Posted by Tony Blackham on December 23, 2017 in Website

Update: RootsWeb updates can be found on RootsWeb homepage.

We want to share an important security update with you.

Last Wednesday, December 20, Ancestry’s Information Security Team received a message from a security researcher indicating that he had found a file containing email addresses/username and password combinations as well as user names from a server. Our Information Security Team reviewed the details of this file, and confirmed that it contains information related to users of Rootsweb’s surname list information, a service we retired earlier this year. For those of you who are unfamiliar, RootsWeb is a free community-driven collection of tools that are used by some people to host and share genealogical information. Ancestry has been hosting dedicated RootsWeb servers as a favor to the community since 2000. Importantly, RootsWeb does not host sensitive information like credit card numbers or social security numbers, and is not supported by the same infrastructure as Ancestry’s other brands. We are in the process of informing all impacted customers and will also be working with regulators and law enforcement as appropriate.

We also reviewed the RootsWeb file to see if any of the account information overlapped with existing accounts on Ancestry sites. We did confirm that a very small number of accounts – less than one percent of our total customer group – used the same account credentials on both Rootsweb and an Ancestry commercial site. We are currently contacting these customers.

In all cases, any user whose account had its associated email/username and password included on the file has had their accounts locked and will need to create a new password the next time they visit.

What Happened

Immediately after receiving the file containing the RootsWeb surname list user data, the Ancestry Information Security Team commenced its analysis of the file and its contents, and started a forensic investigation of RootsWeb’s systems to determine the source of the data and identify any potential active exploitation of the RootsWeb system.

As a result of that analysis, we determined that the file was legitimate, although the majority of the information was old. Though the file contained 300,000 email/usernames and passwords, through our analysis we were able to determine that only approximately 55,000 of these were used both on RootsWeb and one of the Ancestry sites, and the vast majority of those were from free trial or currently unused accounts. Additionally, we found that about 7,000 of those password and email address combinations matched credentials for active Ancestry customers. As part of our investigation, our team also uncovered other usernames that were present on the RootsWeb server that, though not on the file shared with us, we reasonably believe could have been exposed externally. We are taking the additional step of informing those users as well.

We believe the intrusion was limited to the RootsWeb surname list, where someone was able to create the file of older RootsWeb usernames and passwords as a direct result of how part of this open community was set up, an issue we are working to rectify. We have no reason to believe that any Ancestry systems were compromised. Further, we have not seen any activity indicating the compromise of any individual Ancestry accounts.

What We’ve Done

As a result of this discovery, we have taken two immediate corrective actions.

First, for the approximately 55,000 customers who used the same credentials at RootsWeb’s surname list and Ancestry – whether currently active or not – we have locked their Ancestry accounts and will require that they create a new password the next time they visit. We have also sent them emails to alert them to the situation. Though we have seen no activity that indicates these accounts have been compromised, we believe taking this additional measure is the right step to ensure the security of these customers. If you have not received an email or a notice requiring you to change your password, you have not been affected. Again, this issue involves less than one percent of our users, so there is a very good chance your account wasn’t involved.

Second, we have temporarily taken RootsWeb offline, and are working to ensure that all data is saved and preserved to the best of our ability. As RootsWeb is a free and open community that has been largely built by its users, we may not be able to salvage everything as we work to resolve this issue and enhance the RootsWeb infrastructure.

What You Should Do

If you are a customer whose account was impacted, you will receive an email telling you that you need to change your password. In that case, you will be required to create a new password the next time you visit Ancestry.

For the vast majority of customers who are not impacted by this, there is nothing you need to do as a result of this incident. However, we always recommend that you take the time to evaluate your own security settings. Please, never use the same username and password for multiple services or sites. And it’s generally good practice to use longer passwords and to change them regularly.

What We’re Doing from Here

As always, your privacy and the security of the data you share with us are our highest priority. We are continually assessing our policy and procedures and always seeking ways to improve our approach to security. We understand the importance of our role as stewards of your information and work every day to earn your trust.

We are doing a deep analysis of RootsWeb, its design and how we might be able to help the community enhance the site and its services. It is our desire to continue to host these tools for the community with appropriate safeguards in place.

Please let us know if you have any questions at Support Center, and thank you for your understanding.

Tony Blackham

Tony Blackham is Chief Information Security Officer at Ancestry.


  1. Lynne Uhler

    PLEASE bring back the RSL! It was THE most useful tool you had for finding those who were researching the same families. WHY or WHY did you ditch it???? Please resurrect it or open another way for us to recreate it. Humbug on the DNA, I want communication with those interested in the same families.

    • Marianne Uhler

      what is the matter. I cannot get into ancestry for more than 2 minutes. Lynn – are you related to Uhler’s of Northampton co., PA?

    • Gerald Armstrong

      Come people WAKE UP —Its The Business AMERICAN Way
      Buy out your comapution (like Rootweb with At least 500,000
      customers. and the charge them a FEE. Some honest people
      in Congress created the ANTI-TRUST LAWS to protect consumers
      But unless it’s HIGH Profile, Law enforcement agencys don/t enforce.
      So the consumer are again {SCREW) —–The Businesses American Way”
      Sometimes the customers quit using the business goes Bankrupt and
      Then the government lets the companies write off their losses and start
      a new company—-the customer gets the AMERICAN BUSINESS SCREWING
      again !!!!!! So sucks it up and tell Them to go “HELL”.
      Customer get “SCREWED” again
      the Law!! Screw the a\American Consumer.

    • C

      Please consider that all participants that use this most valuable site are adults (thereby; not children) capable of understanding the risks we take when using the web.
      PLEASE open up rootsweb for those of us who are adult enough to know the risks we take every time we go online, give out and/or share our information. STOP THE BULLYING!

    • Sharon Pinner

      I have used Rootsweb extensively!! I love this site and if I can no longer use it I will be more than upset. I am on a fixed income so paying for a service is not in my budget!! There are so many of us out there who enjoy this site and paying is not something we are going to do!! We want the site back asap!!! Thank you

      • David is a free site; registration is free (currently optional, but soon to be required). Registered users are able to access some resources that are otherwise reserved to onsite Family History Centers.

        • Kathryn

          This is an outrage! Yes, Family Search is free to use, but some of us have family members who were early in posting their data online to share. Their entire pedigrees going back for generations and in our case, to Europe, with all the citations for foreign sources are all on Rootsweb. These folks have already made that good faith effort to do right by their cousins like me, and aren’t necessarily going to re-enter or re-post their extensive files on Family Search.

      • I have dozens of web pages with Alaska history on them and they are all “locked”? “Gone”? I totally agree with Sharon Pinner, I’m on a senior citizen budget and I value Rootsweb greatly. Please bring it back.

    • nikki_r5

      Yes: is a free site & registration is free.
      Anything & everything put on Ancestry or shared w/ those on Ancestry is then theirs and out of your control ! My cousin traveled the country at his own expense. He shared the info. w/ a cousin on Ancestry (mixed up the information) & now it’s out there for others to “pay to see”.

    • George

      If the breach of security happen, then why have I not been notified or heard this on the news. I found out this after a rootsweb hosted site was off line “FamilyHart”. They were lucky and have mirror sites but not for my my trees which are locked up till fixed. It is interesting that in October 2017 my trees on ancestry are gone missing, also GEDCOM uploaded trees. Is;s interesting all this started with the change of leadership and Tim Sullivan moving to the Chairman of the Board of Directors also on Oct 1. Very strange what is happening and I hope this breach of security is released to the media so everyone knows that our Personal information was possibly breached. Didn’t Uber just get into trouble for hiding their breach of their system.

    • Judy Philpott

      What Is Going On With ANCESTRY This Is Going On For To Long . I Have Now Had To Go To FAMILY SEARCH For Information

      • Jeanetta Sharp

        I’m working on a DAR supplemental application on my Hagler family. It’s almost like this entire family has been locked up! One individual alone HAD 52 other public Ancestry trees that I can’t get to now. I think this will be the last year I bother to subscribe to Ancestry. Do I ever miss World Connect and the old Genforum boards where you could actually correspond with people who were seriously researching their families instead of mostly a bunch f “leaf clickers”, who don’t even bother to read the original documents!

      • Patricia

        Just so you know, FamilySearch is filled with mistakes and you MUST verify everything you find there. I had to delete a whole line due to someone not doing their homework and finding the right parents and building the right line. I know it probably made some people mad but I believe in verifying with documents and not just copying and pasting unverified info from someone else’s tree. I’ve found parents who had kids when they were 150 years old and kids that were born before their parents were. My mom does Temple work and even she said many people doing the work just don’t pay attention and dig deep to make sure the info they are adding on trees are correct, remember many of the people creating them are not family members, just people from the church who have volunteered to do the work. Buyer beware.

  2. As a paying customer at Ancestry, I still rely on tree hosting at RootsWeb to provide the kind of tree hosting I expect the web to provide. I had made limited use of the RSL in the past, and would hate to lose it. But unless and until Ancestry’s own tree hosting begins to allow the updating of an already-existing with a newer GEDCOM, I would be terribly hampered by the loss of RootsWeb tree hosting.

    • Jim Orrell

      here here, I still think the now ancient Rootsweb trees are the best, fat better than all the ‘bells and whistles’ sites, they will read and display nearly any GEDCOM file. The only thing they don’t cope with are ASSOciations, but then very few programs do, even though Gedcom based Family Historian caters for them, it is difficult to produce any reports.

      • claudia

        I too am a paying customer to Ancestry and I also have Gedmatch, and FTDNA. The FTDNA does the best job of matching cousins, so far I have NOT found Ancestry to be very helpful at all. It is my least favorite of all the others. I HAVE ALWAYS liked Rootsweb the best and helps us see the trees of other people with the same possible lineage. The trees are so much more helpful than anything else out there. Ever since Ancestry bought it out it has gone downhill since then. Ancestry give us the Rootsweb site back and don’t make excuses for why you took it off line.

    • Susan B

      I too am a paying member with Ancestry, but like to use Rootsweb. Please fix the problem.
      I hate to think Ancestry would do away with Rootsweb. My faith will be restored when Rootsweb is up and running again.

    • We find Rootsweb WorldConnect far superior to Ancestry trees, greater control and ease of update. We recently discovered that the tree we had put up for DNA purposes was not consistent with the tree itself. The tree attached to the DNA results changed the location of events as it was matching locations beginning with the city/township/parish instead of starting with the country. Consequently events that occurred in England showed up in Texas and California in the tree attached to the DNA results but the full tree still showed the events taking place in England. There was 1 and only 1 tree which has since been removed.

    • Carol Hayward

      Are we going to be reimbursed for the weeks/month that RootsWeb is off-line???? I use it daily for many searches.

      • Jess

        reimbursed for what? IT’S A FREE SERVICE?
        I cannot believe how many people are DEMANDING their FREE service be restored immediately!
        Yes, it’s an inconvenience, but get over it.
        As a PAYING Ancestry user, I would much rather them be safe and protect the customer than to take chances. No, I was not one of those affected, thankfully. But, for those who were, I wouldn’t want to risk the information still being online. Also, since it was a security breach, it’s possible that someone could have gained access again until the problem was resolved. Calm yourselves. Your ancestors are going to stay dead, they aren’t going anywhere.

        • skewline

          Paying customers of Ancestry have every right to demand that Ancestry return Rootsweb to working order. It’s those customer $$ that allow Ancestry to provide the “free” service in the first place. Yes it’s free to non-customers of Ancestry, and yes those coasters have no valid right to demand anything.
          Apparently RW is an extremely useful tool to payers and non-payers alike. And since Ancestry has lured paying customers into the genealogy hobby with freebies like RW, they have an obligation to continue providing that service to the paying customers, at a minimum.

        • JShrum

          Jess if you have contributed to RootsWeb or any other “Genealogy Site” you should be a aware of a few things. First of all these sites are build by users who have researched, sometimes years; in my case. We contribute this information which is then sold to other users. Not only should this be a slap in the face, these so called “Genealogist” that run this site, charge people into the thousands of dollars to trace their ancestry. It’s a good thing we did all the work for them. It took me ten years to trace my ancestry, with absolute certainty, to the 15th century. All sourced and in order. Because I refused to post my sources, I was blocked from a few sites that is ran by Sites I paid to access. I have spent hundreds over the last ten years for the information I obtained. Do you think they took my information down? No they did not. Someone “adopted” my profile, and revamped it with, I believe intentionally, with misinformation. They shut this site down so they can revamp and turn it into a pay site.

    • Jude

      Try Wikitree. I find Rootsweb trees useful because I don’t want an Ancestry subscription, but Wikitree is the best place to host your tree for free, although it can be annoying when you go back farther because we’re all working on one tree and working with other human beings is annoying.

    • This post was very encouraged and encouraged to participate in the forum. This is a great place to thank you.
      My friends’ feedback helped me a lot, and I could solve many problems myself
      I have 23, and I can identify and use the good and the bad of all the things I mentioned in this post.

  3. Kate

    Are there any plans to introduce 2 factor authentication to Ancestry? Ancestry is one of the few sites I use regularly that doesn’t offer it. It would be a really good way to improve your security.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Kate, thank you for your suggestion. We have recently updated part of our privacy policy and of course we are always looking for new ways to improve security and data protection on our websites. We will submit your feedback to the relevant department.

    • John Tangney

      Kate, I believe I raised the issue of 2FA with Ancestry support some months ago. As with all security issues, the risk has to be weighed against the inconvenience.

      • Bob

        I see no reason why Ancestry couldn’t offer 2FA as an option for users who want the extra security. And it doesn’t necessarily mean sending a one-time code to your phone. There are smartphone apps that can generate the code without the phone being connected to a network.

      • As far as I can see, the archive pages for all the Rootsweb-hosted mailing lists are offline, so it’s perhaps a touch misleading to claim that the lists are “operational.”

        I’m particularly concerned about the MEDIEVAL-L archive, which contains historical scholarship that is cited worldwide via URLs pointing to specific posts in the Rootsweb archive — URLs that currently fail. It would be devastating to lose it.

        As a side note, the sentence “As RootsWeb is a free and open community that has been largely built by its users, we may not be able to salvage everything as we work to resolve this issue and enhance the RootsWeb infrastructure” literally makes no sense. The second half of the sentence does not follow from the first. It sounds very much like we’re being prepped for bad news. I would love to be wrong about this.

        • Thomas Garrett

          I remember years ago when Ancestry took over Rootsweb and more recently Findagrave. I understood the Ancestry agreement was the Rootsweb Global Search would remain open to the public. Was this not the case? Hopefully you are not using this security issue as a ruse to break your agreement. Your prices are already astronomical for Ancestry.

        • jan

          That sentence is very concerning to me as well. My county’s GenWeb site is one of the best, with lots of free searchable data, not just a bunch of links to useless sites. Sure hope Ancestry isn’t planning to take what they can’t “salvage” & start charging for it.

        • I have always felt that it was Ancestry’s intention to eventually fully integrate RW into Ancestry and charge for access. It has taken longer than I expected, but still believe that will happen. I have been a GenWeb Town and County Coordinator, as well as doing the MA Vital Records Project. I pulled them to make sure Ancestry couldn’t claim them. There was a statement they made that anything on the RW servers was owned by Ancestry. That scared the bejeebers out of me. BTW, for MA researchers, you might like to check out the Massachusetts, Town Clerk…d Town Records, 1626-2001 at What a wonderful wealth of original information.

      • Charani

        The mailing list don’t appear to be working properly. I have two posts in the pending folder that I have been trying to deal with since before Christmas with a third one added today which are not responding to requested actions (one reject for implicit destinations), one discard (non member) and one accept (despite being oversize).

      • Ron Carroll

        This is not correct, as of 27 Dec 2017. I am an ancestry customer, who also uses google searches on the archiver mailing list records (and genforum), because they contain valuable research. The rootsweb mailing lists are definitely not available.

    • Sarah M. Amy

      Rootsweb was the site that gave me a phenomenal connection to a part of my family that I hadn’t been able to find anywhere else -heck, didn’t even know about! Please keep Rootsweb going. I am a paying full-membership patron of Ancestry and have been for a number of years. . I’ve found some good connections but that Rootsweb connection led me to a whole line of my family about whom I would not otherwise known.

    • Al Kline

      Years back, when Rootsweb was an independent web site, I downloaded three family tree databases into WorldConnect in that site, information that I wanted to make freely available to other researchers. Some years later, while searching on Ancestry, I was surprised to find my data on that site. More surprisingly, I found an ancestor who had married about fifteen times over a three hundred year period. With Ancestry’s take-over of Rootsweb, and since that time, Ancestry has done distasteful things with my data.
      1. Ancestry has posted my data on their pay to use site with no notification provided to me, nor permission being asked for of me, nor credit for the data being attributed to me.
      2. Ancestry fails to notify their users that this data is freely available on their Rootsweb affiliated site.
      3. Ancestry provided no notification to users that they had manipulated the Rootsweb data, to become adulterated data on the Ancestry site, therefore less useful to researchers than the original data provided on Rootsweb, and there maintained as pure as when provided.
      For the above reasons I will not subscribe to Ancestry until they freely make available, complete with credits, all data which was or is freely provided to Rootsweb and to Ancestry, with no merging of those databases with data from other providers. If merging of databases is to be done, it should be displayed in a clearly explained separate division of Ancestry. Whenever possible, I steer researchers away from their use of Ancestry, and instead to use any sites, free or for pay, that do not charge for data intended to be provided freely and free of manipulation.
      One wonders whether Ancestry could be the subject of a class action law suit for repayment of the money earned by posting and charging for, without obtaining permissions, the works of the providers. Very little of the data to be found on the Ancestry site would have been researched and collected by Ancestry staff members, data for which they could legitimately charge.

      • Vickie O'Bannon

        My entire GEDcom and research are on World connect, and have been for close to 15 years. I had bought my database from Ancestry, but they never upgraded to be used with newer computers, therefore all my work is on this site. Yes, my old PC is long gone, and I could not get my gedcom transferred. I too, found all of my personal research on ancestry long before I had joined. No one asked permission to use my files.

      • CeeCee

        We should backup our data to other places on the internet. Not all websites merge data like I know doesn’t merge their trees and they keep several backups and they also keep the notes.

  4. Pat

    Roots Web is in many ways superior to Ancestry and I have an account with Ancestry. Searches are quick and I’ve found the databases and their information to be quite accurate. I realize that the data is only as accurate as the person who imputs it. I would be very upset if you were not able to restore to salvage the data contained in the database.

    • Linda Huffman

      Can’t find data I had on Menifee and Mann Cemetery had pictures of the cemetery and markers would like to relocate them thank you

    • Paula Thornton

      Agree totally. Of late, I have been plagued by people using Ancestry as a ‘source’ when the links they use are undocumented. Not so for the links I use on Rootsweb.

      • Susan Dakin

        You need to create a “specific timeline” and make it a lot faster than “a few weeks”! I realize that would rather no one use Rootsweb and would like it to just die, but for serious researchers, it’s extremely valuable, and the tree format is infinitely superior to that on Please prioritize this repair!

        • Susan Dakin

          I should note that this outage is especially disappointing because I am visiting relatives for the holidays and was planning to show them my new tree on Rootsweb. I just updated it on Dec. 17, and was shocked to find it inaccessible when I tried to show it to one of my brothers. I will never post my full tree to, because it does not preserve sources or notes in uploaded GEDCOMs, which to me are absolutely essential. My tree has about 55,000 names, and I’m not about to enter my extensive sources and notes by hand! Rootsweb is the ONLY satisfactory place I have found to upload my tree, and now I have just notified my relatives and contacts to go to Rootsweb and view my latest tree, only for them to find the site down, and no word as to when it will be restored.

