Internet Biographical Collection is Free at Ancestry

Ancestry.com logo.bmpAncestry.com just added the Internet Biographical Collection which is a compilation of genealogy information across the web. For the first few days, the information was in the paid section of the site. Based on community response to the addition of the Internet Biographical Collection, Ancestry.com has decided to make the database free. The site is also displaying a live link back to the source site where the information was extracted. The goal behind the collection is to help surface genealogical information that many people would not be able to find easily because it is often scattered among numerous websites across the Internet. We are currently evaluating the viability of this collection and whether it can meet its goals.

Ancestry.com recognizes the significant time and resources members of the genealogical community invest making family history information available for free online. Ancestry.com spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to support and protect the valuable information found on RootsWeb. We also provide many free collections and free tree-building features on Ancestry.com.

50 thoughts on “Internet Biographical Collection is Free at Ancestry

  1. Thanks for the update on this – several genealogy bloggers have posted about it today, including me at http://randysmusings.blogspot.com/2007/08/ancestrycom-is-caching-some-web-site.html.

    What about the legal issues raised by many of the people who feel angry and violated about this? What legal basis does Ancestry.com have to do this? Were legal agreements or contracts made between Ancestry and the web sites that have been “captured” by Ancestry in this collection?

    One of the problems with including blogposts in this collection is that EVERY post written by a blogger with a blogroll on their page will return the hit in this colelction. Even though my blog, Genea-Musings, is not yet scraped off the web by this collection, a Keyword = “genea-musings” produces links to posts on the blogs that have my blog name listed on their web page. Therefore, if a blogger has 1,000 posts with Genea-Musings on the blogroll, there will be 1,000 hits in this collection which have no useful content. I’m not sure that putting blog posts in this collection will really help researchers. It may be that bloggers with significant data will have to put the info on a more static web site.

    I believe that this database has real value to genealogy researchers, in that small web sites with genealogy data may be found by Ancestry account holders.

    Cheers — Randy

  2. As one of the many genealogists who had their website “hijacked” by Ancestry.com I was more than a bit upset, still am actually. Making the “Internet Biographical Collection” free is a step in the right direction, however, one must still register to be able to access this “free” database, so it really is not yet a “free” database – they get my email address for registering. . .

  3. As one of the webmasters of AHGP (ahgp.org) I’m appalled at the fact that Ancestry has hijacked, stolen, thieved from a non-profit 501(C)(3) domain. Many of the sites that Ancestry has stolen and placed in cache files, were from USGennet, the only 501(C)(3),non-profit website. Many of our webmasters are retired folks who have taken their own money and time to put data online, only to have Ancestry steal their work. What is worse, is with the hundreds of thousands of dollars Ancestry states they’ve spent on this search engine, they’ve stolen from a 501(C)(3). I am demanding that all sites on USGennet be removed from the cache.

    Shame on Ancestry!

  4. I find your “Internet Biographical Collection” appalling and disgusting simply because of the fact you are caching (copying?) other researchers’ hard work. This includes work from various projects that offer genealogical records for free, non-profit organizations, retired people on a fixed income and others. Is not a complete page with original graphics, original scans, original layout and such not copyrighted material? If so, how can you cache these pages and display (republish) them on your server and call it a part of YOUR “Internet Biographical Collection?” Why the need to cache the pages onto your server? If you are wanting to provide a search engine, fine. Do it. But would not a simple link to the live site suffice? Ancestry, I fear, has made a monumental blunder with the way they are handling this and is alienating a large segment of the genealogical community. And the disgust is growing daily. As supposedly a part of the genealogical community, you should seriously rethink this “collection.”

  5. I have free web sites on tngenweb, alhn, ahgp, usgennet. I am also a long time subscriber to ancesty and could not conduct my business without it. I can understand how many people are feeling about having the pages cached. We do promote and provide free genealogical information. There is room enough for these networks and generations.net. I would think if your company wished to keep its good standing in the genealogical community you will removed these cached pages and provide just the links. It was a good move to put the search engine on the non-paying-subscribers pages….now finish the job and remove the cached pages.

