and they finally decided poor Fred deserved some increased popularity. The poor fellow had throat cancer by the time he ascended to the throne, and he could not say one word while in power. He died 99 days later. Furthermore, Joe's ancestors are of German descent. By having Fred, King of Prussia, as the guest of honor, Joe pays tribute, albeit with a touch of irreverence, to his heritage. Joe Bott DeadFreds Genealogy Photo Archive Visit Web site!
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