        • KrisWalker

          I’ve moved all of my info via Gedcom to WikiTree because it is free. I had too many older family members that weren’t willing to pay for an Ancestry account just to see a family tree of people they know/knew “in real life.” Since Ancestry puts user submitted data behind a paywall (essentially stealing intellectual information and charging for access to that info, without compensation to the person who spends the time doing research/uploading family owned photos) I’ve basically ditched all Ancestry sites in favor of Wikitree.
          The older family members can write comments about the people they remember, family stories, etc, without having to create a paid account (Wikitree is free for all).
          I was going through Rootsweb removing all the info I had provided previously when I saw that it was offline.
          “Security issues” appear to be nothing more than a way to get rid of a free service and force people into the paid Ancestry site.

        • Alaskan Princess

          Susan Dakin: My understanding is that every tree posted on ancestry becomes THEIR property. You are helping provide them with data to sell. I’ve certainly benefitted from info I’ve found on ancestry but …it bothers me that they benefit financially for work others have done. I’m HUGELY concerned that RootsWeb going down will result in our permanently losing (free) access. While I appreciate their attention to security issue, I have to wonder if they aren’t going to view this as a ‘gift’ and will end up incorporating info to PAY ancestry site.

      • Betsy Stewart

        i like using the rootsweb database to loosely connect connections in my tree and give me places to look, i do not have a tree on either rootsweb or ancestry and am not a paid customer of ancestry as i have limited funds (FYI if I could pay per month for some of the subscriptions i might do so especially on a limited basis

        • Jim Barrett

          KrisWalker – No place to reply to your message so I’ll put it here! The BIG problem with WikiTree is the fact that their support staff makes DUMB updates to your records without your permission. I’ll never use it again.

      • Marie Blocher

        I do hope you all are not planning on “improving” Rootsweb like when you “improved” Genforum and made the individual family surnames unsearchable. That was a heinous crime.

        • Connie R Abeln

          I also hope that Ancestry is not planning on “improving” Rootsweb like they helped ProQuest “improve” HeritageQuest, when they removed many old sources from the books section, and streamlined the book and census searches to make it as generic as Ancestry’s–no searching by race in the census, no searching by name proximity in the book searches, which was valuable for some of us! Ancestry should take note–they do not have the best of all possible sites. If they take over or ally themselves with a site, they should leave it as-is, to augment rather than vanilla-ize their services.

      • Dee Bowling

        How much will we need to pay for rootweb when it opens back up. It just seems highly unfair in my opinion. All of these people have done so much work on their ancestry, and then they must pay to use it in future. Seems like theft.

      • Sandra Flickinger

        How can we be confident/trust that all content will magically re-appear? The family line research, that a now deceased relative did, is extensive. Will all links still work? Will all the data be clear and correct? The orginator is dead and many years of reasearch will be for nothing if this is lost. This has got to be my worst fear for his work. If this is restored how can we ensure it won’t be lost or deleted in the future? We all trusted Ancestry to keep our info safe and available indefinitely. What a great disappointment and sadness.

  5. H Lindquist

    I agree to the comment posted by Pat. I find rootsweb to be really useful in searching for ancestry data. Yes, the posts are only as accurate as the information supplied by the person posting it, but it does give one a very good starting place.

    Also, as a comment to ancestry, thank you for hosting this important site. However, I do want to say I once started to post all my genealogy research on but I quickly found out that the information I posted was not freely available to others. I resent for requiring customers to pay for information I freely supplied. That is the reason I continue to use rootsweb and hope if comes back online soon.

    • D_barraclough

      Totally agree with you! They absconded my info yrs ago,, and made good money off my research! Rootsweb rocks! As does Find A Grave. Suspect both are at risk now!

        • Anne Maye

          Agree with most of the posts and have a suspicion that Ancestry is about to close Rweb and sell our data, as I expeienced way back before Ancestry was a pay site. Coud they seel the sites which are connected and then start again with our data for a fee? I have been invited to consider publishing one of my books on Ancestry but am suspicious.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @H Thank you for your feedback. We are glad to hear that you have found the website and the system that best allows you to share your searches with other genealogy lovers.

    • KrisWalker

      If it doesn’t, may I suggest Wikitree? It’s always free. Years back Ancestry family trees used to be free & open to the public, but they’ve put it behind a paywall now. That’s why I searched for somewhere else to put my family tree. I have no family trees left on Ancestry because of them putting my family photos and information behind a paywall. Even though Wikitree doesn’t have a lot of “bells and whistles” it is still a great place to add your family tree. 🙂

        • Michael Frye

          To Jim Barrett – WikiTree operates under a different paradigm, where all collaborate to make one tree. When you create a profile on WikiTree, it is not yours, but everyone’s. When you created your WikiTree account, you signed an Honor Code to that effect. I guess you forgot what it said.
          Our Honor Code
          We collaborate. When we share ancestors we work together on the same ancestor profiles.
          We care about accuracy. We’re always aiming to improve upon our worldwide family tree and fix mistakes.
          We know mistakes are inevitable. We don’t want to be afraid to make them. We assume that mistakes are unintentional when others make them and ask for the same understanding.
          We know misunderstandings are inevitable. We try to minimize them by being courteous to everyone, even those who don’t act accordingly.
          We respect privacy. We privacy-protect anything we think our family members might not want public. If that’s not enough for someone, we delete their personal information.
          We respect copyrights. We don’t knowingly copy information that’s owned by someone else. If we ourselves want to preserve a copyright, we’re clear about what’s copyrighted so others don’t accidentally copy it.
          We give credit. Although most genealogy isn’t copyrighted, researchers deserve credit for the work they’ve done.
          We cite sources. Without sources we can’t objectively resolve conflicting information.
          We are united in a mission to increase the world’s common store of knowledge. We always respect copyrights and privacy, but we keep information as free and open as possible.

      • Robw

        I find it hard to believe that everyone doesn’t use It’s free, and has a vastly superior (and common!)
        database than anywhere else I’ve seen.

        • Bev

          I was interested in your suggestion of “My Family Tree”, but cannot see why you recommend it as a substitute for Rootsweb. I could be wrong, but it appears to be a site where you add one person at a time and I am using a database with over 150,000 people (it’s the family history part of a geographically oriented local history project and uses a standard genealogy database program and can export a gedcom.) Unless I missed something, I don’t see how My Family Tree would substitute for Rootsweb, although it is very interesting. I don’t see a path to get help on this issue.

    • Jan Farndale

      Me too!! I am devestated. I have an Ancestry account with my brother but would much rather use Rootsweb as it is so easy to use.

  6. chekwriter

    When did this happen? when did the site decide to take it offline completely? This is a disaster. I no longer am able to have a PAID subscription to Ancestry because of increase to rent and to other medical increases. Your company has TIED my hands completely doing any further research with this move. Why was this file ever created in the first place to compromise all of us? Why was it allowed to be created to collect username/password combinations? All this time? How long has it been there? Appalling way of doing business.
    weeks on end, means what exactly? are you saying this has impacted the integrity of the site completely? Outrageous.

    • Bruce Stanfill

      From the details presented in the blog post, it seems that Ancestry and Rootsweb management are being very forthcoming and proactive in their effort. We users sometimes feel we are entitled to free services that work perfectly all the time and which are immune to every malicious efforts from across the globe. But we need to realize that nothing is free – if the out of pocket cost is low or nil, then someone else is footing the bill and/or the risks of external threats are higher. We could go back to pen and paper and snail mail and microfilm and courthouse visits to do research, afterall. How about we be grateful for the benefits we’ve had for so long for free, thankful that someone is willing to foot the bill and do the work over the holidays to fix an unanticipated long-present risk on short notice?
      Additionally, unless someone is a professional genealogical researcher, this is a hobby; it is a diversion and is not essential to daily living. I admit that I sometimes get obsessed with my hobbies, so perhaps this is a wake-up call to some of us to spend more time with our living families, and less looking for our dead ancestors.
      I suggest we all be patient and let the professionals do their job without excessive interference on our part so that they, too, can have quality time with their living families over these holidays. Thank you Ancestry and Rootsweb for dealing with this, even at this inopportune time of year.
      Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukah, everyone.

      • Teressa

        Well said, Bruce. In addition, to all you people freaking out like it’s election night all over … would you prefer that Ancestry leave the site open without doing the necessary investigation and security upgrades? Then you could go just bat-shit insane when your entire life is hacked because you insisted a website with unsafe security be reopened NOW! Now, now now, f’g NOW! Then you could complain about that while you enjoy your NEW hobby of repairing a hacked life. Get a grip, people, missing the site for a few weeks isn’t a major life event — having your life hacked, now THAT is a major life event. May none of you experience it, despite some of you seeming to be just begging to have it happen.

      • Mary Triplett

        Well said Bruce and Teresa. I use this web site as a guideline only just like I do with Ancestry’s trees. For me it started as a hobby, and no I definitely don’t want to go back to the old pen and paper days as it was when I started in 1980. I understand the cost of a subscription to Ancestry and for a long while I couldn’t afford it and had to end my subscription. The cost of life and what it dolled out put off using Ancestry for 14 years. Fortunately the LDS web site Family Search is free and has many of the same records as Ancestry. The trees here as I said are used as guidelines only, but documentation for the puzzle pieces makes this a better project. For me its not just a hobby, it’s a stress reliever as I teach middle and high school students, but more importantly it’s a way of putting my family back together and keeping a promise to my Grandmothers before they passed. Besides patience is a virtue.

      • Julia Krapfl

        Thank you for a reasonable, well-thought-out commentary. I’m grateful to those with the expertise to fix the problem(s). I’ve been researching for nearly 50 years; thank you to all those who lovingly share their research.

      • aces

        This is not how it works. This isn’t how any of this works.
        Since rootsweb is on on a sub domain of and is working fine, this shows ancestry is full of baloney.
        What total liars.
        Simple to move the content to a safe and temporary location if what they are claiming were true.
        Really disgusting.

        • leana

          I have a subscription to lifelock and guess what–on the same day I was notified by ancestry that my name and password may have been compromised by rootsweb hackers I received an email from lifelock notifying me my information was available on the darkweb and the leak was through ancestry. Thanks ancestry for shutting down all our information and stopping any further damage. Now everyone hold onto your panties and let them get it sorted out.

      • Member Services Social Support Team

        @Bruce Thank you very much for your words. We are doing our best in order to complete the investigations and restore the service for all you passionate users as soon as possible. It is nice to know that our job is appreciated and we hope we will continue to deserve your loyalty in the future.

        • Marie Blocher

          Ancestry –
          Did away with the Social Security Death Index that used to be on Rootsweb.
          has mangled:

          and even itself with their terrible colored revision.
          Is Rootsweb going to be next?

        • Bob Moore

          I think by the comments that the C-level executives can tell that if they don’t bring back Rootsweb soon that they will start losing Ancestry customers. I am sure that they were hoping to force people to pay for access but it will backfire.

      • george

        View from the insiders at ancesrty is not needed. When Rootsweb was sold it was in the agreement that it be continued, and Tim Sullivan agreed and stated that it would be preserved and online. Well Tim Sullivan just departed his position just about the time ancestry dumped gedcoms from the publis tree database, and now this.

      • Charles Forbes

        I note several people saying that with Rootsweb down they can’t get access to their data. I cannot believe that everyone works with a database on their own computer, backed up is some reasonable way, and that loss of access to their data on the web simply means they work offline. Granted new research cannot be done when is system is down, but I cannot understand that people are losing their own data.

        • JAWVMM

          I have copies of everything on my computer, and backed up on removable drives. But my website links to a lot of historic photographs stored on Rootsweb, put there so they would be freely available to other researchers and interested people. i also have some documents there, for the same reason. My website is now broken big-time, and finding everything on my computer, uploading to another site, and editing all the links will be a good bit of work.

          As a former system administrator for a large organization, I understand how long it can take to troubleshoot and rebuild a system. But the seeming threat that not everything will be available afterwards is puzzling to me. If the problem truly is only that there were exposed files, and, as the blog seems to say, that the system was not hacked, then there should be no loss of files and they should be able to bring everything up at least long enough for us to recover what we stored. it would be helpful to me because I wouldn’t have to go through all my local files, which are organized differently, and reconstruct everything.

      • SueAnne

        Thank you for a thoughtful and considered reply. As a professional working in a setting where intellectual property is posted, we are fully informed and aware that anything posted to institutional servers is “owned” by the institution and may be accessed by the institution. It does not mean that we do not own the Copywright to certain aspects of the data. However, when we publish articles and books the Copywright for that specific article or book is signed over to the publisher which allows the publisher to profit from the specific intellectual product and specify how that article or book is used by others. Perhaps individuals who are concerned about who owns the data should consult with an expert in this area of law. It is wise to read that intimidating document called “Terms and Conditions”. I prefer security of my information to an unplanned inconvenience.

      • Jess

        Thank you, Bruce! I cannot believe how many people are throwing outright temper tantrums over a free service, acting as if they are entitled to it. They do not pay for the service. I use many different online and off line means of research. I pay for Ancestry, but I love using rootsweb. I was disappointed to see it was down, as I have been using it for a specific line I have been working on lately. But, I just got out my book that was written by the same researcher that posted the database and used that for reference instead…..did it the old fashioned way. And, to be honest, my eyes thanked me for spending less time on the computer. Yes, it is more convenient to have a free database available on the computer. But, no ones lives are going to be ruined if the site is down for a few weeks. I appreciate the lengths they are going to in order to protect the security of the customers. I will be thrilled when the site is back up, but am confident I will live until then without it! 😉

      • Genie

        My thoughts exactly! Glad to see not all genealogy buffs are insane. Anyone with half a grain of sense would have their files backed up on a thumb drive or the cloud or somewhere! If not, they have only themselves to blame for losing any info. Research can be continued elsewhere while the problem is resolved. I think it shameful that people rush to judgement before they know what is going on. Why don’t you wait and see what happens, then if you find that Ancestry has done some skullduggery, complain. Otherwise, until you know differently, give them the benefit of the doubt. Try to act like adults.

    • Charani

      chekwriter, the file was necessary in order to allow the pages and lists to work, that’s why it was created. I share your frustrations. I’ve had to cancel my Ancestry subscription as well for the time being.

  7. George Dill

    I agree to the comment posted by Pat and H. Lindquist. I find Rootsweb to be really useful in searching for Ancestry data. Yes, the posts are only as accurate as the information supplied by the person posting it, but it does give one a very good starting place. It is up to each user to verify the newly found information.

    Also, as a comment to ancestry, thank you for hosting this important site. However, I do want to say I once started to post all my genealogy research on but I quickly found out that the information I posted was not freely available to others. I strongly resent for requiring customers to pay for information I and all others freely supplied. That is the reason I continue to use Rootsweb and hope if comes back online soon.

  8. Beth Blote

    I use Rootsweb at least every week! I’ve spent hundreds of hours submitting and replying over last ten years. Hated to see other hints disappear from my service that showed Rootsweb !
    Also missing that your Notes feature has no format to make it easier for me to read my notes!
    (Bold, italics, etc.)

    • Beth Blote

      I’d like to add it took two days to find a solution to this security freeze on my account and couldn’t access Rootsweb, and newspapers, etc. I posted on Facebook without results yesterday. So I had to call today (over an hour on support) because your system lost my username, my email, and password. Tried to change password didn’t find me. Had “gwinifred” about 20 years (1998)! I Had to change my username today in order to change password to gain back access. Not great for all the people who won’t recognize me now and may not answer member connect.

      Im Still having another trouble on iPhone app that thinks I’m just a “guest” today ! I have an old app that works with my old computer, so I can’t upgrade iOS or iMac or iPhone.

      Tried sending this but support doesn’t work anymore Acct was frozen yesterday from blog describing security issue with Rootsweb. Took over an hour to fix it today and had to change my username from”gwinifred” to new “blotebee”.

      My app recognizes my new username but not my paid membership- all access!!
      Says “guest” only. Have old iPhone and app but has continued to work with some functions failing but I could still use it when I can’t be at desktop (disabled).

      Now what!?? If I sign out am I going to be able to sign back in? I use app several times week still.

      It’s easier for me to attach documents, especially photos I have on iPhone 4. Can’t afford new iPhone or iMac (2006) living on SSI it’s a challenge to pay AT&T every month.

      Please forward

  9. Patty

    This is one problem with one company owning pretty much all the genealogical information available….researchers hands are tied. As Loretta said.., ‘fix it right’. Just hoping it doesn’t take too long.

    • Del Larocque

      Don’t trust the cloud is what this tells me, because anyone can just decide to yank things off the internet at any time. Back up, back up, and back up some more.

      • Bob

        As someone whose family member started an independent (and free resource) to their descendants DECADES ago, which was moved to rootsweb relatively recently in terms of the length of time the information was available online…. this is devastating.

        A distant relative of mine created their own fully fleshed out tree/html surname list long before rootsweb in the earliest days of the www. It became quite large, with history to the 1400s in places. In mid 2000s it was moved to rootsweb. Now it’s gone. This is generations of research & information already compiled & verified. But no access to it.

    • Rebecca

      I agree completely with the ownership (Monopoly) of so much of the ancestor sites and information in one ball. I WAS a member of Ancestry until I realized that there were duplicates upon duplicates with total disregard to whether things were right or wrong. Yes it’s a depository but dang… some discretion and alerts to blatant errors got out of hand. I got one person with 15 or 16 post… just copy and pasted onto the site, over and over and over… the worst part was that ALL 15 or 16 posts were WRONG !!! ALSO, I sent inquiries out to various people about people dying before they were born and missing complete generationS, not just one generation… Somewhere Ancestry drops the ball but keeps raking in the $$$ in membership fees. Even though I dropped my account and cancelled my email subscription, I get 2 and 3 emails a week from them. It’s like a narcissistic ex who you simply can NOT get rid of. Thank goodness I didn’t sync my tree late into my subscription and they only have a few hundred family members. Sorry for this “down” comment but I believe in TRUTH .. not sucking people dry with errors and nonsense.

      • Margaret

        Hi Rebecca. I agree that there are WAY too many FAKE trees at ancestry. That is why I long ago went private with all my trees. Genealogy did start as a hobby. But it’s not really a family tree if you just “attach” someone elses information and have no documentation. And I don’t add anyone to my tree unless I “prove” them first. So many people out there just want to attach, and attach until they think they have gotten their tree back to the 1400s but really they have nothing because back a couple of generations they attached the wrong person, and they’re following the wrong line. Also, ancestry “improved’ their searches so long ago that now you can’t find anything. When I first started I could locate someone relatively easy. Now you get so many “hits” for a search , what used to take a few minutes takes hours. You don’t think they realized that when they improved things do you?

  10. DLR

    This version of ancestry was wide open and did not require usernames and passwords. Why would this part be shut down too? I was just making good headway on my final section of the family tree and now it is shut down. Bummers!

    • DLR

      And just to mention the information for all the cemeteries in four counties of South Carolina reside on this site. It is a huge loss to have this down.

    • aces

      I run 86 websites. Ancestry is lying. There is no reason to turn off access to pages that don’t require username /passwords.
      No way to for “hackers” to access them.

      • Stonehuntr

        Access to the information may not require login, but POSTING the information DOES require login and I think that is where the security issue is located. And fixing that would require them to shut down access until they solve the security issue. I would rather they do this than to accidentally compromise/corrupt the data files or access to the data files while working on the security files. Should not be an issue, but accidents do happen – I would rather they didn’t happen to MY data.

      • Schmoopiepoopie

        What the downtime IS:
        1) probably scrubbing or rebuilding the rootsweb databases.
        2) implementing security measures.

        What the downtime ISN’T:
        3) a covert corporate takeover.
        4) a ploy to purge years and years of valuable data.
        5) a personal affront to you.
        6) a scheme to set up a subscription site.

        Fixing databases is very, very, very time consuming. Think of a database as being the All Powerful, Great Oz behind the curtain. They are the hidden powerhouses that run everything. They manage a website’s design, compile and organize all of the user-submitted data and present it in a functional fashion, as well as manage our login credentials and secuity. In short: they handle EVERYTHING. This is why EVERYTHING is affected, taken down.