  6. As others have pointed out, Ancestry is using information posted on other sites for harvesting emails to be spammed and as a bill board for their services without permission. Through indexing it they are likely claiming more millions they have data on which seems rather like false advertising. I would think Ancestry.com would do far better to ask people to sign up for having their sites spidered and not just move in to make copies of it all. In the paper world copyright laws don’t give anyone the right to scan an entire book and make it available to others. How can they rightfully copy an entire website and offer it as a come on? Where else in the entire publishing world would that be legal? I don’t believe it is ethical or legal for Ancestry to offer free copies of anyone else’s work surrounded by their ads and indexed by them. Would it be okay for Barnes and Noble to offer free copies of the newest Harry Potter book, just to get you into their store?

    Your Friend,
    Janet Schwarze

  7. How come people aren’t complaining that Google caches sites? I find that sometimes when the original site is unavailable, that the cached site works as well.

  8. I suspect folks are not complaining about Google because (1) Google is not claiming the cached pages as part of THEIR “Internet Biographical Collection and (2)at Google do you have to register to see the cache, giving them your email address and such? And because one site does something, doesn’t necessarily mean its right. Ancestry is supposedly a part of the genealogy community and should have more respect for fellow genealogists and their work in my opinion.

  9. I, like others am disappointed to put it mildly that Ancestry has compromised our work suggesting by their caching that they themselves have researched the information.

    I assume it is now quite OK for us to copy ancestry information and make it part of our sites. There will not be any lawsuits filed I am sure if we do this. Their action says it’s ok to do so.

    Through the years I have assured my volunteers that their info will not be placed on a pay site.

    If you are truly going to have a FREE site, then do as Google does and others and not require an email or name to view your free stuff. On the USGenWeb we certainly do not. We just welcome viewers.

  10. Of course, Ancestry could just require that you register before even using the search engine.

    The Google cache states at the top that the cache is “Google’s cache of http://” The use of “Internet Biographical Collection” for their search engine is just semantics.

    Ancestry is essentially just backing up the websites by putting them in cache.

  11. Semantics or not, did all those webmasters ask Ancestry to back up their sites for them? Most folks are fully capable of backing up their own sites and don’t need Ancestry’s assistance in this matter. The actual point is, WHY is Ancestry doing this? Would not a simple link to the live site suffice? And is Ancestry claiming all these “cached sites” and the data therein, as a part of their “14,000,000 Records Added This Week?” What is Ancestry doing with the email addresses of the folks who are having to register to view the cache of OUR work, NOT their work? Lots of questions need answering.

  12. I don’t think this is an intrusive as it may seem at first glance. As stated earlier google and other search engines also use caches; and I frequently use their cache system for old pages or pages that are down (its a great feature if you don’t already use it). If you don’t like the intrusion on your page you can insert simple code onto your website and the “bots” won’t pull your information – of course it will be hard for anybody to find your page. Addittionally if the point is to share your information (as I think is the point for most genealogists), this is just another means to share it. If your point is to make money with your genealogy; make it a pay service with your data in the background, and ancestry won’t show it.

  13. As much as I am pleased that Ancestry has made a few changes, I am not completely satisfied. My blog, despite the fact that it clearly displayed a copyright notice that “You may not use this work for commercial purposes” WAS cached, and at first it was only the cache that was being shown to PAID subscribers.

    I continue to be upset that the SOURCE of the data shown is Ancestry.com. Sorry folks, you do NOT have my approval, and copies of my blog, even cached, do NOT belong to you (and this fact I have also indicated to your copyright attorney).

    My blog is not just public facts and dates that can be found in the public domain. Many of my articles contain one-of-a-kind photographs that I personally own. Many of my articles are personal creative stories that are not duplicated anywhere else.

    Every time one of your paying subscribers clicks on SAVE and adds my blog page to their “Ancestry shoebox” I consider that you have just sold a copy of MY blog article to them. WRONG.. it is just WRONG.

    Janice Brown
    PS Your copyright attorney has a copy of my contact info.

