You are correct: AOL was spawned from QuantumLink, via Apple. Same company, of course; different specialized software.
I got into BBSs immediately after my exposure to CompuServe. At first that per-minute charge really rattled me, as it did many. It was easier to "pay" for BBS usage with file and document uploads. But yes, CompuServe was the first consumer online service. It went live earlier in 1979 than The Source.
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