        If there is a major flaw in the database’s security, all-new security measures can be implemented (most likely). Their computers are likely fast, but how long do you think it would take to re-do security on a half million people’s accounts and re-compile a millenia’s worth of data from an untold amount of families? That’s not to mention all of the other hosted websites, forms, and gedcoms. Imagine how long it would take to go through everything, trying to ensure nothing valuable was lost. And they do all of this for a free site.

        If you feel slighted, you can take your business else, youknowwhatimean?

        • Jess

          I actually laughed out loud at this. After reading all of the conspiracy theory posts on here, I was waiting for someone to throw in something about aliens. Thanks for your comical but to the point post.

  11. D. Williams

    This is affecting both the genealogy projects and Freepages accounts hosted on RootsWeb, too. Since you’re talking about being down for at least several weeks, that is a huge problem for those sites. This is not good, not good at all.

    • Dave L

      This is my concern, as well. Although we were already looking for a new host (primarily out of fear of something like this happening), our genealogical society website is hosted on Rootsweb. Much of the information isn’t duplicated elsewhere on the Internet and so is unavailable to the general public. As a long-time IT person I agree with the concept of getting it right. As a long-time cynic, I’m also afraid this is low priority since it’s not revenue-generating. I hope I’m wrong on that last sentence!

    • Stonehuntr

      Looks like this site is geared to trees. Those of us with genealogy society websites on Rootsweb don’t have a lot of choices of where to host for free.

    • Tom

      Larry, did you pay the Premium fee of $50 for a year for “advanced” research on Geneanet? seems to be a collaboration with Family Search that look a bit like Rootsweb World Connect but WITHOUT any notes that I have been able to find so far. Actually it sort of looks like an advanced Family Search. Did see one source reference to Rootsweb free pages. I am tempted to pay the money if I could be assured it wouldn’t auto renew. I have not committed to loading my gedcom on it yet

  12. Umm. Are you really saying that Rootsweb was not using one-way encryption on the passwords? Are you also implying that you compared passwords at Ancestry to see which were vulnerable, which would mean you also don’t use one-way encryption on the passwords at Ancestry? That is horrible!

    If your highest priority really is our privacy and the security of the data we share with you, then you must immediately proceed to implement one-way encryption on all the passwords with different hash formula on different systems so that nobody, even your staff, can see, compute, or even compare two passwords to see if they are the same.

    • Amgine

      It is possible to compare the hashes of one-way encryption to derive matches. Let’s not throw stones where not proven poor practice.

      But also, do not trust blindly.

  13. Judy

    Please don’t take away RW for good. And… please bring back the RW File Manager– lots of older folks liked doing their websites with the online editor, and File Man had teaching benefits– like visually letting newbies create a Folder/Page and then delete them so they’d SEE where these went online. Certainly Ancestry can shave off a few million from the Ancestry revenues to keep our beloved Rootsweb Lists and Freepages / Rootsweb websites safe and online indefinitely. Thanks for keeping RW folks up and running.

    • Sheryl

      Yes! I have over 100 sites on RW, and while I appreciate the free hosting, over the years (over 15 years, in fact) I have spent $1000s of dollars in travel and buying research materials and copies in order to fill my sites with useful data, and the hours spent collecting and editing the info. Now I can no longer access it, much less add to the sites. I also feel badly for the countless contributors who have sent me so much information to place on the sites and which now may be lost.

  14. elise bowen

    will appreciate regular off-line estimate updates here on the blog, and blog update notices on the splash-page notification page which presently includes the blog link.
    glad there has been no effect to Find-A-Grave, at least. ancestry’s hosting of rootsweb continues to be critically important to dedicated family researchers. making corrections and updates might seem to be taking too long, but to permanently lose rootsweb would be tragic.

  15. Margaret Scheffler

    Due to the holidays I have not been doing much genealogy work, but generally I research daily, and use Rootsweb’s WorldConnect several days per week, I don’t care as much about the mailing lists. I don’t see why a breach of usernames and passwords would cause an entire shutdown of the WorldConnect feature. Banks and businesses don’t cut off credit card access for breaches of financial information which is obviously a much more serious type of breach. A cutoff of several weeks to WorldConnect will curtail my research related to Ancestry DNA as I frequently direct people with common family to my WC database which has all my notes and sources. I only have minimal information on Ancestry’s DNA related database and use WorldConnect to update the entire database several times weekly when researching.

  16. Elliott

    I was in this morning to do an up date and was going to do another this afternoon apparently after the problem reared its ugly head. I do many since Ancestry destroyed FTM a couple of years ago, and I switched to Legacy (much better) so I continue to have a lot of catching up on my databases. Hope you all solve the problem soon and we can be back to normal once gain. Peace.

  17. Max Power

    You present yourself as transparent and concerned about your users’ privacy but that couldn’t be further from the truth. At no point did you mention that this data breach occurred TWO YEARS AGO and that you stored the passwords in PLAIN TEXT. Any damage that may have come of this has already been done. If you had anyone with any sort of brain, talent or integrity working for you, you as would have implemented 2FA years ago and stored the passwords in the form of salted hashes.

    • Amgine

      NB: 2FA, in most implementations, solely gives a 3rd party information about you which lets them locate you physically. It does nothing for *you* other than prove the 3rd party can triangulate who you are two ways instead of one.

  18. Timothy Stowell

    What I don’t understand is why the whole domain had to come down? I mean there are sites there that show only information – no one has to sign in to see this information which is much like looking at a news web site.

    Let’s say there are 55,000 individual URLs attached to the Rootsweb domain. 1% would be 550 websites that may have a password issue. Why can’t the other 54,000 plus still be online for users to visit?

    • Amgine

      Two reasons: *any* security breach is too much liability. And, more importantly, is shutting down RW since it does not help their bottom line. (It seems likely it was purchased to eliminate a competitor, not for any altruistic reason.)

  19. Joachim Hawn

    While I do still maintain my Tree on Ancestry I haven’t had an active Membership in a couple years…HOWEVER I absolutely rely on many features offered at Rootsweb. It’s really an unrivaled site in many aspects…..PLEASE DO return it to viability ASAP…

  20. James Scamman

    i hope this is not going to be like GenForum. It used to an excellent resource for single name research, sorta like finding a one-name book in the library. Now it is useless. After a few times of not finding anything, I just gave up, and yet I know there is a ton of info there that would be useful if I could do a search that is meaningful. Between,, and WorldConnect at Rootsweb, I am able to do online in a day what it took me months to do before. But I need all three tools because of the way the search features work and because of the content provided. Even though all three might have the same info, sometimes I can access that info with one of the sites more efficiently than with either of the other two.

    • Marie Blocher

      Amen to what you said about Genforum. I used to spend hours on the pages for my surnames, helping other people solve their problems. Now I can’t even search for my own postings.

  21. I have used my WorldConnecr site to upload frequent gedcom updates as I find it shows far more than my tree on It is so easy for me to check there to see what I have on my offline tree. In addition I can direct people there if they do not have an ancestry account. I also use h free pages to store stories. Last time this happened, no warning to be able to save the stories, and like now, it took some weeks to be reinstated. I have not yet been emailed so can I assume that I have not been compromised? I look forward to you being able to repair this quickly.

  22. I’m a big fan of RootsWeb’s WorldConnect. It’s on my top three sites to check. I moved all my databases over to their site 15 years ago and have promoted it as the place to freely post research. I hope they are up and running soon… and thank you Ancestry for supporting this all these years!

    • Carole Beach

      I completely agree with Joseph – I post the results of my research to Rootsweb so that people can access it for free. Many of my relatives are interested enough to follow my database on Rootsweb, but NOT interested enough to pay for (I DO have an Ancestry membership, and find it very valuable for research, but find their new Family Tree structure confusing at best).

    • Joseph A Betz

      A few thoughts on the comments.
      1. Since WorldConnect is free, it may not last forever.
      2. If you want to preserve your research forever, submit it to, these are sacred records to the LDS.
      3. Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket, I use wix for my webpage.
      4. I freely share all my research with others and I don’t worry if Ancestry can make money on it or anyone else… If someone is too dumb to find it for free, they should pay.
      5. If you need your database fix, your local library has a free subscription to Ancestry.
      6. Be thankful for your health because you could end up like your ancestors!
      7. I hope this perspective helps the hysteria.

  23. Cynthia

    For Gosh Sakes, how long will this be down? When other sites have a problem it is usually back up and running within hours. This is the holiday shut down where I really get time to sit down and do some research? Can you at least give us a date that it will be back up and running or an estimated date?

  24. Susan Granade

    Please, please put Rootsweb back online as soon as possible. As others have said here, it is the most useful–not to mention interesting–genealogy site anywhere! I have learned so much from the entries made there by people I don’t know. The links to Rootsweb, for instance those on, are so helpful if you are trying to find the ancestors of famous people. For instance, I discovered the Olsen twins have one of the same families in their background that I have in mine. Of course not every tree on Rootsweb is accurate and we must use our own judgment about what to accept, but it is a wonderfully generous place I go to find clues about my ancestors through their alliances with other families.

  25. I was extremely concerned (and frankly a bit stressed-out) to see that “RootsWeb WorldConnect” has been taken off line. I maintain a nearly 45,000-name database, which I frequently update as often as 2-3 times each week, and it literally serves as the backbone for many of my genealogical groups and activities. I also maintain several smaller surname-specific databases on WorldConnect.
    • I like that the databases are so easy to “refresh,” and the fairly robust “advanced” search engine is very easy to use.
    • When answering genealogical queries, I simply include a “link” to the person’s pedigree, or detailed information, in my on-line database.
    • I also like that my posted names can be “found” by Google and other search engines.
    • As a final point, I have used my online database as my online “backup” copy of my desktop database. Several times, following computer crashes, I have simply downloaded the GEDCOM from my WorldConnect database and re-populated my desktop genealogy software.
    >>> PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE restore RootsWeb WorldConnect as quickly as possible. As indicated by the many posts, it serves a truly vital role in our collective genealogical research.

  26. Deb Jordan

    My website is hoseted by Rootsweb, I have used Rootsweb for at least 15 years. My little website is hosted by Rootsweb and my gedcom was here. I am very glad that when Ancestry took over Rootsweb they didn’t just end it then. I am really appreciative they have kept if free and intact. I hope this gets resolved soon and we don’t have to start paying for it. I would just have to quit with my genealogy reasearch. I began shortly after my father passed away in 1970 and have kept at it since. It was his wish that someone would continue what he started. Many of my finds were discovered through Rootsweb World Connect and Rootsweb Mailing Lists.

  27. Lin

    Firstly, the contact customer service link doesn’t work
    Secondly, is this the reason I can’t clear moderated messages on my mailing lists?

  28. Janet Rowe

    I really enjoy this site!! It helps me so much with my ancestors background, I need it back . Plz? I have many surnames to search still. This helps so much.!!

  29. Janet Rowe

    I was just reading some of these other comments. I totally agree with them.They have been using this site much longer than I have. I don’t understand why my self,that this is happening, they need this site. This is rude to these people who have used it this long. Very rude. I still have more names to search. This site is to help not hinder .

  30. I sure hope Ancestry doesn’t use any of the issues as an excuse to kill Rootsweb. I have one section of my Rootsweb website that corrects and debunks 25+ years of erroneous nonsense information that keeps getting repeated on Ancestry “trees”.

  31. David G Richardson

    Website? I have 42 databases [files] in RootsWeb for in-laws, friends and friends… I archive everything in RootsWwb. I am 82 and started doing genealogy in my late 30’s and writing code for the IBM709 in 1961 when I got out of the Army and started working for Lockheed in Burbank CA as a stress engineer.
    1. The first priority must be getting RootsWeb back up and running.
    2. Do NOT do a “NEW SITE” like Find-a-Grave! Remember “he who makes great leap forward jumps off cliff”. The new Find-a-Grave site is an example of what not to do!
    3. Add a “Send Feedback ” tab in the lower left hand corner like the new Find-a-Grave.
    4. Color blindness affects approximately every 1 in 12 men (8%) and 1 in 200 women (0.5%). If you must add color get a color blind person to check every display.
    5. Look at their minimum size type and make yours 2 sizes bigger and their big type at least two sizes smaller.
    6. Add a place for burial date and place.
    7. Add a simple date check, died before birth/born after death, died before marriage/married after death… Contrast with parents and children dates…
    Thank you

    • Sandy Zion-Anderson

      Excellent comments/suggestions! I also have been doing my family research for many, MANY years (I’m a bit younger though – 68) and appreciate the services that Rootsweb provides as I can no longer afford an annual subscription to Ancestry. Hopefully next year?? Thank you sir……

    • R Martin

      I have a feeling that Ancestry will most likely clobber Rootsweb like they did Find A Grave. I still haven’t quite figured out how to navigate the new Find A Grave site, but have no problem reading all the ads that popup. I have been using Rootsweb for ten years and find the presentation of data outstanding. Ancestry please send me an invitation to try your probable new Rootsweb program for comment before introduction. It is like those easy to use instruction manuals that seem unfathomable that were written by experts who seem to be clueless about simplicity. I am using an older Ancestry FTM that has minimal graphics for data entry. Admittedly, I have a newer version that I use for data printout only. Using the newer version for data entry is a pain. But it is the same thing, the programmers somehow think that more graphics make the program easier to use. But what I really suspect is that the programmers are trying to justify their jobs and increase the ad revenue of the site.

    • Timothy Stowell

      I’m curious about this comment – “5. Look at their minimum size type and make yours 2 sizes bigger and their big type at least two sizes smaller.” So if one has size type 10 make it 12. I understand that but not why if you had size 16 make it 14?

    • quilter2012

      I hope Ancestry does not change RW to the likings of the new FindAGrave which I find unfriendly and visually unappealing. You would think that Ancestry would have addressed this issue before this time. I maintain 9 sites for OHGenWeb which are all hosted at Rootsweb. Oh yes I do have a back-up of each. I wish Rootsweb would support Joomla which makes site mtce time used more efficiently. Hope Ancestry keeps Rootsweb. Just thinking if they close RW would their Ancestry subs who also use RW leave Ancestry altogether. Hmmm.

      • Carole Beach

        Agree with Quilter 2012 on the looks, feel, etc. of the new FindaGrave. The old site was much more concise, warmer, friendlier. And I miss the “official photo” of each cemetery right on the presented page.

        • Marie Blocher

          I agree the new Find A Grave is a disaster. The old one may not have been as flashy, but it got the job done much better.

      • kimsey

        I also hate the new findagrave. Why did they have to ruin a good site. New site not at all easy. and I agree that rootsweb much easier to use than ancestry. Hopefully rootsweb will be up again soon with no changes. I have been on since its beginning years ago.

        • Jeff Lightner

          I use only the old Find A Grave site, and have asked that this continue to be made available, but I doubt that this will happen. I suspect that usage of the new Find A Grave will drop off considerably. I was very disappointed when this wonderful site, with totally volunteer input, was taken over by Ancestry.

    • Rowe-Follett

      Every time there is a situation concerning a site connected Ancestry I have my suspensions. I have been paying them every year since 2000 and it has been going up and up.
      There is information posted on Rootsweb that in some cases put ther by county genealogy societies and Fine-a-Grave would not exist without the thousands of VOLUNTEERS who have tramped through their local cemeteries logging one grave at a time. There are some who say they are not happy and neither am I with the new site. Just a thought…look what happened when “Coke” and “JC Penney” tried to change their tried and true product.

    • Melinda Rowe Kessler

      Speaking of…Janet, I’m looking for Rowe’s related to Isaiah Rowe/Row who came here to SWOhiio from Greens Co. NC in very early 1800’s. Connection?

    • Rowe-Follett

      Hi JANET, I am from the Rowe family who come to the Jamestown Colony almost 400 years ago and I’m happy to say they are still living in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia

    • Rowe-Follett

      Hi JANET, I am from the Rowe family who come to the Jamestown Colony almost 400 years ago and I’m happy to say they are still living in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

  32. In plain language: Hackers stole 300,000 passwords, email addresses and usernames from Ancestry’s databases. Remember this the next time Ancestry cites “security” as an excuse for ignoring customer requests for new features and tools.

    • Timothy Stowell

      In plainer words – the file was in plain English – not encrypted. Hmm. Duh? They’ve had the site for 15 years and no one found this before 12/20? Just in time for Christmas when people have time to search, let’s take down their resources? What’s wrong with leaving the data up and cut off password access? It’s just like looking at a page on CNN except the content doesn’t change as often.

  33. W. K. Bowen

    I’ll certainly miss your website not being there to resolve so many of my questions. Hopefully, you can soon be back in operation. Thank you so much!

  34. “…for the approximately 55,000 customers who used the same credentials at RootsWeb’s surname list and Ancestry…we have locked their Ancestry accounts and will require that they create a new password the next time they visit. We have also sent them emails to alert them to the situation.” Sounds like you should contact all 300,000 people whose information was stolen. Why limit this effort to 55,000 customers?

  35. Martha Kaufman

    Rootsweb was a free genealogy place I used way before Ancestry took it over. Why did Ancestry take Rootsweb? It should still be free and why is Ancestry using our genealogy information and than charging us to see our own information when Roots web was free as well as usgenweb.

    • I have many pages on Free Rootsweb since 1998. Put texascantrells in SEARCH & they should popup. Ancestry has taken my info & photos to their PAY site. I think they should refer back to my pages as SOURCE. I could close Rootsweb and move all my research to my own domain. I have owned domains & done web design. It does not cost that much. Ancestry’s cost prohibits me from access to their info, which by the way has many errors & when trying to give Ancestry documentation is impossible. Said “I’m just a volunteer, I cannot make change.” I’m sorry to hear Ancestry has Find A Grave. “A” also has a finger in Family Search . I miss the old FORUMS. “A” stopped all posting.

    • Tony Dutchak

      I sure hope you get some answers to your questions! What was once a voluntary operation ended up on a huge business venture! Democracy?

  36. Glyn Hnutu-healh

    I really do hope it takes a short period of time in which to return RootWeb to its active status. Please keep me posted. Are my databases intact? Please let me know the status of my databases. Thank you.

  37. Rena Worthen

    I have been a Roots web volunteer for about 20 years being the Virginia county admin for several counties including but not Limited to Botetourt, Floyd, Roanoke, Montgomery, Craig, Patrick. I for one don’t appreciate not being able to access this work. I am in a panic over your short sited removal of Roots web. I am also not pleased that you have cut us off from being able to edit our pages. MY work and time was devoted to these pages for many hours.

  38. Belinda Dettmann

    In the circumstances it is reasonable to block activity on RootsWeb sites, but could they not be made available online as read-only? Then the information contained would still be available to researchers, and in that form the various RootsWeb files are a very important resource.

  39. I hope the content is available soon, and the ability to upload data is restored. I have many many documents and photos, personal, and contributed. As one of the founders of the USGenWeb Archives, I’ve appreciated the fact that Ancestry continued to support the Rootsweb community. My personal page at Rootsweb contains several databases that I have been creating based on historical documents.

  40. TK

    Rootsweb is a good site. I have no confidence that Ancestry will “enhance” it. The data on Rootsweb is more reliable and easier to search than much of the data on Ancestry. Shutting down the message boards was a bad idea and will impede research. I assume shutting it down over the holidays was calculated to drive people into paying for a subscription on Ancestry.

    • Tim Stowell

      I believe the thing you call message boards perhaps query boards are still active as are the mailing lists. There are several aspects related to that are down – any state, county site hosted on Rootsweb along with three special projects hosted there – Griots, Kidz, and Lineage. hosted elsewhere has restored access to county sites hosted on Rootsweb with a work around. is in the process of being fixed.

