I must admit that my heart sunk when I read this headline. FindAGrave.com has turned into one of the most successful all-volunteer projects on the Web with over 105 million graves located and indexed with photos and descriptions. The links to other related grave sites are extremely valuable. Now I do appreciate the resources of Ancestry.com, but I am very concerned that the volunteer effort of FindAGrave.com will falter if the volunteers think they are simply enhancing Ancestry.com's holdings.
The press release from Ancesty.com, which I will forego copying in its entirety, is dated September 30, 2013. But quoting from the release:
"Find A Grave is an amazing phenomenon supported by a passionate and engaged community of volunteers around the world," said Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry.com. "We at Ancestry.com are so excited...honored really...to take on the responsibility of supporting this community. We will maintain Find A Grave as a free website, will retain its existing policies and mode of operation, and look forward to working with Jim Tipton and the entire Find A Grave team to accelerate the development of tools designed to make it even easier for the Find A Grave community to fulfill its original mission to capture every tombstone on Earth."
Ancestry.com plans to bolster the resources dedicated to Find A Grave to launch a new mobile app, improve customer support, introduce an enhanced edit system for submitting updates to memorials, foreign-language support, and other site improvements.I have recently been discussing the monetization of genealogical records. I have also recently predicted that the large commercial genealogical companies would continue to expand by acquisitions. It looks like my predictions are being further vindicated. All I can say at this point, without seeing any of the effects of the acquisition, is to encourage those who are involved in FindAGrave.com to continue their great work. Other than the usual ad for Ancestry.com, the site has not changed as of today.