I acquired Spell.net on sort of a whim. I've been in the Web development business since 1994. For some time, I'd been toying with the idea of acquiring a domain for my own personal use. It's not that I need the server, I can hang my own site on any number of servers that I administer. But all of those sites are really owned by someone else. Out here in the last frontier, there's an infinite amount of wide open spaces. Create your own virtual 1000 acre ranch.
So what do I name my own domain? Forget cyber-this or e-that. Too many short-lived cliches out there. I want something I can live with in eighteen months. The best thing about having your own domain is you get a permanent e-mail address. Heck, you have your own mail server, make up as many addresses as want. You're not owned by any company, you're not at the mercy of some ISP who may sell out tomorrow. You're the "master of your own domain" (pun intended).
A buddy of mine suggested Spell.com. Simple enough, hey it works for me. Hmmm, I'll look it up... taken. Most of the good domain names are long gone. (There's a lot of clever, greedy people out there who think they're going to get rich by stockpiling domain names and reselling them later. They're carpetbaggers, don't give into them.) Alas, Spell.net is available, and just as well, it suits me better anyway. Leave Spell.com for some enterprising soul who wants to host a Web-based spell checker. Spell.net it is.
A funny thing happened along the way. My domain name and server came through in less than 18 hrs., amazingly fast. I had to put up a page, quick, just for me. I scanned in the picture of William Frederick Spell. He'll watch over the site until I figure out what to do with it. You see, he's my great-great-grandfather. My line of the Spells begins with him. My grandmother gave me that photo a few years before her death. On the back, in her own handwriting, she wrote his name, birth and death dates, along with those of his wife. "Cool", I thought, "I'll scan this and put it underneath the photo." So I did.
I'm looking at the page on my screen. Then it dawns on me. Today is October 6, 1998, and Spell.net is launching. William Frederick Spell was born on October 6, 1838, 160 years to the day. Coincidence? I think not, what are the odds? Providence acted here, I'm sure of it.
If you are or were a Spell, or are otherwise kin of mine, I'd like to hear from you. You see, I've got a 1000 acre ranch here with our name on it.