  41. Pamela Sutterfield

    I just realized there was a problem with RootsWeb and am glad to see it is being worked on. Of course, not fast enough for those involved but I don’t think it was a conspiracy. I always felt my trees were “safe” on Ancestry and FTM but now am not too sure. Service has gone down hill quite a bit. Hoping it’s not a sign of future problems.

  42. Debra Richards

    This is distressing for everyone. Recently I had found an online tree on Rootsweb that contained all the names and relationships of living individuals. The family members had no idea that was out there for all to see and perhaps steal. I for one and thankful the problems have been discovered and investigated. Whatever it takes and whatever time it takes to keep the privacy of individuals safe, I’m all in. I have an ancestry membership and have had one for about 16 yrs. And I will continue, but only if I am convinced that my information is safe.

  43. Lincoln Lowery

    I use Rootsweb to help build my trees here. Better trees I have entice more new customers to join up. I hope Rootsweb is back very soon.

  44. Sheryl

    Why were the hosts of RW websites not given some warning about losing access to these sites? Even if it were just a day or so, I would have been able to save at least some of my pages. I have always felt my info on RW was safe–now I don’t know if I will ever see any of it again. Literally $1000s spent on travelling to different states, purchasing materials and copies, down the drain, not to mention countless hours transcribing, editing and adding it to the sites. I have hosted several websites for 15 years or more. I also feel badly (and guilty) about the many contributors who sent me their info to add to the sites, and which may now be lost.

    • Timothy Stowell

      The latest I’ve heard is that they are moving the site to newer, faster servers. So let’s say currently Rootsweb is on 10 servers. Access to those who update the sites has been cutoff – thus no new updates. Why not show the data as it existed on 12/23 when things were cut off – it can’t be hurt as it is static. Copy files over server by server, which may take a few hours, then bring up each server with the files on it and take down the old one. Restore access to the files there for the people who maintain them, then move to the next server and repeat the process.

      • Judy

        I believe they might need to check our sites for signs of hacking. So they can’t just copy sites to new servers. Or am I off-base?

        • Tim Stowell

          Judy, I don’t know but it seems the approach is use the atomic approach to kill a fly. They stated it only covered 1% of the accounts so 100% must suffer because of 1%. It must require a lot of work to find 1% that were identified and to cut only those off.

        • aces

          There is no reason to check your static user page. No one can hack from it. If you go to and view rootsweb pages that are archived, you can view the source code.
          And see that vast majority of pages are simple html that has no IN. No way to hack and do anything.

  45. Joe Crouch

    Just on Saturday I’d contacted roughly 35 owners of trees on Ancestry who have someone born in Kentucky in 1804 as the son of someone who migrated to Tennessee with his father in 1792, married and raised his family in Tennessee. As the internal web based browser Ancestry has limits messages to 5,000 characters I’ve used my Rootsweb Freepages to provide documentation and notes for those I’ve contacted. They now have my message, but can’t open my Rootsweb freepage at the link I provided. Christmas is a time for family to get together and a lot of families conversation turns to genealogy! Taking down Rootsweb was the Grinch that stole Christmas!

  46. james gross

    i just checked and my rootsweb Freepage website accounts is down. i hope ancestry is able to re-activate them as my genealogy website “Gross-Steinberg family tree” is hosted here. based on the posts, it appears im not the only one affected.

  47. Loretta

    Don’t panic, everyone. It’s all good. The techs have got this. Meanwhile, let this serve as a reminder to back up your personal genealogy files. In addition to using RootsWeb as a “cloud,” keep your trusty archival flash drive up to date with your latest raw data and a GEDCOM. Now’s a good time to do that update to your flash drive. While you’re waiting.

    Those of us who have used the RootsWeb hosting services for ten years and more do remember that this is not the first outage, not the first migration to newer equipment, not the first adaptation to newer technology. This too shall pass.

  48. Pam Wood Waugh

    Well, I was really excited to show family members, over Christmas, some new information on my website but the site is hosted on Rootsweb. Very disappointing. This is the time of year that people are getting together and the perfect opportunity to discuss connections. These things happen, I know, but I wish it had happened weeks before – or after – Christmas.

  49. D. Williams

    I see all of these comments about people losing data that they have put on their websites. I can see maybe someone missing out on not having a copy of perhaps an old document that they transcribed for somebody else, but what I don’t understand is why would you not have a copy of your website on your own computer at least? RootsWeb sites require you to upload your files to the online website, so you must have something locally which you created to make the page in the first place. Where are your set of files? I’m not trying to offend anyone, but I can’t even imagine not having a copy of any of my websites, which even if the entire system went down forever, I would still have them all on my computer, or disks, or thumb drives, or external hard drives.

  50. Joy Dabbs

    This has crippled my research! I used Daily your obituary listing for Penna and frequently wrote Cambria Library for obit copies. I’ve resolved so many questions on my tree this way. I sure hope & pray Ancestry doesn’t “update” this site because they have ruined Find a Grave. I just want my obituary listings back! For the free links I don’t know why we can’t have that back. No passwords, email addresses there. I’m afraid I will never see the Penna obituary listings again and it was such a valuable resource. Bummer …..

  51. Jane

    Not having the Rootsweb system available is definitely an imposition to everyone who uses it. It has always been one of the best resources available for genealogists of all levels. I know that patience is not a virtue many researchers possess but having worked in IT for years, rushing a fix is never a good idea. Once everyone is back to work on Jan 2, 2018, they should be able to create a plan for salvaging or recreating the files/databases. Let them fix it and test it so the data is protected from malicious people, who destroy data for fun.

    Everyone should take this week to back up every file, document and hand written note onto at least one external hard drive that isn’t accessible by anyone but you. You should also consider backup software, e.g. Acronis that can do both a backup and restore of your files. I have four external hard drives that I rotate using for backups of my files, as well as having my files on OneDrive which offers deals to get free space. Every day you work on a tree, you should back up the files you used and once a week you should back up all of your files and do a GEDCOM of your tree. Rotate where you save your backups so that when a hard drive dies or the USB connector breaks, you haven’t lost more than a day’s work.

    It’s work to set up a backup plan and stick to it, but you won’t regret it when a hard drive dies on you. You can get an external My passport 2 TB drive for less than $75 or a My Book 4TB desktop drive for about $100, or a network My Cloud 6TB drive for $200. Protect your data, you spent years collecting this information, don’t count on anyone but yourself to protect it.

  52. James L. Patterson

    I sincerely hope that your site will be up and running soon. It is such a valuable tool when doing research. The work done in collecting information on the various cemeteries and you allowing your information being made available make research so fascinating. Please return
    as soon as you can!!!

    • B Helms

      Not available any longer – it aged out of the cache and is gone forever now. This is happening to page after page after page. If you haven’t grabbed it out of Google Cache already, it is or soon will be too late.

  53. Ro-Jean

    Why don’t you just say Thank You to everyone working to correct this problem. I’m think there are just so many people loving to complain, their anguish upsets everyone else. Take care. Everything will be fixed.

    • BUT – what are they fixing? It can’t be anything to do with the “databases” since, according to the Ancestry statement the problem relates to Rootsweb ftp access codes and Ancestry passwords – and Ancestry’s rather quaint ideas that some people used their RSWB access code as a password to Ancestry (????!!!!) I’m supposed to be one of those people … I’m not a genius but I ain’t daft neither: my ftp code is hidden carefully. Logically, according to the Ancestry reading of the situation they should have taken down Ancestry (at risk because of the passwords being known, and theirs is a paying website) – and left the Rootsweb data untouched since it bears no relation to the ftp access code, but simply disabled ftp access for the moment (ie no uploading of new or corrected pages). Such a big organisation with such a poor analysis of the situation? I don’t believe it – what are they doing with Rootsweb data?

    • margaret

      So now it’s January 5th and it doesn’t appear that anyone is answering these questions any longer…..I am so glad I didn’t spend endless hours putting information on Rootsweb for the benefit of someone who is now using that information for their own monetary gain. And if the “free” information reappears I will be happy to eat my hat.

  54. David

    Most rootsweb pages can still be accessed via google. If you know the url or keywords on the page you want, plug that into google search and then click the little arrow and select “cached”. also has a backup copy of the rootsweb pages, tho’ you’ll need the actual url (which is currently offline) and will pull up a saved copy.

  55. Sherry Cox

    I cannot commend Rootsweb enough, and I really miss the opportunities it provided. If Ancestry continues its withdrawal, please provide a similar service.

  56. B Helms

    I’ve been expecting, and dreading, something like this. Genealogical research used to be a toy of the idle rich. Somebody, or some Big Corporation, seems to want to return it to that status and take it out of the hands of the peasants who have no need to know who their great-grandparents were. Bit by bit they are taking away and/or trashing everything that doesn’t have a monthly fee. First they destroyed the usefulness of Genforum, then they messed up, now they have come for Rootsweb.

    There’s an easy way to prove I’m full of it: get Rootsweb fixed and back up ASAP. The longer you take, the more cynical I become.

    • Pamela

      I agree. And the site needs to be returned and not charge us for access ASAP please. This is the only way those of us on fixed incomes can share our knowledge of family history with others.
      Thank you.

      • Tim Stowell

        Pamela, actually that’s not entirely true. There are several reputable organizations where one can share their information among which are: The USGenWeb Project, American History & Genealogy Project. These are run by volunteers covering every state / county / borough / parish in the USA. WorldGenWeb Project covers the world.

        • dontbedumb

          tim, if you read other posts on this page, you would see that USGenWeb is impacted by rootsweb being down.
 is lying and could easily make the content available.

        • Jan

          GenWeb sites hosted by Ancestry/Rootsweb are definitely down. I think there are some states/counties that have GenWeb sites which are not hosted thorugh Rootsweb, so those may still be up. Unfortunately, the state & counties I use the most are down.

        • Timothy Stowell

          I know the USGenWeb sites hosted on Rootsweb are down, as I host several of them. What we’ve done in New York and Minnesota is link to the last archive of the site hosted on . I’ve encouraged other states to do the same and written the national director to consider doing such for the state sites hosted on Rootsweb. It is the least we can do for our visitors.

  57. Gary W Watson

    We need this back ASAP. If not a credit should be issues to all accounts. Sometimes Rootsweb is the only way we have to find people since your team hosed the search system a few years back. You never have made an attempt to improve that so have little faith about rootsweb.

  58. Kay Schweitzer

    I do not use Rootweb very often. However, I started researching my tree using Root Web. Then as I was able to buy Ancestry.Com; I using them. There are still use for Root Web that my ancestors put on. Sp every so often I refer back to RootWeb. Please keep this free site active.

  59. Richard Gruebel

    After getting my DNA results, and hearing the results of my wife and my niece, I am of the opinion that DNA is more informative for the female side of the family. My father was born in Germany as were his parents yet my DNA is 6% German. MY Mothers side was a Swedish grandfather and English grandmother. My DNA was heavy English and Swedish.
    My niece was 60% German (again her grandfather was German). She had no Italian even though her fathers side was Italian (less than 1 quarter).
    My wifes DNA was also heavy English with low Swedish. Her mothers side was English/Irish while her grandfather was born in Sweden.

    • Wayne N. Parker

      Hi Richard,
      I am part of the Parker y-DNA Project since 2009 and I am P239 of Family Group #7. Since the y-DNA is passed from the father to his sons almost unchanged, I have collected over 4,000 pages of Information on the Parker y-DNA FG#7 due to the fact that we have over 50 Parker male that had their y-DNA tested and matched in FG#7 Therefore I would said that the male y-DNA test is a BIG, BIG step in genealogy research.

      Wayne N. Parker

  60. Frank Strickland

    Given the way it was explained and the minimal numbers actually in question it seems a bit of “over reaction” to me. In the current hacker atmosphere involving politics and businesses I suppose it is understandable, but come on guys!

  61. Scott Schaffer

    RootsWeb is down and has also been showing the following error message for many weeks when I try to upload my gedcom file. “Our error: Due to unusually high demand, we are currently unable to process family tree files larger than 75MB. We anticipate having a solution soon. We apologize for the inconvenience.” Sounds like the tech department needs an overhaul. If it took me weeks to fix a tech issue and my work I would be out of a job in short order. I now have no way of uploading any genealogy information.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Scott: GEDCOM files uploaded to Ancestry have a maximum file size of 75MB so unfortunately it would not currently be possible to do this if the GEDCOM file is larger. But we will of course pass on your feedback in relation to this and we’re sorry for any frustration caused. In regards to the error message that you get when you search for results, we would advise to please try these steps to see if it helps,

      • Isabel Morse Maresh

        After reading pages of complaints about and Rootsweb, I am totally confused. I have ordered a DNA test, and have not yet sent it in [due to one fact that it’s bitter cold in the Northeast, and I didn’t know if freezing in the mailbox would be harmful.] Also, if I get out to mail it from a P.O. will I get results, or are some of us on ‘Fixed income’ going to lose our benefits from belonging to God bless,

      • Scott Schaffer

        There used to be no problem uploading larger files than 75mb. It was only a few months ago I began to get the message. It is hard to believe that file size could be an issue for a company as large as yours that lives on data. By excluding large gedcom files you are depriving your members access to many many years of valuable research. Why has this been an issue for so many months with no resolution or any contact from customer support or the tech department? Support to your subscribers seems to be lacking.

      • Linda Bell

        I am based in England and have a family tree on Worldconnect that I cannot access at all since Rootsweb has been offline. I rely on Rootsweb to access data on other family trees. When are you going to reinstate it PLEASE? This is a complete disaster for many of us.

  62. Roder51

    Anything I’ve ever found on my genealogy on the Internet I downloaded. Nobody is happy about this and I do believe it just sticks another nail in the already damaged reputation of My tree and info has never been online so Ancestry has never made a nickel from my work. I will say this. I’m not at all surprised by this move.

  63. Jean Plummer

    I have used Rootsweb for over 15 years with my entire family tree posted to search with other family members and the hope that some day when my great grandchildren finally become interested in who or where their family came from, they will be able to locate the records I have worked so hard to find. Please bring it back, it is a very important source for us seniors. I miss all the great treasures on this great site.

  64. Denise Wells

    I am the National Coordinator for The USGenWeb Project, with the national pages at . We currently have about 8 states on Rootsweb and over 1,000 county websites on the Rootsweb servers. This is causing a huge outcry amongst my volunteers who are very concerned about the status of Rootsweb with Ancestry. Consequently, I am dealing with some serious issues here at USGW. If you can write me privately to give me some additional update for our huge national project, I would truly appreciate your kind assistance and information.

    Denise Wells

    • B. Warner

      We have spent years developing our county website on rootsweb to preserve our history for future generations and to assist people around the world in researching their family history. Our local libraries depended on oursite. Our county cemeteries are on there, thousands of obituaries, photos, etc.,etc., etc. We have well over 1,500 pages. Now I can’t even find mention of our website on Google. Please tell me all those years of hard work weren’t wasted!

    • B. Warner

      We have spent years developing our county website on rootsweb to preserve our history for future generations and to assist people around the world in researching their family history. Our local libraries depended on oursite. Our county cemeteries are on there, thousands of obituaries, photos, etc.,etc., etc. We have well over 1,500 pages. Now I can’t even find mention of our website on Google. Please tell me all those years of hard work weren’t wasted!

  65. Scott A Schaffer

    How about also fixing the “An unexpected error occurred. You can try reloading the page, or come back later.” error that is occurring so often when I search for results in recent weeks on Ancestry? The tech department seems laughable at this point.

  66. Dianna Jaynes

    I am one of the contributors to adding pictures and obit to the Johnson County Historical Society thru Darrell Music and I don’t appreciate not being able to look at the site in which like I said I helped add to the Cemetery sites and the obituary site as well on my own free time of going to every family cemetery and taking my own pictures to add and they r not for sale to ancestry or any other site to make money on at my expensive .

  67. I’m still having trouble understanding why it is necessary to take down the whole Rootsweb site. And if the security risk is so high because this password list was “out there” how come is still up and working? How come the data stored on Rootsweb has to be restored? Seems to me that the data shouldn’t have been affected at all. This looks mighty suspicious to me. All this is doing is hurting the hundreds of thousands of users of RootsWeb and it’s not giving Ancestry a very good name. I don’t ever remember this many outages before Ancestry took over Rootsweb.

  68. Brock Way

    Obvious ruse. They are simply using one excuse after another to degrade RootsWeb to the point where they can say, well, let’s just scrap it. The lists archive searchability is dead, WorldConnect search is dead. Their Y-DNA is dead. The homepage editor is dead. People need to lighten up about this most recent thing. RootsWeb was ALREADY KILLED by Ancestry.

  69. Kevin W

    Man, you guys have no idea HOW badly you dropped the ball on this one.
    You ruined MANY Christmases this year. THE big trend was DNA testing and so many genealogists were excited to share their results pairing up their rootsweb data and their DNA results. Instead a lot of headaches and havoc with the data down.
    I myself had to deal with a crazy relative in law who was arguing facts and I did not have my “proof” which was an obituary hosted on rootsweb.
    From a marketing stance, you done goofed. You need to fix this by January 1st.
    Or you will see a lot of people CANCEL

  70. Carla

    If it was a revenue producing site, a way would be found to continue making the data accessible. Perhaps read-only mode. Why haven’t any of these people’s questions about continuing to make the data available been answered?

  71. JO

    I utilize as a back research tool for investigative work with a government agency. My account was personal. This also dovetailed with an indispensable research matrix. Thank you for taking such swift action

  72. I read that some people are believed to have used their Rootsweb code (to FTP pages to their website), as their password to Ancestry. I found that incredible when I read it, and since then I have received an email from Ancestry stating that I am one of the people who did that. It’s absolute nonsense. Rootsweb gives the access code when the site is created. Individuals create a password of their own choice for their Ancestry account. If they made this mistake with me, the whole process is useless. Either the security issue is different to that stated – or … what is happening?
    It’s a great pity the sites were pulled just before Christmas. Many people will have been very disappointed when, after receiving a gift of their own tree, they were not able to see the wider tree onsite.

  73. Amanda

    Holy cow you guys, relax! Yes, this is a total bummer! I was hoping to spend lots of time on RootsWeb during semester break to supplement my other personal research. But it’s only been a few days. They’re doing everything possible to protect identities, and sensitive information. You’d be waaaayyyy angrier if a bunch of randos suddenly had access to some of your most personal info!

    • Timothy Stowell

      Randos? Google already has more access to people’s personal data. One not need be a hacker to find out a lot about people. Use an email address for someone, find out where they live, a picture of their house, how old they are, people related to them, their phone number, etc – all on Google, all with simple searches. Not many folks complain about that…

      But back to a point someone else made – static data, cemetery listings have nothing hackable about them, if access to the account that loaded the data is cut off.

  74. Dame Fogerty

    For the inconvenience, offer everyone a full one year world membership at and a full free year “Publisher Extra” at Otherwise I feel you are insincere in your apologies and can’t wait to join the class action.

    • Carole Beach

      Or the ones before that who IMPROVED Family Tree Maker beyond recognition. Having purchased FTM 2009 (and being terribly disappointed), I still use FTM 2005 for all my genealogy data – the way FTM 2005 is organized just fits the way my mind works, I guess.

      • Roder51

        …and here I was thinking only a handful of us still use 2005. I love it and no other version has since some along to improve on it. Cheers!

  75. David

    Thank You ROOTSWEB, for sharing with us the perceived problem, and of your desire to correct it as timely and efficiently as possible!! You have done us all a service by revealing the selfish, impatient, unappreciative, folks who seem to want to verbally abuse this service!!!!

  76. L1

    newbie to smartphone. How does anyone rid their dear communicator of the programs we like or need. Why are these people tracking and wanting all information about everybody? It’s ridiculous and I’m sick of all the crap !

  77. Lucy Barron

    I have been using Rootsweb Worldconnect trees for a couple of decades and hope you will bring it back. The better genealogists (those who don’t just copy other people’s trees into their own) often post their research notes here on their trees and it helps me know where to go to resolve research questions. This makes my tree in Ancestry more reliable! I also use the information I find to correct or add information to Ancestry documents themselves, making the site more valuable. I am happy that you are doing something to fix the security breach but just want to add my two cents that the service should be brought back online.

