Ancestry.com

Potentially Fraudulent Sites Posing as Genealogy Websites

Posted by Ancestry.com on April 10, 2008 in Company News

We have recently become aware of three genealogy websites purporting to allow family history research: SearchYourGenealogy.com, Ancestry-search.com and Australian-Ancestry.com. The sites claim to have “the largest online genealogical search tool” and promote themselves as the foremost resources for genealogy, but from what we can tell, these sites are nothing more than a series of web pages with links to other services. These sites, in our opinion, are clearly fraudulent. 

On each site, potential customers are lured to purchase under what we feel to be false, misleading and deceitful promotional material, and get little or no value out of money spent at the websites. Blog and message board posts from the community confirm this opinion. 

The people/companies behind the websites are buying very high level paid search results on Google and other sites. In addition, they are using trademarks of well-known websites, including Ancestry.com and Genealogy.com, to get higher-than-normal natural search results. It appears the site colors, fonts, and pictures on at least one site are designed to mislead people into believing the site is related to Ancestry.com. 

As the leading online family history company, The Generations Network, Inc. and its website properties including Ancestry.com and its global network of Ancestry sites, Genealogy.com, and Rootsweb, we want to encourage consumers to validate and verify the legitimacy of a website before providing credit card information or paying for services. TGN will take appropriate administrative and legal action to do its part to protect the community from these sites.

49 comments

Comments
1 judy adamsApril 10, 2008 at 2:42 pm

thankyou for the warning

2 JanessaApril 10, 2008 at 3:23 pm

How exactly are people supposed to verify the legitimacy of a website if they can’t access the information before they pay? I hope The Generations Network is working hard to force these websites to shut down.

3 Marcel DevileeApril 10, 2008 at 3:55 pm

Ancestry.com is warning us against sites taking credit info and providing little in return? Oh the irony…

4 Alvie L. Davidson CGApril 10, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Thanks for the heads up. This wont be the first time thugs have become thieves under the guise of honest folks.

5 Connie Bradbury, CGApril 10, 2008 at 4:49 pm

Thanks for making us aware. Also, there is a commercial site masquerading under the same name the LDS Church has for a new Temple Ready program. It was somewhat difficult to get to the right site and save it in favorites because the commercial site kept coming up.

[...] Potentially Fraudulent Sites Posing as Genealogy Websites The sites claim to have “the largest online genealogical search tool” and promote themselves as the foremost resources for genealogy, but from what we can tell, these sites are nothing more than a series of web pages with links to other … [...]

7 Pamela WellsApril 10, 2008 at 8:27 pm

Please be aware of another website business which is good at taking your money and giving you no product. It amazes me they continue to draw in more and more people fraudulently. Caveat emptor!

8 Pamela WellsApril 10, 2008 at 8:28 pm

Please be aware of another website business which is good at taking your money and giving you no product. It amazes me they continue to draw in more and more people fraudulently. Caveat emptor! The name of the company is called ONE GREAT FAMILY! It is ONE GREAT SCAM!

9 Dan LynchApril 10, 2008 at 8:33 pm

To Janessa’s post (#2), one first way to verify is to check that there are peoples names, a company address, and phone number to contact someone. If you can’t find out anything or anyone to contact, that should be an initial red flag.

10 Diane Wilson FlynnApril 10, 2008 at 10:03 pm

Another site that charges over $200 per year but is not improved or supported by its owner, ancestry.com, is genealogy.com. The search filters are a joke — you get the same number of hits with or without them. After pleading for support for several years, I finally cancelled.

11 Hugh WatkinsApril 11, 2008 at 12:32 am

before buying at any web shop it is essential to ensure tht there is a snail mail address too – and not a box number either

I also use http://securityspace.com/sspace/index.html to check out owners

Registrant:
6684874 Canada Inc.
PO Box 178
St-Laurent, Quebec H4L 4V5
CA

Domain name: SEARCHYOURGENEALOGY.COM

Administrative Contact:
dns, admin admindns@interactivebrands.com
PO Box 178
St-Laurent, Quebec H4L 4V5
CA
514-733-2556 Fax: 514-733-2533

Technical Contact:
dns, admin admindns@interactivebrands.com
PO Box 178
St-Laurent, Quebec H4L 4V5
CA
514-733-2556 Fax: 514-733-2533

=============

Registrant:
6684874 Canada Inc.
PO Box 178
St-Laurent, Quebec H4L 4V5
CA

Domain name: AUSTRALIAN-ANCESTRY.COM

=========================
Registrant:
6684874 Canada Inc.
PO Box 178
St-Laurent, Quebec H4L 4V5
CA

Domain name: SEARCHYOURGENEALOGY.COM

==================

Bad news no responsible person named

http://domainhelp.tucows.com/ offers online domain sales

take care out there

12 Beverley ClarksonApril 11, 2008 at 3:16 am

I am grateful for the warning; so many new sites promise new info and it is so tempting.

