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October 1, 2013

Uh-Oh I Hear Cries of "The Sky is Falling!" buys Find A Grave
Here we go again. Yesterday the big news came out that has purchased Find A Grave. And so it began... the nay-sayers jumped in immediately with cries of Ancestry Is An Evil Beast and Now The Site Will Not be Free.

But did those who were bemoaning this news read the Press Release from It clearly states they will keep the site free (just as they did for Rootsweb)

Jim Tipton, founder and owner of Find A Grave, had his own words of reassurance regarding the buyout.

Let's look at a couple of good things from this buyout:

1. Ancestry has much more money and resources to put into the site to expand it even more. This is a GOOD THING for genealogists

2. Jim Tipton is the founder and leader behind Find A Grave. Unless he left specific instructions and he knew someone who had the programming skills to continue with it if anything happened to him, the site could easily disappear. Now it has a more permanent home

3. The site was growing rapidly and becoming difficult to maintain. Now it has a huge team of skilled individuals ready and willing to tackle various technical aspects of running such a large site. 

We won't know how the buyout will affect Find A Grave until some time has passed. So let's just be patient, think positively, and wait to see. Oh yeah - and read the announcements from those involved!

Let's not all run around screaming "Run Chicken Little, the sky is falling!"


The Grandmother Here said...

Well said. Why does everything cause such panic? Sigh.

CallieK said...

I think I am always going to uncomfortable that one organization holds all of the records, especially when that organization is owned by a large religious organization. I'm just not a fan of monopolies in general.

Jo Henn said...

Agreed. I know I'm new to this, but I read the press release and didn't see a grand likelihood of anything bad happening. It seems that Ancestry has used them as a source for a good while and knows the value of the site as it is currently run; it is more to their benefit to preserve it than to meddle with it. There's enough hysteria in the world. No need to manufacture more, for Pete's sake.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

CallieK - Where do you get the idea of a "large religious organization"? is based in Utah but that does not make it religious.

And is actually owned by Permira, which is a European based company.


CallieK said...

It was my understanding that Ancestry has ties to the LDS church but perhaps I was mistaken in that. Never the less I stand by my comments about having one organization holding the rights to so much of our past - it makes me uncomfortable. Just my opinion.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

The only ties Ancestry has with LDS church is that they entered into an agreement with FamilySearch to digitize several billions of records over the next few years.

It's a business agreement, one made with another business. It's a normal part of the business world.

Having an agreement doesn't mean that one company is the same religion as the other.

And I do have to take exception to your comment that Ancestry "owns the rights to our past". Not true.

Ancestry pays to digitize historical records. It costs big bucks in people hours to index, the equipment to digitize said records, the server space, technicians to maintain the servers and on and on the cost list goes.

Ancestry, being a business, then charges for access to the documents they have paid to bring online. Instead of griping about it, genealogists should be thanking Ancestry and other big businesses for doing this.

If they didn't, we'd all be stuck without access to most of these records. Or getting to a place that has these records would cost us time and money.

Thanks to Ancestry we can do research from the comfort of our homes. They have not claimed rights to anything. They've just made our lives easier

@FlabbergastedMa said...

I hope it means they finally fix Mount Hope Cemetery in KW - it was incorrectly merged with or re-located as being in Kitchener, BC rather than ON

CallieK said...

To clarify- I have no ill feelings towards Ancestry- I'm a subscriber and have much benefited from all of the work they have done. And I totally understand why it was a necessity for Jim to accept their offer at this time. I just prefer not having their hand in everything. As I said, it's just my opinion.

Naomi Johnson said...

Of course they are keeping Find A Grave free. The site would not exist without the hundreds (thousands, perhaps) of volunteers that enter and police the data. I'm disappointed that has got its hands on yet another source of genealogical data. And I'm re-thinking my personal commitment to Find-a-Grave. I've been a volunteer less than 6 months, but I've posted thousands of photos and spent a lot of time and money in the effort, none of which I begrudged. But I dislike the corporatization of genealogical data. Beyond a brief fling with ancestry years ago when I first began digging for my roots, I have not subscribed. And between FamilySearch, HeritageQuest, the GenWeb network, Chronicling America, libraries and historical/genealogical societies, and other sites (even, yes, Facebook), I feel I have done very well without handing over my money or data to ancestry.

T said...

Could someone post the terms of use at ancestry? The part about who owns what that has been uploaded.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...


You can read the Terms of Use for yourself by going to the Ancestry website.

I prefer that readers NOT post large bits from websites as that is clearly a violation of the site's copyright.

Charlie said...

Tipton is only the founder of Find A Grave, but the true "owners" - the de fact "shareholders" of Find A Grave - are the ones who put their hard work into uploading memorials, photos, etc. Find A Grave should have been considered analogous to a mutual insurance company or mutual savings bank - owned by the members. The money he received from Ancestry should have been distributed, at least in major part, to all those shareholders.

Olive Tree Genealogy said...

Well Charlie I completely disagree with you.

When we volunteer for something, we do so understanding that we are NOT doing the work to get something in return (other than feeling GOOD).

It is Jim who created the site, who gave his time and expertise to do the technical work involved and who put in (and still puts in) the money and all the hard and laborious work of maintaining it.

Jim owns the site. It is his to do with as he wants.