  78. Ray

    To Ancestry support personnel — I don’t know how long it’s going to be to get Rootsweb back up and running, but if it’s going to be a long time, what you could do would be to put it back up but in a read-only mode. Disable the ability to login and anything that requires logging in, but re-enable the display of information. This by itself would not be a security risk, and would go a long way to keeping users happy.

    • Pat

      Cannot agree more – having read only access would be so wonderful and definitely would go a long way towards soothing the savage beasts among us (and before everyone pounces on that – I count myself in that group). The ease of which Roots Web presents the data is unsurpassed by anything that Ancestry provides.
      And I want thank all of the wonderful people out here (there) who have input data to Roots Web – I find the information simply fascinating as well as learning a lot of the historical tidbits about the person and where they lived

    • iknowhowtofixthis

      This is so easy to accomplish. change CHMOD settings and then anyone can view the site in Read Only. 444 = Can be viewed by anyone, can’t be modified without changing the CHMOD.
      This would be used for protecting configuration files.

  79. yellaroze

    I use this site everyday I tend to find more info on this site than Ancestry. I’m addicted! LOL Please hurry up & get it back on line ! I’ve tried other sites & they just aren’t as good as Roots! Thank you for this site its awesome !

  80. I have been using this because one of my husband’s relatives had done the genealogy for his mothers side of the family. It has saved me a lot of work, but I’m only maybe a 1/4 of the way through. I really need this information to finish my husband’s line. Would greatly appreciated having access to it soon.

  81. kevin skelley

    Rootsweb site is a great tool in cross referencing information and now it is down and I have to wait for it to come back on line?

  82. Christina Partyka Pierce

    Please provide an updated estimate on when the site will be back up or at least release the reference pages that don’t require anything… SOOOOO much of my research is linking back to rootsweb and I can’t get to it.

  83. John S Husack

    Roots Web is still a great site. A lot of the information is now from long ago,but still useful. I hope that all of us can put new results onto your site to connect with other potential family members. Also I hope that we can have an easier way to connect with those with whom we are related to as many of the email contacts are outdated on the World Connect pages. Best wishes and support for resolving the security issues.

    • Caroline

      Quote “A lot of the information is now from long ago” – well, kinda normal, ’tis about the ancestors … The updates and input came from the Guestbooks, which Ancestry, in its wisdom, deleted. One of my old gbks has info from 3 generations of a family tree, spread over several countries. Only with site longevity, open access, such as Rootsweb, can that be enabled.

      • Barbara B.

        “A lot of information from long ago”… I should hope so. This is genealogy, we WANT information from long ago! *wink* As many questions as ancestry tries to answer by continually adding resources, there is a lot of information copying without research. Rootsweb was populated with a lot of dedicated researchers. No one can deny that. I hope it’s back open soon, too.

  84. Pamela

    How much longer do you expect Rootsweb / Ancestry to be off-line please? I’m handicapped and really miss spending time researching. Thank you. Happy New Year.

  85. Dennis in UC

    I was very surprised to read here that so many researchers still use WorldConnect like I do. Thought I was the only one. Doing research on WC I’ve seen very few files that were updated in the last month or year. Was afraid WC was going to be taken down soon by Ancestry as no one was using them anymore. Happily this old-timer was wrong. I post photos and documents in my WorldConnect file with the images stored in RW’s FreePages. I tried Ancestry trees for a while and they are way too convoluted for us 80 yr olds and one has to be very computer literate to use them now. That FTM/Sync thing absolutely drove me nuts and doesn’t work half the time. I do have a subscription to Ancestry however, just for document research. Most trees I’ve looked at are a waste of time. I’m sure a few are accurate though but not going to take the time to figure out which ones are. I’ll do my own research. Also have several web pages stored in FreePages, but took a while to learn to use Filezilla, so will be glad when this problem is corrected.

    Long Live RW’s WorldConnect and FreePages

  86. Terry McGuire

    I have been wanting to get back to the 5 years of genealogy research I did before Ancestry was nearly as sophisticated as it is. I had saved my tree to Rootsweb and had numerous contacts. I had thousands of records that I was slowly gathering and verifying and heard that Rootsweb had been bought by another company with the agreement that their database would still be freely searchable but could not find it. My computer crashed and all I had left were splintered GEDCOM 3.5 files, which I can no longer load. I had way too much research to manually re-enter. I am sure my original AOL email address changed to my current one, but would like notified when this comes back up. I would also like to know if it only lets me manually download one family history at a time. I certainly didn’t add it that way. I was frustrated when the LDS church changed the process from downloading a GEDCOM file to one family at a time as well. At this point, I have 5 years worth of obsessive hobby work to replace and no heart to do the accuracy work I was interested in doing based upon the database I had. PLEASE PUT ME ON A UPDATE LIST FOR MEMBERS OF BOTH. I have been a paying member of Ancestry in the past and stopped when I realized I would have to start over. This would really help me get back to this. Additionally, I just received my AncestryDNA results which corroborate a lot of my research as well as giving clues to the 4th line that I had hit a dead end on. Thank you for this notice. I had tried to find access to these records for so long!

  87. Barbara

    How long is Rootsweb going to be offline??? I use the information there frequently and am a little irritated that there is no date for ancestry customers to be able to use it again.

  88. Barbara B. was blocked and is now read-only. I do hope that rootsweb isn’t shut down, too. Mocavo is gone. I’m a bit sad that all of the smaller research spots have been taken over by “genealogical corporations”.

    Please fix what’s wrong and open it back up.


      Mocavo is not gone, they sold all of the information you had on there to Find My Past so they could sell your information back to you for $20 per month. (It’s the same company but users who created it to be free forever were not given what they were promised, don’t be surprised when Find-A-Grave becomes a pay site…owned by ?…whoever kicks the money up to Ancestry.)

  89. iknowhowtofixthis

    hey all. if you’re a paid member, ask for refunds since so much content s inaccessible right now. Half my research is offline and I didn’t pay to have half a service. also report to BBB

  90. Bonnie Follett

    I discovered this “security” takedown only today when I went to my freepages website to do some review and updates, read your notice on a blog and then I also tried my WorldConnect gedcom site only to find both sites taken down without notice!! How extremely unprofessional of to take down these personal free sites that I and so many others have used and relied on for so many years, without so much as an email to notify us!! – I have used these rootsweb-based sites since the 1990’s to share my online family tree information with others, and my (and their) research was much furthered by the free sharing of information that resulted when other searchers were able to contact me. Over the years I have seen a growing and aggressive approach by to become a monopoly in the area of family tree research, buying up other sites and closing off as much free exchange of information as possible. It is very disappointing and especially egregious for older researchers on fixed incomes who can’t afford prices that ancestry charges to use their site, which is far less user friendly, and makes contacting others far more difficult. I repeat – the ancestry website is NOT user friendly. So I have only paid for it occasionally (back when I was working) and during periods when I was actively researching. I always found better and more complete information elsewhere however. And considering most serious researchers use an off line program for editing and updating their gedcoms, when I would go to ancestry to post an updated gedcom and deleted the old one, I would find any additional assets I had uploaded such as photos would suddenly disappear as well. So at that point I decided only to do updates to my WorldConnect gedcom and just let my older data just sit without updates.

    I won’t say anything further about frustrations with, just again will note that this security breach that resulted in you took down 100% of people’s information and hard work for 1% that may be problematic without any notice (and without a promise to reinstate the non-problematic info by a certain time) was extremely unprofessional and will likely cause a huge backlash against ancestry. I can only hope other sites will pop up with a better solution to family tree research than provides. (My suspicion is that does not actually plan to reinstate all this information you took down, that this is just one more ploy to force researchers into your paid services.)

  91. Jeff Record

    As much as I hate Rootsweb being down (and I do!) – I think we need to give Ancestry a bit of a break. They do host it basically at no charge and they are trying to do right by us with a security breech that could potentially cause any one of us problems. And yes, they have jacked up, but they’ll figure it out (fire the fool that did that) and hopefully they won’t mess with the Rootsweb format – (God, could they be that stupid?) but in the end we’ve got to give them a little bit of our trust to do right by all of us in the genealogical community. Yes, they are in it to make money – last I checked this was America and that was ok to do. Let’s support them so they can work for us – and maybe, just maybe, they’ll see that by keeping these free services alive we will all learn and profit more in the long run.

    • Timothy Stowell

      Think of it this way – Rootsweb has a potload of data, freely contributed, freely copied by a for profit company since it is on their servers…why would you not use a loss leader to get more free data?

      However, as one gentleman stated, at some point, who cares if the data one posted is used by someone else to make a profit, if in the meantime it is used by others to fill in their family trees or to learn about the area / times their ancestors lived?

  92. michael walls

    Find a Grave was Butchered by these punks…removed all the memorials..and all the family notes…and that was just very recent…Now thy eliminate Rootsweb???…Money Hungry..??..WE are being held hostage..All our hard work as True Researchers are being eliminated as well….Wake Up and Smell the Roses…And Hang onto your Wallets

    • Just as I thought. Ancestry purchased RW, refused to transfer mailing list administration for lists I have donated to for decades as well as administered others.

      All my information will be transferred to my domain for genealogy and shared only with family which is a shame.

      Ancestry STOLE the research we the generous ones were attempting to connect with.

      A shame for those who cannot write code. Shame on ancestry. MY DNA may have been purchased via ancestry it was not the only site and there ARE free sites or very minimal to take YOUR own DNA that you PAID for and upload it elsewhere.

      Wallet held tightly. NO further subscription and .. oddly other subscribers saw the light before me.

      OH.. found my father and 5 siblings.. NOT via THIS SITE or ancestry.

      So a pox on your greed.

  93. are going email folks with when done fixing the problem? I have had tree for years and I folks who use it to help link to me and others. Here is a question well this site stay free?????

  94. Deb O'Reilly

    It’s been 5 days since the notice went out and Rootsweb was taken off-line. I think it would be nice if we could get an update on status of repairs and estimated date when Rootsweb can be anticipated to be brought back on-line.

  95. would like to post to our Starke County Genealogical website, do you have a time frame to have the site back open, I’ve been unable to upload anything for a while now. Thank you

  96. I have been with Freepages since the late 1990’s and have vast amount of information, but realize the FREE in Freepages isn’t going to last forever. Many may remember such sites as FortuneCities, GeoCities, AOLHometown, Anglefire and Tripod it will go away. I used to put banner ads on my over 3000 pages for but they quit paying me for subscriptions from those ads so I never do the ads anymore. I frequently downloaded all my Freepage information via FTP and can upload to by Yahoo Small Business domain and change only a few lines per link, lots of work but worth it. If they do put the Freepages back online I advise you to backup your information. I have a 2TB that housed mine just fine. In the meantime I would like to thank Ancestry and Rootsweb for offering their services throughout these many years and hope they would consider getting their happy users information back long enough to salvage what they can.

  97. Andrew Mead

    I own several domain names which use web-forwarding to two web sites hosted on Rootsweb, also to my Gedcoms on WorldConnect. I viewed Rootsweb as the backup for my sites, as I could always download them if I lost the master copies – now I can’t do that (but I have taken backups of them to a drive elsewhere!)
    I used Rootsweb for three reasons:
    1) It was free (!)
    2) It was unlimited in space
    3) It promised to be there ‘forever’
    I hope it returns soon, as it was. It will take a long time to FTP the websites back if they have been lost as they are fairly large now. It is also costing me money for the currently useless domain names.

  98. Don Warren is a bully. They ruined when they took it over and now again by it’s horrible reconstruction. I shudder to think that the wonderful Rootsweb World Connect will become another of their hostages to the genealogists of the world. But that’s what it looks like. And it’s an additional shame that they data they are holding hostage is info that was supplied by the users.

  99. SK

    I work in a customer service focused job place and the number one thing that my customers expect are timely updates. It’s never acceptable to update/post to the user community (Customers) and then go offline/silent for an extended period of time without an update. At this point should a resolution plan and they need to provide an update even if they don’t have a firm resolution date.

    • Janie L Vicars

      I have found so much information for my family and friends. I use Rootsweb and pay for
      Ancestry, please put them back on. I cannot afford to pay for another site. I really don’t understand the problem. Some people don’t want to share , but we are what we are and nothing can’t change that. Be proud of who you are.

  100. I understand that some sites will not be returning due to data loss. I am asking about the Forest-Area Historical Society site hosted by rootsweb. Can the site be saved. If not I do have the files which I previously uploaded. I await your reply.

    • Amy

      There should be no permanent data loss with this incident. It’s all temporary–a few weeks in total according to Ancestry. The websites on RootsWeb were actually not affected by this incident. Ancestry is just being overly cautious in taking the whole site offline.

  101. Jessica Mitchell

    My journey into figuring out if I had different father started when I was about 18. I remember asking my dad if he was my birth father and he said yes, which he claims was confirmed by a DNA test in the early 70’s. After he passed away in 1994, I tried to look into this a little deeper. I was born on Easter Sunday in 1972. I was brought home from the hospital the very same day. This was all my family would tell me. Actually, the woman who told me this was an aunt through marriage. She didn’t get the memo that she wasn’t ever supposed to share that story with me. When I tried to get more information they just laughed it off and wouldn’t share anything else. (On my 40th birthday, the uncle that’s married to this woman I just mentioned was arguing with me that I couldn’t have been brought home the same day I was born because the hospital would never released me.. He refused to believe me so he went over to his sister (who knows more than she will ever share), and I heard her tell him that my parents didn’t have insurance and since I was healthy, the hospital released me to who they were told was my father. So, if my parents had no health insurance how could they afford a DNA test in the 70’s??

    Back then the internet wasn’t what it is now and I had no idea what was. Also at this time, I believed my mother might still be alive somewhere even though I was led to believe she died when I was 4. Within these next 2 years I found out that my mother had passed away when I was 6, she was married & divorced before she met my “father” and she had several siblings. I was able to get in contact with my aunt on my mom’s side when I was 23. I asked if I had a different father than my sister and she told me a story about how my “parents” fought after I was born, my mother went to stay with this sister in Florida, and this man (“my father’) was so in love with my mother that he chased after her and brought us back to NJ to his family. They had my little sister two years later. My mom’s sister didn’t come out and say he was not my father but she also didn’t confirm that he was. Sometime in the mid to late 90’s I found This is where I was able to find some information on my mother’s side of the family. As exciting as this was, I was very inexperienced with the internet and and didn’t know what to do with the information found as far as connecting to living relatives. In 2011, a friend of mine purchased the mtDNA kit for me as a Christmas present. We were hoping this would give insight as to where I was from. It wasn’t the kind of test I thought it was. Heartbreak. Eventually with their current DNA kit. In June 2012 I placed an order. When the results came back I thought it was a mistake. I called my sister and asked her to test as well. I order 4 additional tests for my husband and my kids. Once the results came back on my sister and my kids I knew the results were accurate. Now I had concrete proof that my sister and I do not share the same father. So the search begins to find my biological father. In 2014 I believe, I finally got ahold of my godmother who was best friends with my mother and her sister. I asked her who my father was and she said my mother was a very private person and she didn’t say a word to anyone. My godmother took a picture of me from my christening and showed it to her own mother who supposedly had the ‘sixth-sense’ and she told my godmother that I was an bi-racial child. Still no answers as to who is my biological father is. In July 2016, my mom’s sister passed away. Her only child contacted me and told me she found a number to one of the brother’s and his wife (our aunt and uncle on our mom’s side). I called her and she told me she knew who my biological dad was and that he passed away around the same time as my mother (1978.) At least I had a name I told myself. I searched every spelling to this name but even without a date of birth the search kept coming up “no results found.” I just about gave up as I was literally back to square one. November of this year (2017), I get an email from a woman that shows up as a first cousin. After narrowing it down to which 2 of her uncles could be my father, he orders an AncestryDNA test. Wednesday, December 20, 2017 I found the other 1/2 of me! My father has finally been revealed. I now have an additional 6 siblings!!!! This journey has been so long. My two worst fears were that I would find my biological father but he passed away and the other was that maybe this other family wouldn’t be accepting. So far I have only been in contact with my first cousin & her mother (my biological father’s sister), one of my uncles (my biological father’s brother), my father and one of my sisters. My husband and I are bringing our 3 children to meet some of the family for the first time this summer. If I had the time, I’d share more of this story that lead to this point…but maybe someday I’ll write a book. Thanks Ancestry!

    • Jessica Mitchell – if you are still reading. My herstory is very similar to yours in some ways. I found my 5 siblings which make for a total of SEVEN half siblings who are living as far as I know.

      Ancestry.. Some of us, were savvy enough having seen many sites disappear.

      With the purchase of Legacy, Find-A-Grave where even copyrighted images are “claimed” via fine print and genealogists who merely wanted to share information I’d say that the more aware persons will spread the word as to this complete breakdown in trust.

      Personally, my data was never fully shared as to what I found.. mostly not via Ancestry.

    • Margaret Scheffler

      What a wonderful story. Persistence does pay off!!! I do have faith Ancestry will bring back WorldConnect, hopefully keeping the same format and Ancestry’s little green leaves as I like to back in to my own database and check for sources they suggest that are not in my main database at home.

  102. Sue

    Use this as an opportunity to investigate other family tree hosts eg tribal pages or wiki tree Most disappointed users make the mistake of editing trees online rather than uploading edited gedcoms

    • Amy

      I’m not sure how this is relevant. You can’t edit RootsWeb WorldConnect trees online. You have to upload a GEDcom from your computer to update it, therefore the tree is already saved on one’s computer. Also, WikiTree is a colaborative tree like OneWorldTree (which Ancestry wisely got rid of) and what is currently on FamilySearch–not the safest place to deposit your family tree as anyone can change information in the tree online.

      • Sue

        Many of the comments circulate around losing data as they have edited their trees online without backing up. You can/could edit trees online. By only using Rootsweb, and it certainly was very good, is like putting all your eggs in one basket. Hence, check out other web hosting sites but don’t assume they will last forever eg Mundia was a good one for a while

        • Amy

          Again, RW WorldConnect trees CANNOT be updated online, you must upload a GEDcom file–so if your using them you MUST have a copy of your tree somewhere else. Also, RW FreePages can no longer be edited online (for those who put info on there). Some people are complaining on this blog because they’ve lost the backup copy of their tree they put on RW, but it’s only temporary. Others posting on here seem to be just griping about Ancestry, and seem to be misinformed and spreading misinformation about RootsWeb–so don’t believe everything you read in the comments here.

      • Kathryn

        You’re ignoring those of us who don’t necessarily have our own GEDCOM but depended on the data uploaded many years ago by distant cousins we didn’t know existed until we saw the data on RW. If you read the comments by many others, RW was a valuable repository for data loaded by others.

  103. elise bowen

    today, at wikipedia: (which, through donations, remains freely accessible)
    “RootsWeb was acquired by Ancestry in June 2000. RootsWeb is a free genealogy community that uses online forums, mailing lists, and other resources to help people research their family history. Founded in 1993 by Brian Leverich and Karen Isaacson as the Roots Surname List, it is the oldest free online community genealogy research site. Users can upload GEDCOM files of their information for others to search at the WorldConnect portion of the site. Trees uploaded to WorldConnect are searchable at both the RootsWeb and Ancestry websites. RootsWeb provides resources (such as webspace, mailing list, message boards) for the WorldGenWeb project.
    On December 20, 2017, a file containing 300,000 RootsWeb user names, passwords, and email addresses was exposed to the internet. The 300,000 records were from RootsWeb surname list service with 55,000 of those records were also login credentials.” [sic]
    this comment can also serve as a time-stamp record for any who need this.

    • Marie Blocher

      It is my understanding that when Brian Leverich and Karen Isaacson sold Rootsweb to Ancestry it was with the provision it remain free to the public.
      However that agreement would not preclude Ancestry from deleting RW altogether.