I wish Ancestry would work harder to broaden its base of onto and in particular to remember that Canada is part of the continent and a major info source for early settlement.

13 UkubuntuApril 11, 2008 at 4:27 am

THis is one particular way fraud can happen through genealogy, the trouble is many are oblivious to the fact that they put online their own personal dates of birth, addresses, family names which includes mother´s maiden name of course and they do this not thinking it could be used by fraudulent others. I only need to put a john smith in my family tree, select a year and go searching for a number of potential ID Donors.

Please can we keep the message going out not to display sensitive info.

I do also agree with this thread, I feel you need to exhaust the free services and be select about the paid ones.

14 JoniApril 11, 2008 at 6:32 am

What a shame for us out there who are truely trying to get down to the bottom of our family’s genealogy. Or should I say TOP. There is always someone out there trying to ruin it for those who are being honest with what we are trying to accomplish. I know I find alot of faux information on Ancestry, but the fun of genealogy is researching for yourself, and you must do that before you click on that sight and add another name to your tree. Don’t be fooled, just because it’s there, doesn’t mean it’s real. Do you own research before you go on. However, on the other hand, Ancestry has helped me alot and I am really grateful to them. It’s a shame there are others out there that are nailing on us. Go on Cyndi’s List and check out her links. I never went wrong there.

15 JanApril 11, 2008 at 6:53 am

Thank you so much for the warning, I’ve forwarded the article onto friends who aren’t members of CFHS.

Jan

16 Greg ClaypoolApril 11, 2008 at 9:13 am

I’m the newsletter editor for the Louisville Genealogical Society. May I have permission to reprint this article, with all appropriate credits?
Regards, Greg

17 Jane SilfingApril 11, 2008 at 10:31 am

Greg, why credit Ancestry.com when you can credit the original source?

18 Philip WrightApril 11, 2008 at 2:47 pm

Regarding the “how can we tell” question … we in the genealogy community need our national groups like NGS and FGS to establish a certification program with a logo that can be prominently displayed on a site that complies with a NGS or FGS-generated ethical behavior policy. That’s my recommendation.

19 funkaliciousApril 11, 2008 at 8:37 pm

for Jane Silfing -
who is the original source of this article?

[...] of web pages with links to other services. These sites, in our opinion, are clearly fraudulent. for more click here [...]

21 JoyApril 12, 2008 at 7:12 pm

This is what happens when money = god.

[...] The full posting is available here. [...]

23 Jane SilfingApril 13, 2008 at 9:50 am

Greg, just read the message!
It fails to credit the blogs, but it links to the message boards the info is taken from…

24 Jane SilfingApril 13, 2008 at 9:51 am

For Mike Ward:

Why don’t you credit the blogs?

25 ruth meierApril 13, 2008 at 11:34 am

It’s too late for me–I paid their fee and found I could get no information at all, even things that I know are in the records. I realized I had made a mistake pretty fast, but that didn’t help. Money is too tight to be wasting it on fraudulent claims.. How do we find who is legal?

26 Charles MeiserApril 14, 2008 at 5:32 am

If it’s a fraud, why not dispute the charge with your credit card company. Remember, it’s the company who takes the hit not your credit card company.

27 Mary Beth MarchantApril 14, 2008 at 8:19 am

Regarding the web site “OneGreatFamily” I found last night that one of the County websites which was supported by Rootsweb has changed and is touting “OneGreatFamily” It is quickly apparent that a fraud is being perpetrated there. If I remember correctly, “OneGreatFamily” used to be a legitimate site and at one time was a subscriber site but then went to “free” I think. I guess someone has co-opted that one and turned it into fraud. As others have said “Caveat Emptor” and also resort to your credit card company, dispute the charge and refuse to pay, citing fraud.

28 BILLY J. SANDERSApril 17, 2008 at 12:58 pm

Ancestry has taken over all the information that used to be free. You require people to join for an inflated price. Regardless what you say about other weebsites you are not the best. I used your trial a few years ago. You couldn’t find any name I searched for. Even though the names were well known.

