Friday, July 1, 2022

Genealogy Guys Podcast Terminates Sponsorships by Find a Grave & Newspapers.com

Aha! Seminars, Inc., has terminated its sponsorship agreements for the Genealogy Guys Podcast with Find a Grave and Newspapers.com effective 30 June 2022.

The genealogical community has repeatedly requested that Ancestry.com, the parent company of Find a Grave, establish ethical policies and processes for controlling the addition of memorial records at its site. These include, but are not limited to, preventing "volunteers" from creating memorials indiscriminately for anyone they choose, especially for the recently deceased to whom they have no connection. Ancestry.com has incentivized such activity by publishing the number of memorials created by individuals. Ancestry.com has further encouraged competition by publishing announcements on Facebook and elsewhere naming "Volunteer of the Month' for the number of new records created. 

Within hours of the identification of victims of the recent massacre at the public school in Uvalde, Texas, "volunteers" added memorial pages for Find a Grave for the victims. These "volunteers" were not family members and did not have complete or correct personal information for the victims. These people usurped the rights of families. The genealogical community has been outraged that Ancestry.com has not implemented ethical and respectful policies that prevent this egregious activity by non-family members and impose a respectful delay on when and by whom memorials for recent deaths can be created. 

Aha! Seminars, Inc., contacted an Ancestry.com representative to appeal for changes and received boilerplate responses that neither acknowledged the problems nor indicated that any changes were forthcoming. Those boilerplate responses were apparently sent to all persons who contacted Ancestry.com to complain. 

Inasmuch as Ancestry.com has continually failed to address the problems and develop responsible, ethical, and respectable policies, especially after the Uvalde massacre, Aha! Seminars, Inc., no longer wishes to have Ancestry.com's subsidiaries, Find a Grave and Newspapers.com as sponsors of our podcast. We invoked cancellation clauses in the sponsorship contracts and effected the discontinuation of the sponsorships effective June 30, 2022. 

We hope that Ancestry.com will take action on this long-standing problem.


George G. Morgan, President

Drew Smith, Vice President

  



15 comments:

  1. Thank you for standing up for decency and ethics.

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  2. Very good reasons for ending your association with them. I had thought Find-A-Grave was already changing their policies in regard to this, but obviously are not keeping their word on it - or have continued their incentives, as you've explained, so that makes the "fix" useless..

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  3. Thank you very much. I have experienced a person who set up a memorial (with incorrect info) for my family member and didn't want to transfer it to me and ignored my request to change the info. The published obit was incorrect. It took awhile to fix.

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  4. I agree wholeheartedly. This happened with my Mom. She was a genealogist, and immediately after her death, someone posted her memorial, picture, obit, etc. It was something I wanted to do for her, as I had taken up her passion for family history. It gutted me. For people to do that for the families of the children killed in Uvalde? Well that's unconscionable. I'm certain it happened with Sandy Hook and other mass murderer tragedies. Thank you George and Drew for standing up for what's right.

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  5. Thank you for standing up and speaking truth to power!

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  6. That's gutsy guys! Thank you for standing up for ethics in genealogy.

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  7. Thank you for posting this. I found that someone had posted my sisters memorial (its only been 2 weeks) and was able to get them to transfer management to me and then I was able to edit so personal information was not shown. Do they not have to be family if less than a year.

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  8. Well said Gentlemen! We stand behind you and your ethics!

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  9. Thank you, Drew and George. It's wonderful to see the concerns of the community reflected in a concrete way. I applaud your courage and convictions and the way you have put them into action!

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  10. Wholeheartedly agree! FindAGrave has not been the same since Ancestry acquired it. I

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  11. Thank you. I lost a child 2021. We had a very private funeral and he was cremated. We did not publish an obituary. Our family is still trying to even process the sudden loss. I was absolutely sucker punched to find that within days of his funeral some Random Memorial Junkie had created a memorial for my boy on FG. She had over 10,000 memorials she created/managed and I had to ask her to turn it over to me, as FG doesn't have any standards. This practice is obscene and cruel. It isn't genealogy work. Thank you for standing up for decency. Drew and George- you have always been amazing.

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