      • Charles Moore

        I see no reason that a successful corporation like Ancestry like Ancestry would concoct such a lie to its public, especially knowing very well that many RootsWeb users are also paying customers of Ancestry. The cost of keeping up RootsWeb compared to how it benefits the genealogy community, an in turn benefits them as a corporation, is a minimum. In the past, they have made changes to RootsWeb and have given notice well in advance.

  104. Patricia

    I too am hoping that this situation is resolved and the information that was available on RootsWeb is retained. I remember when RootsWeb first started and would be upset if it went away. The information was invaluable and I hope that it will continue to exist as a free source for the genealogical community.

  105. Marcia Hardy

    I would like to know what happen to rootsweb’s contents! Rootsweb has always been free and it was a community of genealogists sharing information and knowledge from gleaning records, graveyards, family tree, history, ect. ect. ect.
    One day took it over and nothing has been the same, it was broken. URL’s stopped working, websites were lost, information gone, our free community was taken over by and I believe they are sabotaging rootsweb

  106. Thomas Hinton

    Being violated in this manner is very disconcerting. Understanding what action you are taking is helpful, but the most troublesome thing for most of us who use this database and service is not knowing when (or if) it will be available again. If you are going to close the service permanently just say so, or not. If you are considering charging fees for it’s use just say so, or not. If you expect to have the problems resolved in the next five to ten days just say so, or not. As someone who has spent more than thirty years in the computer business I am absolutely positive that you have a target date for a resolution whether it is restoration, a fee or discontinuance, so just say the date. If you do not have target date that speaks to a bigger issue.
    I have been a member of Ancestry for more than ten years, but I would never have joined had it not been for the RootsWeb database and service.


    It is of some concern how many times Ancestry discontinues services and what happens with the information from those sites. Rootsweb was obviously not properly secured. Mocavo was supposed to be free for those that built the site then Ancestry sold it and we have to pay $20 per month for what we built. The shoebox app was fantastic and can now not even be accessed (by users, who knows what others can do). The original DNA tests Ancestry did and the free uploads to their original site that accepted them are not there, but are they safe and secure or are they somewhere they can be accessed by hackers? While I don’t know what I would do without my World Plus account, I do not have a warm fuzzy feeling about Ancestry as far as safety, security or ethical business practices. Hopefully, this one issue is resolved quickly and no one is harmed by the breach. I suspect those on the list will be getting spam or having their accounts used to spam others at the very least.

  108. Rosie

    What a bunch of whiny people. The site is FREE. Ancestry has been carrying you for years! Show some gratitude. The shut down was done FOR you, not TO you.

    • No-one obliged Ancestry to take over Rootsweb; no-one asked the Rootswebbers if they agreed. Who knows, if it had been put on public offer, perhaps a philanthropist with an interest in family history, and a respect for Human Rights (everyone has a right to know their roots), might have been happy to host it – for free to the researchers. If Ancestry had had to pay, at the usual commercial rate, for all the thousands of hours of careful research the Rootsweb sites represent, or had to sign a commercial contract for the use of that research, they might even have gone bankrupt … Far from being, as described, a “loss leader”, the Rootsweb content is a high value commodity in its sector. See comments above, that Rootsweb content is more useful and reliable than Ancestry’s own offering …. The “security” problem either exists in a non-communicated format, or – what? It can’t be as stated: if it were there would have been no reason to take the RTSWB sites off-line – nor to be copying the data elsewhere; and it could be copied without blocking access. If the problem was with Ancestry passwords, why was their site not taken down? It isn’t griping, just curiosity to know what’s taking so long, and more transparence as regards Ancestry’s action.


      It can affect your Ancestry account if you used the same e-mail and password. Lack of security for one site can affect many other sites. Elderly people typically use one account and password for multiple sites. The shut down is fine, the lack of properly encrypting peoples personally identifiable information is the problem.

      • Charles Moore

        Except for you “elderly people” phrase, hmmm, you have a better understanding of the problem that the majority of the folks here. Many people use the same passwords for multiple sites regardless of age, studies show that some so-called passwords are as complicated as “123456” or easier. From wikipedia – “On December 20, 2017, a file containing 300,000 RootsWeb user names, passwords, and email addresses was exposed to the internet. The 300,000 records were from RootsWeb surname list service with 55,000 of those records were also login credentials.” With the records from the RootsWeb surname lists duplicating in the Ancestry login, whatever fix is going on isn’t that simple. But we do wish they’d get on with it.

  109. Kitty Hoffman

    When will you be operational again? Seems to me that if you’ve been been thinking and workin on changes for a year you’ve had plenty of time to to get back online. I don’t think you really care what your customers think. You do what you want.

  110. I am hoping that the situation will be resolved ASAP, and the content that was available on the “RootsWeb” would be retained. The contents were invaluable, and hope that all the contents will be continuing to exist as a no-cost source for the genealogical community.

  111. Pat

    We can only hope that they don’t revamp the look of Roots Web – I cannot think of a single change that needs to happen in the presentation of the data or the way one searches for data. If they give it the ‘look-feel’ of ancestry or shudder find a grave they are doing a disservice to us their customers. And even if it is a free site, we are still the customers.

  112. Alyson

    Just received notification from Lifelock this morning specifically naming my Ancestry account. “This email is from the LifeLock Member Services Team. We detected your identity information being used on the dark web, a term used which may also include the deep web or a peer-to-peer file sharing network.When we detect identity information on the dark web, deep web, or peer-to-peer file sharing networks, we notify you. The information found is usually from a list that’s being given away, traded, or sold. The list could be old, so it’s important to see whether or not the information on it is out of date.” I just had my Dna test done via Ancestry and opted out of the sharing information for research so I hope it was not sold. Just tried to call Ancestry Customer Support and was told it would be a hold time of 45 minutes. I hope this is resolved soon or it’s going to make the rounds on Face Book.

  113. This brings our website for the Zion Genealogical Society down. How long before it will be back up for the general public? I am also concerned that we were not notified that the website would be going down and the problems that are at hand.

  114. RLK

    Took some time but was able to retrieve some info from the internet archive WAYBACK MACHINE. Check several snapshots at different times.

  115. Bob

    I hope that Ancestry (and other genealogical sites) don’t store their user’s passwords as plain text, but rather store only hashed passwords. A breach of hashed passwords doesn’t reveal a user’s password; the only way for the thief to discover the actual password is through a brute-force method that requires them to try many different password possibilities, hash each one, and compare the hash to the stolen hashed passwords. It’s not foolproof, but vastly more secure than storing passwords in pain text.

  116. Philip Freimann

    How soon do you best imagine it will be up? I’ve been paying for Ancestry since 2006 – but many more years on Roots web. Can’t live without you!

  117. Richard Heaton

    Hi Tony,
    Thank you alerting us to the reason Rootsweb is currently offline and I hope you are able to keep Rootsweb safe from the risks highlighted by the security researcher.
    Once everything is back working in the new year I’ll update my index to British and Irish newspaper online along with some family surname webpages
    Best Regards

  118. Jay is free, and has greatly improved its usability. I suggest that everyone add their pedigree data and documents and photos for dead people there. They collect data from all over the world. Have a lot of census, birth, death, and marriage data, etc. You can save the data you find and paste it into a genealogy program like the Legacy genealogy program and then it is yours to add to web sites or share with other researchers. You can also add pedigree type data to their data directly from within compatible programs like Legacy without re-typing it.

  119. Mary McMahon

    I appreciate the problems Ancestry is having and that Ancestry is looking our for all the people who use the site. But….can you hurry up a little? I am avidly working on my family history and can’t go further until the site comes back up. I am dependent on Ancestry.

  120. Jan Ryan

    I hope you will restore this site. I would be saddened to think that Ancestry would deny people years of their own work and make it impossible to retrieve. I belong to Ancestry now, again, for the third time. Having completed the Ancestry DNA test and having received the results, I was hoping to add what I had from Roots Web to Ancestry. Now that you “own” my family history, I hope it does not mean you will try to sell my family history back to me or any of my family members. That would be, well, unconscionable.

  121. Ellen Dumas

    I rely heavily on Northern New York Tombstone Transcription Project which is on Rootsweb. My research is really hampered without it. Please get it up and running as soon as possible!

  122. Numa

    Roots Surname lists were not only VERY user friendly, but MUCH easier that Ancestry or the new screwed up findagrave, I just renewed my Ancestry, BUT will no longer if I continue to see this conglomerate take over.

  123. gayl

    why is rootsweb freepages down?? they stopped the file manager and i have just bought a program to upload my information to my website pages,

  124. Julie Barrows

    Could you, please, give an estimated date for recovery, before these heads explode.

    I’ve been using rootsweb and since they started, when ancestry was 6.98 yr and had nothing.

    Keep the people happy, give them an update, keep them imformed

  125. I am really interested in this discussion. Last I heard Rootsweb was inactive. If it is back up the email address I used is gone and I do not remember the login. I would love to be able to update my pages and to hear from some of the thousands of people who have looked at it since ancestry took over. I assume I have not been notified because of the dead email. In this case I dropped the ball, I guess — but is there any way I can reclaim my pages and work on them again? So much more to put “out there.”

  126. Charla

    When, or if, Rootsweb is up again, will we be required to purchase Ancestry? Many can’t afford it, including me, I did not read ALL the blog comments.

  127. Mika Jackson

    When I heard that had purchased Rootsweb I knew people researching genealogy online lost another valuable resource. “says” they are working on it. I wish I could believe that. Next up – Find-a-Grave…. Sad.

    • Hilary Derby

      You may find this interesting (pardon the pun on find) I just tried to leave a comment concerning my opinion of the new and old site and my message could not be sent.

  128. Victoria Christian

    Slowly over the years, has been purchasing for the purpose to close it’s competitors. Ancestry desires to be the one go to source for information. It’s a large thriving business. RootsWeb was great, but its gone. Ancestry would never ever be totally honest about their business plan.

  129. Anita Montgomery

    I had the Ancestry program for my computer it worked great with the web site, they made it obsolete; truly find Rootsweb wonderful and believe a few weeks is unreasonable. I have been able to ‘visit’ many graves I will never be able to go to, hope that never goes away. I understand we are told it is for OUR security they are making it better, I say why did they not see it coming and stop the problem to start with. That is what the IT guys get the big bucks for.

  130. I have two trees on RWWC. One is family and only of interest to relatives, but the other is a fully-documented geographical genealogy of the families of Knox County, OH, that I started as a retirement project about 12 years ago. It’s pure fun, but my heart has warmed many times as I get emails from people it has helped blast through a brick wall.
    I used to have a “flag counter” in my header which showed what country the various visitors were from and how many people had visited the site. That was “just for fun,” but I miss it. The footer, however, was important, for it noted that I was NOT related to most of the names in the database and that the data was updated every few months as I added 500-1,000 names (it’s up to 89,900 now). I so appreciate RW and its hosting services, so thank you. I am on this site daily (as well as on Ancestry and familysearch…all three sites are open all the time in my browser). I would love to have “headers and footers” available again on our “pages,” but I do understand that they take up server space.
    Like others, I’m checking daily to see if you’re back up, but only because I miss you!

    • Deb O'Reilly

      Carol: I emails Rootsweb abt the missing Header & Footer several months ago; sadly it’s gone the way of the dodo bird. However, I got around the missing Header and Footer by putting an abbreviated version in the title; doesn’t fit as many characters, but I was able give viewers some info abt my database.
      Hope this helps.

      • Dennis in UC

        Did the same thing. Created a web page on FreePages about my WorldConnect database and put the link in the home page box. Works great

  131. Carol Dimond

    I have looked quickly through the discussion thread and didn’t see any notes regarding my concern. About a year or so ago, Rootsweb acquired the site NLGenweb which provided transcribed records for Newfoundland, some of which are not found anywhere else online. These are not available anymore with the takedown of this site which is a huge problem for me as a Newfoundland researcher. Can it be confirmed that this aspect of the site will be returned? NLGenweb was a free site, and required no passwords that I am aware of — at least prior to the Ancestry acquisition. Thanks.

  132. As a computer professional, I find it very strange that the whole site is down because one file of accounts and passwords were on the system.
    My guesses:
    1. Ancestry wants to dump rootsweb and is driving us off of it by creating the impression the whole site is unreliable.
    2. A file of passwords and accounts is really no excuse for taking down the whole site and for keeping it down weeks. It is obvious that something much more is happening — possibly like the findagrave interface changes, or more likely, an attempt to see what level of complaints are received, and if moderate, then quit supporting it and move everyone to paid services.
    I liked the genealogy and local history website hosting and have three there. That these are down because of a table of passwords being found is absolutely ridiculous from the IT point of view. Undoubtedly a management effort to move us away.

    • George

      Allso on, since October 2017, the last update of the search system, dumped all the trees. My 8 trees that are done offline with Legacy, Uploaded to Ancestry, and added as a new tree to solve the problem ancestry does with offline updates. This makes new trees 2 to 3 times a year and all my trees are fully sourced. Ancestry stated sources need to be attached to online records , IE a census record ETC, or the names in that tree will not be searchable. So my 8 trees on ancestry are not visable and now they are attacking roots web wher I also HAD 8 mirror images of my trees. They told me I needed to source all 14,000 people to the hints to records or these names will not be searchable. In other words GEDCOM files are no longer welcome and will not be shown or findable. Ancestry has lost it.

  133. Rob

    When is the estimated time to get Rootsweb (and WorldConnect) site restored to public? Please give us your updates in your blog on the status of Rootsweb. Thanks.

  134. Terry

    I pay for the full package with all the bells and whistles and couldn’t do without it. It is wonderful tool. However, I agree with the others on these posts that the information in Rootsweb is indispensable and is some of the most accurate information found anywhere. The problem with Ancestry is that SO many people have just copied information from other people’s inaccurate trees that it is hard to find good, accurate information. It takes a lot of time to sift through all the inaccurate garbage that amateur genealogists have loaded there. Rootsweb is not like that and has tons of actual sources that are not on Ancestry. One example is the Russell County VA site that has tons of transcribed deeds, tax lists and other information. I was hoping to get a lot done this Christmas break but this has really hindered my progress. Please get this site up soon!!!

  135. Patti

    Just wanted to comment as another person really disappointed/disturbed at the disappearance of Rootsweb. I have four different trees on World Connect. And so many of us use all of the different databases of info that are available freely. Unbelievable that Ancestry felt the need to take down the site (which you don’t need to log into to access). Please put it back up, Ancestry.

  136. Patti

    And thank goodness for At least they’re still up and free to use. Ancestry’s never getting a dime from me.

  137. Trevor

    I use Rootsweb literally every day for genealogy research (it is the second most visited site on my browser), it is far easier to use and has so many records that are not available on Familysearch or Ancestry. Please don’t get rid of it or monetize it so that budding genealogists like myself (I am 26 years old and am hoping to go into working as a professional genealogist once I’m finished with school) have to pay money that we don’t have just to do our research.

    Please bring Rootsweb back!!!!

  138. Ron Hager

    I am very cynical and have little faith that we will ever have a functional useful RootsWeb available to us again. I’ve seen all of the promises and hints and simply doubt the honesty of what I read. I suspect that we will never again have this marvelous free resource.

  139. JP

    Hello, all lovers of Rootsweb,

    I too & am doubtful that Ancestry is going to continue to support Rootsweb… it cuts into their profits. I don’t know the law, but I’m certain that files people have uploaded to Rootsweb belong to that person. If Ancestry quits supporting Rootsweb then those who have uploaded their files should demand the ability to delete those files.

    I knew trouble would be brewing just because of the blind profit motive that drives these big companies, but I also had a bad experience with Ancestry when they bought After the purchase, we had a certain amount of time to close our accounts & delete our memorials before the data was to be posted on Ancestry. Well, I could NOT delete my account with my memorials & there was no way to delete all the memorials at the same time. I had to delete each one, INDIVIDUALLY! Luckily, I only had a hundred or so. However, a month later I searched on Ancestry for names that I knew I had deleted from Findagrave & they appeared on Ancestry… with all the particular details I had posted with the memorial. I contacted Findagrave & Ancestry & they gave me the run around for quite a while but, finally told me I would have to list each name/memorial that I found on Ancestry. I told them that wasn’t possible since I didn’t keep track of what I deleted, but that it shouldn’t be necessary for me do this since I had deleted the memorials long before the deadline to do so. If they had in fact deleted my memorials & my account from Findagrave, how did the information get to Ancestry? I told them they needed to work with Findagrave & delete my memorials or I would would contact the Better Business Bureau & the States Attorney’s office. I never heard back from them, but within a week ALL the data had been deleted…. without my having to send the list of each individual.

    Lets all remember that we have options & we can hurt Ancestry if they try to hurt us. I don’t know a more dedicated group of people then genealogists & if we get a full head of steam we can make Ancestry’s existence miserable. We can demand access to the files we created to delete or demand they be deleted; we can collectively stop supporting Ancestry with memberships; we can collectively ask libraries to drop Ancestry’s service; we could contact “Who Do You Think You Are” producers & ask them to stop working with Ancestry & start working with another company, FamilyTreeDNA for example; we could also use other services like WikiTree which is apparently a free site. It’s not as easy to use as Rootsweb, but a lot better the Ancestry interface; & lastly, someone who is tech savvy might be able to make the old Rootweb pages available on…. I don’t know all the possibilities with this option, but there should be some.

    So, take heart fellow genealogists, take heart.

    • Dave Weber

      I think that you have a good idea. I checked the archive and here ( the WorldConnect arhive had 438,052 GEDCOM’s. If you rough figure 2 MB per GEDCOM, this is 900,000 GB of data. As far as storage cost goes, not much. Google Cloud charges $80K per month for 1,000,000 GB of storage ( ). So, for only $1 million per year, every GEDCOM could be stored. If there are 10 million users per year and there is a button to pay $1 and of these 10 million users, 1/10th of them tag the button once in the year, this would pay the storage fee. {Or if a few people wilth a $million, this would pay the fair.}


    Rootweb is the only place that the more experienced researchers can share and critically analyse information especially records not transcribed. This is important because Ancestry trees often have very erroneous information and dubious connections with no research supporting.

  141. As one of the founders of the USGenWeb Project and the creator of dedicated to Civil War research I have watched with dismay over the years as the work of so many volunteers has been expropriated to the advantage of Ancestry. These sites and work are now entirely at their discretion as to what they will allow to be utilized and seen. The particular “culprit”, the Rootsweb Surname List was a project I initiated dating back to 1983 and the early days of AOL and GEnie. Just last week I was looking at that archive backup of which I only have the years up through 1996 and considering what a goldmine of resources were there for connecting people on a one to one basis. We will have to see what if anything of Rootsweb is made available, but at this point I am not optimistic.

  142. Howard

    I understand might not want to support free, but lying about it is not acceptable. (Deleting web pages, without any ETA of replacement, and then saying it was all altruistic due to a security threat is a lie.)

  143. Caroline

    Ancestry magazine – Mar-Apr 2001 – Page 13
    Vol. 19, No. 2 – ‎Magazine
    “RootsWeb was founded by Dr. Brian Leverich and Karen Isaacson and is the current home of more than 21,000 mailing lists, 130,000 genealogy message boards, and 21,600 independently authored Web sites. acquired RootsWeb in June 2000 to insure its financial stability.”


    seems i just got shot in my belly and on life suppotr. i have performed well over 500 gedcoms for our President, navy secy Jon Chafee, Glen Travis Campbell, Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe, William Henry Bonnie, Wyatt, Bill HICKOK,
    and stars LIKE JO STAFFORD, Patti Page, Everly Brothers, Elvis Aron Presley, ets. These are FREE gifts to my friens……plus over 100 former classmates. i pay 99 bucks to Ancesry,com
    every 6 months…..lotsa bang for my buck. SOLUTION: Trust us…not dust us…okay.
    m.d. brown, DocDiv

    • Amy

      Don’t hold your breath. If you got to the RootsWeb website it says they “hope to have an update within a few weeks.” Assuming a few weeks is from Dec. 23, it may be mid-January before we get any more information.