  14. Wait a minute! I’m confused. IF one has put their information online, it would obstensibly be for the reason to connect with others. If you just want to see it yourself, why bother? So, if it’s up there to help you find your extended family, why wouldn’t you be THRILLED that the biggest genealogical company in the world is diseminating it FOR you? The only reason that I would be upset – I think – is if I were trying to SELL that info myself, and they took it. Normally, how would one find YOUR stuff online? Would I just stumble on it, and THEN copy it? Unless you plan to write a book for profit, your “work” is a hobby and should, when shared, get you even more of what you love to do… Just a thought. I’d like to hear from others….

  15. Sorry, Janice – I had arrowed down to the blank and had not read your comments before posting mine. Unfortunately, it sounds like I’m giving an answer directly to you! How coincidental! But, I was NOT using the word “you” to indicate you specifically. I can see your frustration, and understand. May I see your website?

  16. ” If you don’t like the intrusion on your page you can insert simple code onto your website and the “bots” won’t pull your information.”

    If you go to archive.org and enter the USGenNet website into their search engine, you can pull up caches of their homepage from years past, but try to follow any links, and you’re told that USGenNet has disallowed this through their robots.txt file.

    So how did the pages from USGenNet appear at ancestry? My assumption, which could be wrong, is that Ancestry ignored the robots.txt file. I’m hoping this assumption is wrong.

  17. Jinny,

    It is the fact that Ancestry used it to make themselves look like a big contributor. I contributed it for people to use for personal information not profit.

    If Ancestry had not put their frame around it and intimated that it was THEIR data, then I would have felt differently. You are right, I do it because I love it and want to give back what has been given me.

    If Ancestry would say right up front where they found the information and not require a password of any sort to view it, then I would not have such a problem with them.

    I will be watching what happens to my data from now on.

  18. I have several genealogical web sites including http://www.genwebstalkers.com/ ( GenWebSalkers.com )
    Since I do not have a subscription to Ancestry how can I know that they are scanning my web sites?
    How can I submit a web site to be scanned?
    The headings above say that the service is free. How do I access that “free” sevice without being subscribed to it?
    Charles

  19. Creative work should be protected from theft more strongly than personal items from theft. I doubt that the average person will have more than one or two truly original thoughts in a lifetime — and should that individual share those thoughts with us in a blog that carries a copyright notice, the for-profit companies such as ancestry.com should keep hands-off. Stealing is stealing but stealing ideas and words is a worse offense that say stealing a car. A stolen car can be replaced; a stolen thought is gone forever. Ancestry.com should be put on notice that what they did/are doing is wrong. Intellectual property rights must be respected.

  20. I have a procedural question about commenting here. Does this site automatically discard comments that contain hypertext links in the body of the message? (i.e., that contains text with [a href="URI goes here"] linked text goes here [/a])

    I left comment yesterday; it didn’t appear. Trying to figure out why. I recognize this as a WordPress site and know that it will keep comments in moderation given certain circumstances.

  21. Obviously, what people put up on the web for free is there to be shared, yet it is still under copyright protection. The idea that if people don’t want this to happen they should start their own paid sites is neither very practical nor the way the real world works. If it was, there would be no public libraries where books could be checked out free of charge. If I was free to scan in the latest Harry Potter and make it seem to be my own just because it was freely availible in a public library the world would be a much sadder place.

    The differences between this and what Google does are many and unfortunately for Ancestry, the differences are all of a type that put Ancestry on the wrong side of the ethical divide. Google does not claim the content for themselves or attempt to mislead people into thinking that it is Google’s by slapping the Google brand on it, did not charge people to see other people’s content before being flogged into submission and does not use other people’s data and creative output to harvest email addresses.

    In some cases free content is put up to attract visitors to a site. Either for visitors to see the work as a whole in its full context as the copyright owner sees fit or so that the owner of the material presented can receive some sort of compensation for their hard work. That might be anything from money from AdSense advertising to asking people to register for a news letter or presenting them with services they can purchase or even asking for a donation to help pay the hosting bill. On the internet, traffic and contact information are part of the game. No one is putting out free content with a motivation to drive traffic to Ancestry- that is what Ancestry ads on genealogy sites are for.

