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