      • Dave Weber

        The heck with breathe, don’t expect Rootsweb in our lifetime. The next statement from Ancestry in 2 weeks will be that the Worldconnect has some old SS#’s on them, so they will want to delete all GEDCOM’s up there to prevent illegal aliens getting bogus SS cards, and that will take awhile to delete these GEDCOM’s perminantly.
        Rootsweb was created by altruistic users, time to start thinking about creating a Rootsweb2 and a FindaGrave2, that would mirror everything on these two freeware sites, and keep Ancestry’s mitt’s off of the sites.

        • Amy

          I fully expect RootsWeb to return. It would be inane for Ancestry to get rid of it. I do expect there will be some tweaks to the site in the future, as Ancestry says they’ve been reviewing the site, but I don’t see them eliminating WorldConnect w/o at least offering a replacement option. RootsWeb is an advertising tool for Ancestry–it ultimately leads some of its users to purchasing Ancestry subscriptions.

          What people here seem to forget is that sites like Find-A-Grave and RootsWeb would not still exist today w/o Ancestry’s backing. Yes, I know they’ve ruined F-A-G (I’m using the old version as long as it’s there)–but hopefully they’ll figure that out and tweak it accordingly.

        • CeeCee

          I agree with creating a rootsweb2 that has the same features and functionality as the old rootsweb and was free. I asked someone from and he said they would be interested in doing that. Ancestry may have bought the software that ran rootsweb but I don’t think they bought the data that was uploaded. I don’t know what each contributor agreed to when they uploaded.

  145. Susan

    World Connect trees are missed. The traditional format is perfect. Please leave as is and return to service as soon as possible. Thank you.

  146. It is evident that people do not want any changes to how the system is formatted. As stated by Ancestry, it was a security breach problem but it has been only one occasion in my cyber life that I have seen systems closed because of a security breach and that was the Canadian Tax netfile system. Temporarily closing that system made sense but Ancestry is stating there is no financial or personal information that was breached. The problem seemed minor. Why take a system down, if all they had to do was request that people change their passwords? I can understand the suspicion it is causing. Although some copyright agreement might change the ownership of the information from the submitter to Ancestry (similar to posting on Facebook) distrust will arise, if we find the information posted within Ancestry. Ancestry also ran a comparison to see what percentage of Rootsweb/WorldConnect users actually have Ancestry accounts. I don’t see why that comparison was required. Isn’t that infringing on our privacy? They also state that they contacted people who have the same password for both. I am sure I did and was never contacted. Many people are feeling it is a ruse and a cover up for something else. The evidence does seem to point that way. I was a Family Tree software user before Ancestry purchased it. They then decided to dump it after stating people were not using home software programs and were using online versions. That excuse seemed ridiculous to me. Now their focus is on DNA. At one point they couldn’t do DNA analysis from Canada (only option was Family Tree DNA) but possibly they have expanded. Ancestry is a commercial entity. Possibly their expectations when purchasing Rootsweb/WorldConnect was to gain more customers. That may not have ever happened. I hope they review all the postings to gain some valuable information on how important this system is to us. Even if it is a financial loss to them, it actually worked as positive public relations for Ancestry and a great marketing tool.

  147. Judie

    We’re in a double bind here. If we let Ancestry know how much we love and need Rootsweb, they see an opportunity to sell it to us. If we don’t let Ancestry know how much we love Rootsweb and its functionality, they will change the format, drop elements, or delete the site altogether. Not to go all Oliver Stone here, but perhaps the reason for keeping the site closed so long is to gauge the value of the site to its users via this blog and other feedback channels.

  148. Dave Weber

    Is it lost on anyone that Rootsweb was not created by Ancestry, but they are now the steward of Rootsweb, without asking the users of Rootsweb. Thus, a community website was taken over by coupe by a genealogical service company that relies on paid subscriptions. So, now that Rootsweb is down, there is a negative financial incentive for to bring it back, because they must realize that the less data available for free on the web, the more money that rolls into, and so the higher execs at Ancestry get bigger bonuses the longer Rootsweb is down. Resistance is futile.
    So, basically, Ancestry has now messed up both Rootsweb and FindaGrave freeSites. I have devoted years of my time for free, so that a Borg can wipe it out or make it so unusable that the paid service is a requirement. The only frontier for the Ancestry borg is to take over familysearch from LDS.

    • Charles Moore

      Dave, Find a Grave is working just fine. The old site was becoming unsafe and needed an upgrade, a lot of people’s computers (like mine) were getting infested. If you don’t like the navigation on the new site, give them some feedback on how they can improve like I and others have. Ancestry is presently making tons of profits from their many subsidiaries. Their DNA advertisements on TV show that. They have no reason to do something so unethical as to lie to the followers of RootsWeb just for a few more dollars, that would be a terribly stupid business move especially since so many of the Roots Web followers are also paying customers of My best reason to “trust” Ancestry is simply that they are a highly profitable corporation, the most profitable in the genealogy field, and to remain profitable will not stoop to back-alley b.s. that puts other corp’s out of business.

      • Dave Weber

        My comment regarding FaG was mainly that is is now extremely slow. It used to be that I could edit memorials quickly, but no longer. I suspect the ads. I would gladly pay $1/week to enable no ads for a week of usage. Also, my secondary beef was that I loved the structure with clean white background and everything in view.
        If Ancestry was truly altruistic, they would create one gigantic GEDCOM for Rootsweb, that anyone could add to (an open source master GEDCOM). And for each individual sheet that comes up on the web screen, have 3 buttons. One that takes you to the FaG memorial for that individual, and another for the best WorldConnect GEDCOM individual in a GEDCOM DB, and a third for a log csv file of the name of modifier, the date/time of modification, and what was modified. Plus, they could have a highlight feature to all of the GEDCOM’s on Rootsweb, that highlights in yellow if a data value (like birth date, deathplace, etc) does not match the master GEDCOM.

      • CeeCee

        Ancestry does make a lot of money but they also spend a lot. A 2016 financial statement says they lost $10million and then you probably know about the 2017 lawsuit where they lost $12.5million

  149. elise bowen

    i see my comment -self-reply from yesterday is still not posted, and presumably still being moderated – or failed moderation. how will i know which ?

  150. Rebecca

    I, too, am disappointed in what appears to be a tactic to discourage free exchange of useful, correct, and documented information. I have been increasingly skeptical of Ancestry’s motives over the past few years. I have had a subscription for many years. The quality of the entries has become questionable and their quality has fallen off in recent years. Mothers having children at age two and age 84 should raise questions to the users, who blatantly copy useless undocumented “leafs” and, especially, the “Family Data Collection”. I suspect that perhaps some users are more interested in chasing the leaf and numbers than actually putting thought and effort into their choices. Or it could be that users lack basic arithmetic and human biology skills and knowledge.
    I am also discouraged at what they have done in the redesigning of Find A Grave. Increasingly, information is entered in the bio or notes area that is also undocumented and stinks of wishful thinking. And the number of assumptions that people are buried in a particular cemetery, with no proof, have also increased. These are the types of entries that are usually doubled and contain no citations. Well, I guess if it is on the internet, twice, it must be true.
    I am tired of being asked to donate my DNA to their database and if no one doesn’t see the implications of this, they deserve to have their most private and individual information available to apparently anyone who can hack their lame security systems. I am pretty sure I know where my ancestors came from. I do not need to know that I am the true Queen of England, or an Indian princess.
    The upshot of this, for me, is to withdraw from Ancestry run websites and remove my trees to my local computer. I am in the process of doing this now. I will miss not taking Photo Requests for FAG people, most of whom have acknowledged and thanked me for my effort. Ancestry seems intent on turning our ancestries into a rat king (look it up on Wikipedia, complete with metaphoric picture), that make no logical sense and is entirely incomprehensible. To the people who care to follow some proof standards, cite, and/or, at least, acknowledge doubt — thank you. I have built on your standards and you have made it possible for me to do my own research.

  151. Heather

    This is now beyond ridiculous! Rootsweb needs to be restored. It has gone way past inconvenient. Please resolve this issue ASAP.

  152. Marilyn Kenyon

    I’m pretty upset about your closing the RootsWeb domain. I sure hope the security breach isn’t an excuse by Ancestry to close down the whole domain. I am an Ancestry subscriber, but I use RootsWeb to help me quickly find information. It is a free page that I believe you reassured your subscribers that you would continue to offer and maintain. I’m puzzled that you felt the need to close down the entire domain. Don’t let us down Ancestry. Trust is a big thing to have with your customers. When you lose it – you can’t get it back.

  153. Charles Moore

    I’m more than a little frustrated like others with their family trees on World Connect. I’ve been depending on World Connect and other RootsWeb pages since the olden days. However, some of the “conspiracy” theories on here are a little ridiculous. The only thing that is free is the cheese at the end of the mouse trap. Ancestry continues to sponsor RootsWeb and other sites for the good of the genealogy community. Ancestry benefits because, sooner or later, those of us who depend on “free” will also use Ancestry for things we can’t find elsewhere. They’re not out to backstab us and steal from our grandchildren. Find a Grave was in bad need of upgrade to make it a safer site. The old Find a Grave was infesting people’s computers. Stop complaining, positive feedback works better. Meanwhile- Hey, Ancestry, I’m a paying customer and also still use RootsWeb. Please fix it!

    • Dave Weber

      Charles: In this day and age , there are mirror websites. If Ancestry truly wanted to make the Rootsweb safer, they could have created a mirror website where everything was copied over, and then told the community where it was and they were in the process of sanitizing it of all PI. They could ask users to assist them in finding the PI that needed the purge and what constituted PI (like living SS#’s, but not SS#’s of the long dead).
      The Rootsweb never needed to be totally shut down. They could have done it just like FaG was, with oldFaG mirror website.
      Mark my words: When Rootsweb comes back , it will have 10 times the bytes per pages, since Ancestry will pack it with those time sucking video ads. And when in the past (i.e. last month) it took 5 seconds. The time of course to load those adds that flash away at the margins and nobody reads or wants, since the flashing is just a distraction of the data the user wants. But, of course Ancestry wants the ads, because the more ads there are they get a 2-fer – they get more revenue, and they get more people signing up to Ancestry subscription to avoid the ads. [I am not overly pessimistic, because time will show that this will come to pass. I feel like a frog in a pot of lukewarm water on the stove and the burner under the pot is on high heat.]

      As to the urgency, what they found for PI infringement was not active SS#’s or Visa card numbers. All they found was 7000 user Emails and the associated passwords. The easiest fix would be to just change the password of that Email and delete the file of the list. Anyone of those 7000 that first logged in would have to reset their password by the Email code sent to them. This would not even need a shutdown at all. The reason I find the sinister intent is that any logical person or organization would clear the passwords and put out a note to all users to please report any future PI info that they find.

      • Timothy Stowell

        What I know is happening, the longer this outage continues, is that more of the free sites are leaving Rootsweb, since this is the 3rd major outage in 2 years. The one in 2016, was supposedly a server crash, which would seem to be one computer, but Rootsweb is spread across more than one computer. When the sites came back up, a good year’s worth of material was gone in some instances because they had not been doing backups…

  154. Saya_G

    Too many comments to read – but wanted to get my 2¢ in about the message board section of RootsWeb! Please, please, please do all that you can to save this resource! Many of the posts are from researchers that have passed, their postings could be lost to future researchers!

  155. Bev

    I pay my fees for Ancestry and use it for research, but prefer to share my data on a free site. My data are used by several libraries and historic sites and I don’t want to force people to pay a fee to look at my data. I use several pay sites to do research, but choose to share my work on free sites. I think that is a fair way to do it and saves me the hassle of managing my own website- that is one reason why I like Rootsweb. The other is its search engine which I find much faster and easier to use in certain situations. I am concerned about it being down for two weeks as this seems excessive unless major changes are being made.

  156. connie trier

    Like many others I am afraid Ancestry will use this as an excuse to shut down Rootsweb forever. I am a paying member of Ancestry, but Rootsweb is my info goto.

  157. cj Wilder

    When will RootsWeb be back up? This has been down way too long – if your planning to dump the site and not bring it back please have the guts to tell us!

  158. Nancy

    You promised that Rootsweb would remain free. I will give up my membership with Ancestry if you now start charging. I was an Ancestry customer before computers. Please open up Rootsweb immediately.

  159. Tracey

    If this only affected the surnames lists, then there is no reason for everything else to be closed down as well. Time ancestry stopped with the excuses and open the site to use all the other areas.

  160. Neil

    Please bring this site back up ASAP. Very useful way of searching and easily browsing through surrounding data which is impossible to do on any of the pay web sites I use or have used.

  161. WB

    We recently purchased DNA kits for family members and I have an active Ancestry account. Ancestry.Com…I have been a paying customer for at least 5 years. There is less and less customer service??? Your customer service is not always helpful and can be down right rude…they seem to forget they have a job because people are PAYING for this service. Your company is making it more and more difficult to navigate your site and with less and less information. FIND-A-GRAVE is totally RUINED. This isn’t an upgrade, it is a disaster! I don’t even bother to search it any longer. I get that it needed some fixes, but it didn’t get “fixed”! Please return it to something of its former state…usable!

    Now…to those people who just follow the leaf and then add it to their family tree. The “leaf” is a hint, not facts. This is a trail to research to see if you are connected. What “make up” any old tree with “fake family”? That information just makes its rounds from one mistaken tree to the next. Then the next person comes along and copies the “fake family” info as facts…over and over! Dig in your “right roots”! Take the time to do your MATH…3 to 7 year old children are not the parents of anyone!!! If the MATH doesn’t work…stop and figure out why. Most often it is misinformation that has been copied from other members who didn’t bother to check either. My 3x Grandmother Weaver was at home in Eastern NC sick with cancer (my 2x Grandmother was by her bedside the entire time…but someone??? decided that another Weaver woman in Western NC Polk Co. was my Grandmother who had suddenly upped and married her 80 year old (Weaver) neighbor when she was almost 70. This misinformation is all over the internet including Ancestry…that shoe just doesn’t fit! The Weaver from Western NC is not related, her grave marker is in Polk and my Grandmother is buried on the family farm in East Coastal Plains…as witnessed by family. LAST, but not least…Listen up Ancestry…you had a good thing going…don’t profit yourself right out of business! There is some good advice from your customers in this blog and you really should be listening.

    • Monika

      I can do you one better! I had someone put ME on her public tree and the reason I was able to tell is because she declared me dead!!! Had a lot of incorrect information including declaring my mother dead, who is also still very much alive and living nowhere near where that person claimed she had lived. Where people pick up this garbage I don’t know. As long as they find someone by the same name, it’s good enough for them. Too many trees on are pure and poorly researched garbage created by people whose spelling is so poor you cannot help but wonder whether they ever went to school. A famous scientist just said recently that we are re-entering the dark ages. Frightening!

  162. sandra

    I can get to Rootsweb, which has posts from Jan 1, 2018, so it is working if you go through, message boards under Help tab. Copied this to show you it works:
    Posted: 01 Jan 2018 06:57PM
    Classification: Query

    • Sandra, I’m not sure what you mean by being able to get to Rootsweb via Ancestry, but there is certainly no way to access Rootsweb Freepages via Ancestry, nor am I aware of any way to access Rootsweb trees or message boards that way.

      • Correction: I do see the path you mention to the Message Boards. Anyone with an Ancestry account can search the Message Boards that way. No need for a paid subscription. But the Message Boards aren’t strictly “Rootsweb” — they’re a part of, not

  163. Jeff Lovell

    Been used Roots for years, please bring it back quickly. Ancestry is nice, but I wish the ease of use were the same, but it’s not.

  164. sheila

    I do not know why we cannot access the Gloucester/ Worcestershire BMD’s site. It does not require a password and I rely on this site as I live in this area. Please reinstate the site.

  165. I understand that there are security issues that need to be fixed. But, please, an update of an EXPECTED (possible) fix date would be nice customer service. That isn’t easy to do, I know, but the people that use Rootsweb for their research as well as those of us that maintain sites such as GenWeb, would appreciate any updates on this matter. Thanks for your attention to this.

  166. kelly porter

    hi, when will roots web be back up.? I’m a paying into ancestry and trying to get family members and I also use roots web for help. is it going to be back up soon??please.

  167. Cindy Badten

    I have been a paid member from the first year. I have donated info and helped many. I expect better security. Even the DNA page leaves much to be desired.

  168. Mark Morgan

    My password was the same on both but I did not receive an email alert. I have changed my Ancestry password to be safe.

  169. LaRue Foster

    How long will it be before the site is back up and running? I have a substantial amount of info to post on the Loves of Lunenburg County VA, clearing up some of the questions earlier posters had posed. If you’re researching this line, please email me directly in the interim.

  170. Richard

    What a bunch of bull. Just another excuse to turn it into a pay to use site down the road. When they do my data gets pulled. And everyone else should also !!!

  171. James

    I am somewhat confused. The security problem was identified as being associated with the RSL and the RSL was removed (not happy!). So why was RootsWeb in it’s entirety taken down. Sys admins can easily do additional security checks while leaving RootsWeb (less the RSL for the time being) up.
    I have a maximum Ancestry membership but Ancestry, as good as it is, is a poor cousin to RootsWeb when it comes to searching, uploading and downloading files. WorldConnect runs rings around anything Ancestry provides, even with obvious data inconsistencies.
    This entire security discussion, IMHO, looks on the surface to be a poor excuse to push Ancestry accounts.

  172. Don Warren

    I’ve said it here before and I’ll say it again: is a bully. They want to take over all the competitor websites so everyone will “have” to purchase their membership. One message on this blog says that she was able to access Rootsweb with 2018 messages posted by going thru If the site is infected and needing repair, why is it only the free site that needs that and is down?

    • Don, although she said she got to Rootsweb, I checked and found that actually she was only accessing the Ancestry Message Boards, which anyone can do who has an Ancestry acccount — no need for a paid subscription to do that. Those Message Boards are a part of, not

  173. Mary Taylor

    Please please make Obituary Daily Times available as soon as possible, I really rely on it, and contribute to it also. It has no sensitive information on it, why is it offline?

  174. Elizabeth Lee

    A thought. Story out from Wall St. Journal on its research into fake comments filed supporting net neutrality and ongoing comments being submitted on Trump proposed cancellation of rule requiring the exercise of fiduciary responsibility by Wall Street in managing the accounts of retirees, i.e., do what is the interest of the retiree, not the investment councilor. Also revealed that a large chunk of the comments being submitted come from Russian hackers. Identities of deceased US individuals are also being used to submit comments that support the Administration’s views. I am not sure what info is represented by the data breach you identified but names, addresses and email addresses of, particularly older individuals would be of significant interest to individuals attempting to, once again, hijack our democratic process.

    • Timothy Stowell

      I don’t see how the lack of security of a company dealing with family history having such info as name / address / email address would compromise the democratic process. It seems the comment goes off on a tangent that is not germain to the subject at hand.

      FWIW, “once again”, was just another Democrat dirty trick.

  175. James hanson

    Have total linage all the way back 10th grandfather .Earl Belisle self published 1975 for family get together los angels 1979.willing to share info Earls trips to Deschambault new France & churches in France bless the catholics birth,batizm,1st com,death&wills it is a shame big biz shake down.

  176. Kathryn

    Can you give us an idea of how much longer the Rootsweb site will be down. I seriously need some family cemetery photos that are stored on the site and nowhere else. Thank you!

  177. Stevi

    I’m having issues with the mailing lists I moderate. At present I can’t do anything with the messages that are waiting in limbo! Regardless of what I click (hold, defer, approve) it just sits there – while I continue to get emails telling my to take care of them! Very frustrating. I’m hoping that this is part of the sitewide issue and will be taken care of in the update?