    Yes, Google caches but it presents links to live content first and in an eye catching manner, the link to anything cached is small and comes later. Google, therefore, drives traffic TO people’s web sites far, far more than it keeps traffic FROM people’s sites. Many people’s free content is free because it is a labor of love and/or a work in progress. A person’s labor of love should not be scraped (plagerized, suffer copyright infringement), claimed by someone else and covered with someone elses branding. If a private person engages in this behavior they will find themselves on many a blacklist and their account blocked by their web hosting company.

    Additionaly, cached pages do not keep up with progress as well as the real thing and so are inferior unless the real thing disappears entirely. Then again, it may disappear entirely for a reason. I would not hesitate to remove something that I later discovered to be in error and I for one want that control over my creation. Its bad enough that I might have misled people who saw it, it is much worse if I can no longer remove the source of misinformation and people will go on being misled into the distant future.

    If Ancestry wanted to add value without stealing it could- 1) present links to live sites in preference to its own cached pages or better still only present cached pages if the site is no longer availible 2a) clearly indicate that they are acting as a search engine service provider not an information OWNER 2b) not being the owner, Ancestry should not present a full summary of the data but instead give just enough info for the user to know if they wish to continue to the actual site, ie. do it like Google does it. 3) clearly supply information on how a person or institution can have their content removed from Ancestry’s cache if they so desire 4) Clearly indicate how a person or institution can prevent their content from being cached in the future 5) allow people to opt in e.g submit their dying site if they will no longer present their information online by themselves and they agree to allow Ancestry to keep the information alive 6) not require people to give their email address in order to look at someone elses information- Google et al manage to do without that and they don’t have paid subscribers. This would allow Ancestry to ethically provide a service which attracts people to its site and entices them to become Ancestry subscribers and at the same time do something that has a chance of being appreciated by the site owners.

    Genealogists are often not taken seriously because we don’t cite sources and use other peoples work without giving them credit. Ancestry should not be in the business of encouraging that sort of behavior. Shall beginners be taught that it is ok to grab other people’s data and conclussions and make them seem to be their own? Is that a good future for our beloved pastime?

    I for one will be spending my genealogy budget elsewhere unless this is rectified immediately. For the record, I am not a disgruntled webmaster nor am I employed by Google. I have no site of my own (I wish I did) and have therefore not had my content hijacked. Nevertheless, I think any responsible member of the genealogy community should be deeply angered.

  22. I have no idea if my website has been hijacked by Ancestry.com because I do NOT care to sign in to use their newest attempt to steal information because I’ve been one of their victims in the past. I do know that our Google search engines agreement indicates we are not to employ other search engines in conjunction with it. Ancestry has no right to post our content on their own server and BY-PASS GOOGLE. We applied to use Google and we do NOT want the service Ancestry claims to be freely providing us to our benefit. If Ancestry has taken any of our pages from either of our servers (http://www.usgennet.org/usa/wi/county/clark/ and http://wvls.lib.wi.us/ClarkCounty/) has been cached by the new bot pot, I want them removed. Now, I know from past encounters that Ancestry doesn’t listen to the people who do the web sites. I think they should take down the new bot pot and set up one which only spiders sites who grant them permission to do so. I don’t expect that to happen because of my complaints, but I would hope Google might take your lawyers on. You’ve crossed the line here and I do hope someone is able to take you to task under the monopoly and fair practice laws.

  23. As a long time ancestry subscriber I am very disappointed in this “internet Biographical Collection”. Ancestry needs to spend their time and energy posting new document images such as the long promised Missouri State Census records rather than crawling the web, stealing people’s labors of love. This is highly unethical if not illegal.

  24. I think the biggest problem is that the sites are cached and the first most prominent link is to the cached version – not to the live website. The “collection” won’t help my website traffic – it will just allow people to get my website’s content without ever coming to my website. And these non-visitors will attribute the material that they found to ancestry – who stole it from my site.

    Sure, Google caches my site – but the cache is not the first most prominent link. Google also says that the information is mine – not theirs.

    archive.org caches my site – but they tell you that it’s cache from various dates of my site. They’re also not trying to take credit for my work.

