Yesterday Ancestry.com announced its purchase of the FindAGrave.com website. During the last 18 years users have contributed 75 million photographs of gravestones to the free website. Find A Grave will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Ancestry.com, and will continue to be managed by its founder, Jim Tipton. Terms of the transaction were not released.
“We will maintain Find A Grave as a free website, will retain its existing policies and mode of operation,” said Ancestry.com CEO, Tim Sullivan. Ancestry.com plans to enhance Find A Grave by creating a new mobile app, improving customer support, and adding foreign-language support.
Republication or resale of any of the Content or other protected data is prohibited. Bots, crawlers, spiders, data miners, scraping and any other automatic access tool are expressly prohibited.
Feelings about Find A Grave run deep. I wrote an article once about Ancestry.com cooperating with Find A Grave volunteers, removing illegally posted photographs. The article generated more responses than almost any other article I’ve written. Most supported free sharing of photographs. Some did not want to see their photographs posted to Ancestry.com. (See “Monday Mailbox: Ancestry Removing Find A Grave Photos?”)
I recently came across a photo request on Find A Grave that had been marked with a warning: “Photo volunteers-please be aware the requester adds photos from Find a Grave to Ancestry.com.”
Almost all user reaction on Ancestry.com’s blog has said the same thing: This could be a good thing so long as Ancestry.com keeps it free.
The complete Ancestry.com press release can be read on their corporate website.