29 cathApril 19, 2008 at 9:13 pm

yes I was stung by “australian-ancestry.com” I paid my subscription and within ten minutes realised there was no information on australian genealogy at all, the home page on their website promised me the earth, well at least 12 databases anyway. I was emailing the company all day and requested a refund. I got the run around but after sending them their own refund policy they finally got the message. 7 emails later in the course of 3 hours I was offered a refund. But I didnt let up. They offered me a discount but I didnt stop till my refund was given. Please persevere and get your money back

30 Dave GeorgeApril 29, 2008 at 5:52 am

I consider it a very good thing that Ancestry.com cares enough about their members to forward this info.
Being a cop for 26 years I have seen Fraud played out and destroying peoples lives every day. Thugs live to drum up new ways to take advantage of the trusting public. I say keep it up Ancestry.com, and thank you for making this info available to me!!!!!

31 BelindaMay 6, 2008 at 5:04 pm

hi I only wish i had of seen this before i joined australian ancestry. I tried ringing them about there 7 days money grauntee. imagine my surprise when both no’s were not connected. I just emailed them for the 5th time no response… Oh well you live and learn

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[...] Potentially Fraudulent Sites Posing as Genealogy WebsitesWe have recently become aware of three websites purporting to allow family history research: SearchYourGenealogy.com, Ancestry-search.com and Australian-Ancestry.com. The sites claim to have “the largest online genealogical search tool” …Ancestry.com Blog – http://blogs.ancestry.com/ancestry [...]

35 link:genealogy.com | HottagsMay 8, 2008 at 5:21 am

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37 Cristina DumitruMay 8, 2008 at 11:09 am

Hello,
My name is Cristina Dumitru. We analysed your blogg and we are interested to enter in contact with you and purpose to become an acredited BLOGGER of Publicationweb.com.
Thank you!

Cristina.dumitru@publicationweb.com

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39 link:genealogy.com | Information BlogMay 8, 2008 at 7:31 pm

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40 Peter RileyMay 19, 2008 at 12:43 pm

6684874 CANADA INC these people are bad they will lie and cheat please complain to Google about fraudulant behavior otherwise more people will suffer thank you. Prar.

41 MikeMay 20, 2008 at 1:12 am

australian-ancestry.com is registered through tucows, and would
it not be better for ancestry.com to contact them direct.
this website is a blantant scam site
and should prevented from operating.
Mike
Western Australia.

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43 TylerSeptember 5, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Another fraud to watch for.
http://www.onegreatfamily.com.

Once you give them your credit card number they keep charging until you file a complaint with your card company.

Their parent company is z-corp inc in Springfield Utah.

They are not affiliated with the LDS Church though one of their domain names contains LDS.

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45 Michael SainsburySeptember 11, 2008 at 6:43 pm

How am I supposed to verify that you are legit? I do not appreciate being asked for my credit card details, address and phone number before I can access your site for a trial. I bailed part way through the registration process – it felt a bit sketchy to me.

46 Malcolm HillsOctober 13, 2008 at 10:53 am

Having read through this thread completely, I am concerned about the claims that OneGreatFamily is fraudulent. Would the people making such suggestion kindly provide some evidence that they are not getting what was advertised or what they think they paid for. My reasons for being concerned – I run some of their adverts on my site alongside ancestry.co.uk adverts and other genealogy offers, if they are not genuine, then I will need to rethink my advert and affiliate strategy rather quickly.

47 JaneOctober 24, 2008 at 11:08 am

I found a great site for looking up obituaries and its free, it is the National Hall of Records their site is http://www.nhor.org. Check them out.

Jane

48 Tyler HillOctober 26, 2008 at 1:06 pm

Re: #46 Malcolm – OneGreatFamily is an unethical firm. When pressed with legal action they will submit.

They stall refunds of the 10 day free trial. If you complain they then will demand documented proof of your correspondence.

They multiple bill and but will reverse the charges only if you open a formal complaint through your credit card company.

In my case I could not upload a gedcom that already resides on two other sites. After months of no progress I asked for my money back. A tech support agent told me it was my incompetence (i got a http 500 error which indicates a server problem). My credit card company reversed the charge. A representative of this firm spent a significant amount of time with the credit card company to have the charge reinstated claiming I canceled without cause. All this over $50!

They receive satisfactory ratings from the Better Business Bureau and other consumer rating agencies because they will back down in a fight.

They obviously feel this business model works because the complaints go back to 2002.

But would you trust your genealogical information with them?

49 J DicksonNovember 21, 2008 at 5:34 am

Purchased so called 3 year unlimited use on Australian-Ancestry.com, but after getting confirmation email with password and log in page to go to, kept getting told that page could not be found. I sent 2 emails to their support service and also phoned during the hours advised, only to hear recorded message that the centre in Sydney was closed.

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