    Google doesn’t seem to have trouble finding information “that many people would not be able to find easily because it is often scattered among numerous websites”

  25. As one of the assistant webmasters for ALHN/AHGP and the Clark Co., WI Internet library, I feel crushed to see Ancestry.com has staked claim to the many hours and expense that has gone into our site. The site is protected by: the US Copyright Law, Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. See the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. Why steal from the elder folks and folks who are trying to share their heritage for free?. It is not just family history we are preserving here, we are also preserving county history.

    We have many folks donating their pricey heirloom treasures to our site for safe keeping. Many of these folks fear it being taken by a for profit company. They felt safe to donate their items as we are a non-profit. Now it has been taken away from us and we feel we’ve been robbed of the time and energy it has take to build such a lovely site. We are a group who believes genealogy information should be available for free, as some folks can’t afford the high prices or services. I feel if one is looking for genealogy information online they know where to look and there is the free advertising; which goes unnoticed. It is called by the “word of mouth”.

    Google doesn’t stake claim to our site to promote their own genealogy business. They help folks find our site. Ancestry.com actually has it housed under their roof; which at any time they can decide to begin charging like they first started to do..

    A person gets charged for stealing a car or money, it shouldn’t be any difference if the information online. You don’t see one online store stealing items from another online store and trying to sell it as their own or give it away for free so people can be hooked into buying their subscription services.

    Crystal Wendt

  26. I’ve been told that Ancestry.com has “hijacked” pages from the Clark Co., WI Public Library site. Ancestry has no right to post our content on their own server and BY-PASS GOOGLE SEARCH ENGINE. We applied to use Google for their search engine and our contract forbids us to have another search engine for our site. We do NOT want the service Ancestry is providing because we satisfied with Google and don’t want our site associate with a for profit company that caches our pages and indexes them as their own. Do the right thing, take down the new Bot and set up one which only spiders sites who give you their permission. You are Monopolizing Internet Genealogy and you don’t care what you are doing to the hard work folks who posted their material on sites that you don’t own. We should not be forced to be a part of what you are doing. I believe family history should belong to the families who lived it and should not be owned by a company who is only interested in making money from it.

  27. Ancestry needs to explain why they added coding to my pages they hijacked.

    Does Ancestry have a clue as to how serious this problem is?
    This will not go away by placing the cached sites in a free area.

    I want my sites removed and I want to be paid for their usage of my site which is copyrighted. They are using our sites to get subscribers. When they announced the new product the failed to mention they hijacked sites that could be found online without Ancestry.

    They also did not filter adult sites, now Ancestry hasd x x x sites and language that I was offended to see.

    Margie Daniels

  28. Atho the Internet Biographical collection has been moved to the back pages I found it on page 2 of all bases or collections, or however they listed it….. I did not locate it on pg 2 yesterday and searched 14 pages and still did not locate it but didn’t continue to look thru the balance of pages as I could have been here all night.

    This is more than a mere search engine……….there are search engines that are free and can easily access web pages far better than this one as I have spent three days cking and am sick over this.

    I feel like someone has broken into my house, stolen some of my most prized possessions and left, flaunting them in my face, knowing I can do nothing. Maybe even someone placing a hidden camera in a bathroom not exactly the same, but Ancestry just being sneaky about it and just that dirty.

    While searching thru their list for the Internet Biographical link, I found one called Public Members Photos……[it may still be on pg 2 of the general list]. Photos that people had submitted to go with their ancestry tree and if you click on the thumbnail photo, the enlarged one pops up with a link to purchase better prints, coffee mugs, mouse pads etc with the photo on it. I doubt when those people submitted those photos, they ever thought they would be offered for sale. The disclaimer at that site, only says that people agreed for the public to see their submitted photos.

    I wonder if Ancestry ever said they would eventually be for sale?

    Doesn’t Ancestry have enough to do without caching other peoples websites and using them for financial gain?

    I PAY for the web space where I have my site…….Ancestry never advertised offering free space for our personal sites..that would make it a little different..that would give people the opportunity to have free space or not. Ancestry could then make their own rules about its use of free space.

    I can change my public site where I PAY for space but that doesn’t mean ANCESTRY is ever going to go back and update any of their cached sites. If any information is wrong, it will be parroted forever by Ancestry.

    I thought Ancestry knew something about research and genealogy. I think its the pocket book for them and has absolutely nothing to do with furthering the research world of genealogy. I think this is one of the most underhanded things any company could do. With their business size, and supposed stature, this is comparable to taking candy from a baby.

    I hope Ancestry gets all the grief they deserve over this.
    No guts, no glory, right Ancestry??

  29. I do not think the issue here is whether or not to share the information or how to best share it. What bothers me is the fact that many are working hard to freely share this information through their own web sites, GenWeb, ALHN, etc and it was being used to enhance a business. Not that it was being shared without the posters making money, but that, directly or indirectly, a business was increasing their profit potential by the very existence of these works. Whether they offer it free, or however they may wish to justify it, Ancestry’s overall money making capabilities would be enhanced by using this search engine.

    If sincere in desiring to archive the web sites by caching them, then why not start a service where they would archive/back up sites of those who wished? If you want your data archived/backed up, you could register your site with them for free and they in turn could cache it, if they offered it to others for free. But I do doubt this as true intent.

    As an aside, I am extremely annoyed at the high price I must pay for my Ancestry subscription, and now I have to struggle to see the information with the distraction of loudly jumping and pulsing banner ads that have NOTHING to do with genealogy. This is something you have to put up with on a free site. I do not find them on NEHGS or Heritage Quest.

    Also, now that they have made so many “improvements” the date range feature no longer seems to have as much effect on the search results. Also, in what I suspect is an effort to show how many many hits you get on every search, there is now a lot of garbage included where I did not find it before.

    As leaders of the genealogy community, Ancestry should be encouraging learning sound genealogical practices. “Internet gedcom of so and so imported mm/dd/yyyy” is NOT A SOURCE. It is a note of a possible place to look for sources, but only if the submitter of the other tree is given, and in almost every case, it is not. In the hit list for One World Tree, all these trees that use another non-sourced tree as their source should not show up with “sources given” icons. The uninitiated should be told the difference between a possible clue [which can lead to a great discovery, even if the clue is incorrect] and a fact [a verifiable discovery already made, with a source given]. The beginner all too often assumes that if many think it then it must be so, when in fact they may all be copying the same misinformation.

  30. Yes, Ann, and are you aware that the same trees appear on One World Tree and Rootsweb’s WorldConnect? However, for some reason the Ancestry ones [fee to access] are cached and the Roots ones [free to all] are updated. The counters somehow are synchronized, but if you find the same tree on both and look carefully, you will find differences. The first time I noticed this I thought it was an error and emailed the owner of the tree, a fellow researcher I frequently correspond with. He told me as a general practice, whenever he finds a tree on Ancestry he checks to see if it is on WorldConnect and uses that one since it will be more up to date. I discovered this by accident and it was very frustrating, paying $$ for something inferior to the free product. If they do not have time to update them both then they should just provide a link to Rootsweb–there are plenty of links to Ancestry sprinkled liberally throughout Rootsweb!

  31. I’m having a hard time accepting that there are so many naive folks in the genealogy community who had not fully realized that Ancestry.com doesn’t have a single philanthropic bone in their corporate body. They are now, and have always been, in the business of making money. Maybe their marriage to Rootsweb gave them an illusory mantle of respectability?

  32. No problem with them making money–I applaud it. Not making money would prevent them from offering good service. But, more and more, it seems they are cutting corners and giving less value for our dollar spent. Sooner or later this will catch up and work against them.

  33. i think it is good for them to have info for searchers like us but i think they should leave our headers on it and all we should get the credit for the info we provide not them. i have never had to pay to see anything i search for on these sites. not that i find everything i search for mind you but still. i do think however that when one removes there info from the site that it should be removed so others cant get it and such. i dont think we should have to pay for all the things that some say we pay for but in the same retrospect i dont think we should have to pay the high price for gas and food and such either. this is the year 2007 and times have changed. sometimes there are things we can do to insure or help to insure that we dont pay high cost for things but as i said we have to pay to survive sometimes and if we want the info we have to pay. we dont get b.c. for free nor do we get d.c. free either. it cost us to get anything anymore including medical copies of our own medical records so what can you expect. things are not going to get easier either as with the times of our days. we have to pay for alot of things now that we didnt have to pay for when we were growing up. the all mighty dollar dont stretch as far as it used to. its called economy. it cost more to do somethings than others. i just feel that if i submit something to them then i should get the credit not them. and i shouldnt have to pay to view my own work in progress persay. this is really all i have to say on this matter. thanks for letting me vent or say my peace thanks again bye.

  34. Well done to the general public and their outcry!
    When this new database was released I just shook my head realizing Ancestry.com had “done it AGAIN” and AGAIN thinking they were pulling the wool over people’s eyes. I’m glad the public web owners made enough notice to make Ancestry.com retract their databse.

    This is NOT the first time Ancestry.com has done this and so many people and subscribers just “never got it” in the past. Maybe they will now. To those of you who pay for an Ancestry subscription, have you ever wondered where those many family trees came from that you PAY for??? In short, FREE from me. In the past many of us “innocents” put our family trees online with RootsWeb, Ancestry.com, Family Tree Maker, or MyFamily.com in good faith for FREE to attract cousins to contact us. Suddenly we found our research that we took many months and years to compile, being SOLD on Ancestry.com CDs! The same information family trees found online with a PAID Ancestry.com subscription. What does the legal system call making profit from stolen property? THEFT!!! Many of us caught on years ago, sadly many many more haven’t clued in at all.

    This was not a one time deal, it’s been ongoing for years. As the internet has progressed and Ancestry.com/MyFamily/Generations Network has merged with various organizations (RootsWeb, GenForum. Family Tree Maker as examples) over the years their database of FREE family trees grew and grew and continues to grow as their subscription rates have gone up and up! Wake up people!!!!

    I’m delighted to see this latest uproar and public pressure has made them remove the websites from their paid subscriptions. In the past many of us got no where when we contacted Ancestry.com or were ignored when we contacted them regarding blatantly STEALING our family trees from under our noses and making HUGE profits from through their early CD sales and now website subscriptions. I for one removed my tree from the web long ago, however it still can be accessed by Ancestry’s circulated CDs with absolutely no credit given to me for my years of research!

    It’s now time to go after Generations Network about the FREE private family trees they are also profiting from.

  35. We have subscribed to ancestry.com at the highest level for several years and count ourselves fortunate to do so. For approximatley $30.00 per month I have access to more records (instantly!) than I would ever locate or search in a lifetime. Friends “wonder” how we can afford such a luxury. It’s simple. No cable or satellite TV. We realized that the cost was comparable (TV is higher) and that with premium TV available, we wouldn’t do genealogy and if we did genealogy, we wouldn’t have time to watch much TV. To us it’s a no-brainer.

    Having said that, I am one of the severl thousand volunteers working on the Family Search Indexing (familysearchindexing.org) project and will be happy when everyone will have free access to all the millions of microfilm rolls held by the LDS Church.

    Meanwhile, the grocery store, car mechanic, plumber, and carpet cleaner all perform services and expect to be paid. Why should we ask Ancestry to forego earning a profit?

  36. David, I don’t argue about the resources Ancestry.com offer.

    Does your local farmer give your grocery store his produce FREE so the grocery business can profit? No, of course not. So why should Ancestry.com be profiting from other people’s private research? I know how much time I spend researching, and how much I pay for postage, records, certificates, microfilm fees and gas 40 km one way to my nearest LDS FHC on a weekly basis. As with any other hobby, genealogy comes at a price.

    I agree fully with supporting LDS’s Family Search program and do!

  37. I call this an unethical and underhanded business practice and it scares me to think that Ancestry has turned into a Big Brother organization. I, too, am appalled that information I have uploaded in the spirit of a free sharing of information with my fellow genealogists is being denied to me unless I pay a fee. Genealogists are a generous bunch in almost all cases, and happy to share with each other. We cannot allow Ancestry to destroy this most American practice.

  38. I agree with you. I WILL be taking my information off ancestry.com. I was very disappointed when I found that I could put all my information there FOR FREE but yet they want to charge me to access other information. CRAP! As someone else stated ‘geneologists are a generous bunch in almost all cases and happy to share with each other’.
    Disappointed in MI

  39. OH PUHLEZE! can we all just grow up? History belongs to all who will learn from it. I am grateful for any information, anywhere. I accept the responsibility to confirm the info for myself.

  40. FOR EACH ONE WHO FEELS THEY HAVE BEEN VIOLATED BY THE THEFT OF YEARS OF WORK DO AS I DO – POST ERRONEOUS DATA ON THEIR WEB SITE. AS RESEARCHERS SOON LEARN THAT ANCESTRY’S DATA IS CORRUPT THEY WILL LOSE WHAT LITTLE CREDIBILITY THEY HAVE.
    I TRY TO DO THIS AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH.

  41. ANCESTRY IS IN VIOLATION OF UNITED STATES COPYRIGHT LAWS AND I WOULD SUGGEST TO ANYONE WHOSE DATA HAS BEEN STOLEN AND USED BY ANCESTRY.COM TO FILE A LAW SUIT AND CHALLENGE ANCESTRY.COM

    ANYTHING THAT IS WRITTEN IS AUTOMATICALLY COPYRIGHT PROTECTED BY U.S. LAW. YOU DON’T HAVE TO HAVE A COPYRIGHT NOTICE (ALTHOUGH IT IS RECOMMENDED). ALL SHOULD IN THE FUTURE DISPLAY SUCH A NOTICE ON THEIR WEB SITE AND SPECIFICALLY ANNOUNCE THAT ANCESTRY.COM IS BARRED FROM ACQUIRING, USING, DISPLAYING, SELLING DATA WITHOUT YOUR EXPRESSED, WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION.

  42. ANOTHER THING GENEALOGISTS CAN DO IS TO POST ANY FREE SITES THAT HAVE CENSUS RECORDS, ETC. AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO PEOPLE SPENDING MONEY ON ANCESTRY.COM. THERE ARE ALSO PLACES THAT ARE PAY SITES BUT MUCH MORE REASONABLE SUCH AS OLD NEWSPAPER ARCHIVES, ETC. THERE IS NO REASON ONE SHOULD FREQUENT ANCESTRY.COM FOR ANYTHING UNLESS IT IS ABSOLUTELY FREE. IF THAT SITE ASKS FOR INFORMATION FROM YOU THEN GIVE YOURSELF A LICENSE TO LIE!

  43. Ok,has anyone had thier Family Tree Maker “hyjacked”. Well my Aunt and I have for year’s [we had thought]. So I got really tired of it and tried an experiment today.I put some info on a new FTM page, then of course went about my business for a couple of minutes. Then went to Ancestry and looked for my fictious family, word for word it was there. Am I wrong for trying this or what? I have been a member from the time it started, I thought it was a trustworthy company. Sad and dissapointed. This is not the only act of “stealing” from them I have had. Just want to see if there are other’s out there.

    Happy Days
    Linnie

  44. Does anyone know how to have trees removed from One World Tree. Ancestry did remove my old trees (added when I was new at this and distracted by getting diabetes) but the old trees still float at One World Tree. Is there any way to have them removed?

  45. You stole all my info and want to charge me to access it. I cant go correct my mistakes so you are charging people to see false information ..your site sucks You be better off with a ouijia board for genealogy

  46. Pingback: Bluebonnet Country Genealogy » Blog Archive » The other shoe drops…

  47. I cancelled my account with Ancestry.com before the the free time was up, but they went ahead and charged my credit card for $155.40. I think this site is a rip-off they only give you teaser’s to suck you in with finding your ancestry background. I was was promised a to be reinbursed, they steal from the poor as well as steal there information they are charging people for.

  48. how do i get real history on my past ancesters and family without creating my own tree for free??!!

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