  178. Ron Ray

    I have been a programmer for many years. There is a very dark side that wants to take away your earnings and break into your accounts. Only through good, informed programmers that protect their site is it possible to safely use programs like RootsWeb on the Internet. We should be patient and grateful that Ancestry is taking the time and effort to bring the old RootsWeb up to safety standards so we can use it. The alternatives are not good.
    Thanks Ancestry.

  179. Wendy

    I truly believe that Ancestry is removing Rootsweb permanently, unfortunately.
    I, like most on Rootsweb, am elderly, retired and on a fixed income. I cannot afford what Ancestry charges. Genealogy is the one thing I do that gives me real pleasure. Without Rootsweb, what I can do will be cut by more than 80 per cent.

  180. Lew

    I hope you will fix and bring back Rootsweb I have been doing genealogy for the past 35 plus years and have contributed to it and found family connections with it. It was and still is a valuable resource for researching families. So much for freedom of the internet, I guess Net Neutrality is kicking in!

  181. Robert Louis Miller

    Thank you for your clear and detailed account of what has happened. I suppose I share some of the suspicion expressed above about Ancestry’s motives in taking over RootsWeb, but I appreciate your commitment to bring it back. Failure to do so would be a tremendous blow to Ancestry’s credibility. There is an immense amount of information available on RootsWeb that is not available electronically anywhere else, the product of tens of thousands of volunteers, and it would be a great loss to American genealogists if it does not come back online.

  182. CJ

    Please bring back the WorldConnect Family Tree feature back ASAP! Also fix the way the surnames list– it does not show the correct no. of individuals per surname– this has been happening for a couple of years now. We use the WorldConnect Family Trees as a way for our non-Ancestry family members to print out their pedigrees & look at the Decadency of a particular ancestor, etc. I always promote Ancestry as a research site & for DNA testing.

    Camille J.
    Professional Historian & Genealogist
    Check out my excellent tree on Ancestry as an example of my work (Hamilton PAYNE b. 1822, Ireland or Murdoch WARD, b. 1858– User Name is SaturnCat00).
    Specialties: USA & Scotland
    Email: SaturnCat at yahoo com

  183. carolyn

    Ancestry will say found 15 files on John Smith. They will be same information just repeat, useless. Roots web has good information.

  184. Sue

    In the meantime, I have put the effort into wikiTree and found it a reasonable source. It also comes up in Google searches more often than Rootsweb did. Also, this is about the time I upload updates of my tree with the latest research to Rootsweb and Tribal Pages and other places. Just can’t hang around waiting for Rootsweb so will move on without it. Whilst I have an unpaid/limited subscription to Ancestry, I won’t do any updates there. As for the DNA, I had done that too but I had also downloaded the file and uploaded to which gives access to other DNA sources. Rootsweb was an excellent product but time to move on.

  185. Marilyn Leland Bennett

    when will sites like be available? A lot of work went into them. It was horrible when ancestry got rid of sites. I never did get a chance to get everything downloaded. There were too many errors trying to get it done and then BOOM I was not longer able to even get the zip file. Very disappointing. Mitsy#9

  186. Sue

    Just when I was thinking I needed a genealogy break! Aagh didn’t really wish for it to be mandatory AND for an indefinite period of time, just a small break. IMHO wikitree can’t hold a candle to RootsWeb–too many cooks stirring the pot with no accountability. I have learned over time the 5-6 Owners I can trust and who have posted info backed up by recognized sources. And I have learned when they are just being speculative. RootsWeb is light years ahead of in this regard (I have a subscription to A/C). I’m willing to wait them out, and hoping I will be happy when it’s all over.


    Thankfully I can upload all my research to the same webspace that shares the site I acually pay for if Rootsweb goes down.

    The great thing about Rootsweb is that you can actually find REAL RESEARCH done by experienced people unlike many of the “trees” on Ancestry which are just exercises in group think and name matching.

    I have done extensive research on a particular ancestor and basically everything about him on Ancestry is wrong like his parents, his birthplace, his relatives and his residences.

  188. Tony Blackham, Will you tell me if sites like mine, that have not been updated in a couple of years, will be restored when RootsWeb is up and working again? I have been too ill until now — due to a set of chronic illnesses 23 yrs long to date — to update my Capt. David Perry Web Site with his 1822 book Recollections of an Old Soldier. It is a resource for thousands of his descendants as well as for FamilySearch and for historians , particularly in Northeast North America. Please know that I fully intend (and have in the past continued) to maintain this site, one of RootsWeb’s since 1999. Thank you for your efforts. If anyone else knows the answer to this question, please reply!

  189. There’s a lot of sob stories and learned helplessness shown in these comments. As has been oft repeated – backup….! Age is no excuse. If you’ve done this you have no worries. If Rootsweb collapses, which I doubt, your backup will sustain you, and as others have pointed out by rights you should have all your data prior to uploading still available on your personal device. It may be a little outdated but 90% should be there. Now is the time to backup what you still have to a cloud, a USB, a Disc, etc. Don’t panic. Await the investigation conclusions. Ask help here: You might have to sign in if you can, or browse, if you can! There’s answers available!

    • Denise

      That’s the truth about backing up. I have multiple back-ups. I learned a long time ago the importance of backing up one’s data, etc.

      • Denise

        Thank you, too, for the advice not to panic. VERY good advice. Thanks for you entire comment, although “sob stories”, while to the point, might have been more kindly expressed. So many are not as computer savvy as you or, possibly, I.

    • Replying to my own comment: Oh well.. it lasted a few days before panic and unreasoned argument stepped in. There’s a lot of me me me here. I want, I want…Why don’t we just wait. I f you’re so desperate go and pay an ISP to host your website. Be thankful for what you’ve got.

  190. Jan Farndale

    This is trerrible!! I really hope it comes back soon as I am in the middle of a really difficult search. Rootsweb allows flexibility when searching with sketchy information. it would be tragic if it is allowed to close or changed in any way.

    • Donna Harvey

      Exactly Mary! Canada’s Cemetery Project is one example of content restricted that was donated by the public, with the strict intention that it be free for the public. Those who volunteer their time and money to gather information like this, do so for the public good not to make money for ancestry. I seriously hope Ancestry is not hijacking the work so graciously donated for the express intent of being available to others for free.

  191. Jolyn Rebecca Snider

    PLEASE .. hoping to see Rootsweb back online SOON !! We truly love your site.. it’s Ancestry that is the problem… has been, is and always WILL be. Sorry y’all got caught up in their sneaky ways. Suck you in with glitzy advertising then steal your information …. you get nothing in return except for on going emails you can’t stop. Thank GOODNESS I saw this before I put too much information on the site. It has a SMALL tree that I had built when I first started.. but doesn’t have my big tree of over 11000 names. WHEW !!!

    PLEASE come back to us !!!!

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Jack Thanks for getting in touch with us. Unfortunately, we don’t have a time frame for when Rootsweb and World Connect will be back up and running yet. You can learn more about the latest update on We appreciate your patience in this matter.

  192. B Helms

    While dithers and dawdles and dallies, more and more Rootsweb pages are becoming permanently unavailable as they disappear from Google Cache (it only holds for about 2 weeks on average). This is truly shameful and disgraceful! Not that a Big Corporation like gives a rat’s hairless tail about the feelings, or the needs, of “little people” like us.

    I’m thinking it will take a class action suit to move them off dead center – the ONLY thing Big Corporations respond to any more is a hit to the wallet.

  193. Jacky Clark

    Thank you forr your honesty and diligence in sorting out this problem. I have been using Rootsweb from the get go and mine is one of the larger trees. Very little is for free these days and that is why I post for others to see. mine while I collect more originsl data. Your service is appreciated.

  194. Wilma Fields

    Both the Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society and the Benton County Cemetery Preservation Group, as well as at least 3 Family Trees on World Connect that I manage are affected. Seems to me that problems started arising around the time rootsweb started removing things from the site. The biggest disappointment for many of us, was the loss of the on-line editor. This being said, hopefully all things affected by this breach will not be lost in cyber-land, and rootsweb will be up and working again very soon.

  195. Greg Croxton

    I specialize in the genealogy of families with a connection to Schuyler County, Illinois. My tree contains approximately 189,000 individuals and 66000 families; and I’ve shared it freely on Rootsweb for almost 20 years. I have FTM 2017, but have been unable to upload and link my file; and, because Ancestry has a 75 MB upload limit, I’ve been unable to upload my GEDCOM to Ancestry. Therefore, I need Rootsweb Worldconnect to share my tree with others. Perhaps Ancestry could create a special tier of accounts for those of us who would occasionally like to upload a large GEDCOM.

  196. Kathy

    I use the Country Formation Maps on Rootsweb everyday. They have nothing to do with private information. Please bring them back soon!!!!!

  197. Susan Graben

    Please get RW back online. The Rootsweb trees are so much more accurate and well researched than the useless Ancestry trees. I am missing this site daily. Looking forward to it being back and working!

  198. Lori Snoddy

    Please bring Rootsweb back very soon. I use the county formation maps often and really miss them as well as other features. Please don’t charge any extra. Ancestry’s service is very expensive as it is. Thank you.

  199. Judee

    Like so many others, and probably many more that haven’t commented, I miss Rootsweb.
    Please give us an update. Thanks

  200. Richard

    What’s the latest update? When will this be back up and running? I noticed Ancestry’s site is getting funky, too. I pay too much to have the service not working. Someone needs better customer service skills to keep us up to date.

  201. gloria gant

    i tried to read an obit which brought me to this site and im reading all this info…however i dont understand why an obit would be part of this issue…i pay a lot of money to belong to ancestry and it steers me to an obit which i cant get..why…….

  202. Tracy

    It doesn’t take this many weeks for a large company to fix a security glitch on an old website that doesn’t contain much, if any, sensitive info. It was made by people who shared their info freely.
    The next thing should be to start using a different site like FamilySearch, or, better yet, building a new free forum site that can’t be bought by Ancestry.

  203. Timothy

    Over 50 years of family researching, I have never experienced such a lack of Professionalism being displayed by Roots Web and There is a common courtesy of keeping a customer notified, even more so with a problem of this magnitude. This problem has brought my research to a stand still. I am one of those who download the “creepy” file, Not knowing the problem I went ahead and cleaned, WHAT A MESS, a week later all is well. There were a great deal of email, SS#, but! all in all the file is fine. So, if there is more than this single file, WE! as customers, are entitled to know exactly what is going. “IF” history gives any indication of “flaws” companies experience, I would guess that we have LOST Roots web for good and is not far behind. I have cancelled all research efforts until I see what happens in the Roots Web dilemma .

  204. Tom

    My brother in law’s extensive genealogy is on roots web. I have not been able to access it now for some time. Not to mention the enormous resource this is. How much longer must we wait???

  205. Barbara

    What has happened to Rootsweb? I used this almost daily. Working my on membership in DAR this info is so helpful. is not always as easy to find some info as Rootsweb. Please return the site. As a long paying member of Ancestry Roots web is helpful.

  206. Julie Simon

    I am very saddened by this “security” breach. I went to the Door County, Wisconsin site weekly to search for records for my ancestors. Now I am out of luck.

  207. Paul Glover

    I am having a difficult time accepting a security breach as being the reason why has chosen to suspend access to rootsweb. If this is the case then be more specific with the breach. You could also contact those individuals whose logins and passwords were in question. I am going to cancel my membership if this is not resolved soon.

  208. P_glo

    I am having a difficult time accepting a security breach as being the reason why has chosen to suspend access to rootsweb. If this is the case then be more specific with the breach. You could also contact those individuals whose logins and passwords were in question. I am going to cancel my membership if this is not resolved soon.

  209. Laurie Hopp

    I don’t understand, I never entered ANY password to use your website. I had give an email address many years ago so others researching my family’s surnames so they could contact me. I hope this is RESOLVED SOON, this was a valuable source of information for me, and I am sure others! What is the estimated time of this site will be working again? THANK YOU!

  210. Donald Thornburg

    This was my go to Family Chart , since there wasn’t much info on my line anywhere. I even contacted the person that had the written part of my line down and that we are cousins and it helped me immensely with collecting data , now I’m lost , I should have taken screenshots of all the info , that I’ll never get back . Now what ?

    • David R. Williams

      Trust Me Donald, after Researching Family Tree Stuff for the last 12 Years, if you found it on Rootsweb, it exists in other places to. Try, & Also, Visit The website & they can direct you to Separate States that have their own Genealogy Pages. There are other places to, but those are the best ones on My Opinion, but Yes, they need to reopen Rootsweb.

  211. David R. Williams

    This Sucks Magillicutty Big Time. had become My First Go To Site to Look Up the Names of Potential Family Members when doing research on My Family Tree. Granted, 40% of the time I couldn’t find what I was looking for, but I always came to Rootsweb First & Now I can’t use it. You People didn’t think about what you were doing before you did it.

  212. histfamrsrch

    Lets face it, Ancestry wants to make money…it is their only reason to exist…Find-A-Grave is now nothing but a page of ads that used to be smaller and not as noticeable. Its now an “ugly” site… they certainly don’t care about those volunteers who can have all those ads removed from their pages’ by paying for it…I will never post a family tree on Ancestry or use their DNA testing…they are buying up all the Genealogy sites we all love and use…to make more money…but they couldn’t do it unless someone is selling out…! How did they get ownership of these sites in the first place ?! Maybe thats where anger should be directed…Ancestry will never own Family Search…and thousands of volunteers work hard everyday adding records to that site…I don’t expect to ever see Rootsweb, as it once was, again…it was obtained to make money so if it comes back beware…I use Facebook Groups for most of my connections now…

    • Caroline

      Rootswebbers own their research, ie, the content of the pages; whether or not they own the integrity of their pages I am attempting to discover (i’m not American). In Europe Facebook groups are not much help since they are mostly composed of people pursuing only their own line of research, and asking questions which others cannot answer – like so many people in a dark room, each carrying a candle, the light of which no-one else can see ….
      Please remember that Rootsweb has (had?) a worldwide application. I think a very large number of today’s Americans have their origins not only in Europe, but also in what used to be British colonies; therefore American support for research in those countries would be useful to all.

  213. Ann Williams

    Please bring it back as soon. I have used it so many times to help my family tree research and wanted to show my family who have not seen it yet. I have been so proud that its about my ancestors but feel sadden for my family who miss out that they would have been very proud. Owen Jones has been work so hard on it for years. Please bring it back!! Thanks…

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Ann We are sorry for any frustration caused by this issue, and we are doing our best to bring back the website soon. Unfortunately, we don’t have a time frame for when Rootsweb will be back up and running just yet. You can have a look at the latest update on

  214. Jean Plummer

    I know everyone feels the pain and loss. Please tell us something, I am having withdrawals and am just lost. My entire family history is on rootweb and has been for years. I use these files daily and now can’t. Please send us any update.

  215. Kim

    As someone who has contributed research to the ontariogenweb site in transcribing census info – the fact that all of the free rootsweb sites have been closed down is a complete crock. This is information that comes from government documents and is owned by the Canadian public, NOT ancestry. Sites include including Ontario marriages etc. Not sure what game ancestry is playing at now – but because they have to keep making up new sites under assumed names to suck people into paying for information which is in the public domain speaks volumes.

  216. Douglas Macfie

    Last time Rootsweb had a problem it took them months to fix it ……… and now the staff in on Christmas holiday, well those which were kept on when Ancestry took over . so may be but next year they might have half our information back ….

  217. Kitty B Hoffman

    How much longer with it take before Ancestry is back online. You need to hire better techs if you don’t have the issue fixed by now. Can you post an anticipated date for being active again.
    Since you have a MONOPOLY, what choice doe that leave subscribers?

  218. The steps described at the beginning of this blog appear to be sufficient to re-enable RootsWeb access while analysis continues in parallel. If forcing afflicted users to choose a new password is good enough for Ancestry, it should be good enough for RootsWeb. Presumably, the file with the identified security risk has also been quarantined.

  219. Jo Walter

    I recall Ancestry had a free site called Mundia that they took down and of course took all my information from. Now, anyone can use that without my permission. I think the photo stealing is really what bothers me most. The other information is information that I got elsewhere so I don’t “own” that, but my photos are MINE. I came here today looking for a specific person’s tree that is related to my Western PA ancestors. I’m thinking Ancestry will probably force everyone to go over to them. Not everyone has 79.00 for a six month subscription. That’s the sale price, too, and not even full access!

  220. Marilyn Kenyon

    In scanning over the comments, it is clear to me that not only is there a high level of frustration, there is also an erosion of trust. Your actions seem to be in your own self-interest, while your interest in serving your customers continues to diminish.

    Should you decide to close down or remove Rootsweb, that would be a clear sign to many that you want to cut off this site, because it offers genealogy records for free. You may see that removing access to it will force people to subscribe to Ancestry. To some extent, this may be true, although most of the people who have expressed their exasperation already subscribe to Ancestry.

    Ancestry hasn’t been adding on very many new records in the last few years. There are still many American records that are still not readily available – including land records. In my own mind, I begin to question whether the cost of a subscription is worth it to me.

    If you remove Rootsweb, you will certainly have to consider a cost versus benefits to your company. The benefit may some new subscribers, but the long-term cost would likely be a continued erosion of trust by your customers.

    A few years ago, I only heard positive things about Ancestry. In recent years, I am hearing and reading more and more negative things about your brand.

  221. Joy Dabbs

    Any idea on WHEN this site will be back up and running? Come on I worked for years and if we had kept anything down this long we would have been replaced. I’ve notified Cambria County Library (Pennsylvania) their obituary link is no longer accessible and they are thinking of flagging it. What’s going on? Can we have an update? Thank you

  222. H Lindquist

    Checked in to rootsweb today and see that it is still not back up so I suspect this was all a reuse to disable this site permanently.

    I agree with many of the other bloggers here. So, today as way of protest I deleted all my tree information from Ancestry. Gone and done and I’m no longer providing any information for them.

    I was so glad when Ancestry decided to sell Family Tree Maker to Software MacKiev. MacKiev was a breath of fresh air for the software and I gladly paid for the new version and I am happy to be released from the evil clutches of

    This current situation with rootsweb shows the danger in relying on the “cloud” to store all your information. Imagine how bad you are going to feel when all your hard work is no longer available. Ancestry has proved over the past few years that they really have very low regards for their customers.

    I have spent hours indexing and working for other sites, such as family search because I feel they are a real community that cares about their members. I was doing the same with findagrave, but their recent “improved” website makes me wonder whether I will continue helping them build their community. I recognize that these companies need to make money in order to continue to operate. However, when it becomes obvious that they have such little regard for their customers it is time to stop assisting them in their development.

    Beware if you do not have your genealogy data stored somewhere other than on Ancestry. This situation with Rootsweb is a warning.

  223. For many years, have been paid for MyFamily sites, Ancestry, Newspapers, Family Tree Maker and Fold3. I would have been willing to pay for the Rootweb genealogy site, but it was offered for free. I spent years laboriously creating pages to share my research on the free public site. I didn’t have to do this, but I wanted to share, so others could have the information. The last time the site closed down, some of my pages were lost. However, I was grateful that the site was reopened. Then recently, there was a change as to how files were to uploaded, and the site was not longer available to access, so I was happy to allow it to be an “archived” site. Now it’s gone again. I can only hope if and when the sites are reopened that all the data will be there.

    • skewline

      It will be there but not for free.
      After two weeks there can no longer be any hope that this is anything but a staged interval to prepare the genealogy enthusiast community that Ancestry is happy to announce a “new and improved” Rootsweb.
      But, of course, they unfortunately will no longer be able to offer it for free, because, you know, they’ve had to make “security” changes that will keep us all “safe” from another incident like this, and that costs $$ (cough, cough)..

    • Katherine

      RootsWeb is free. How is one a customer of something that is given out for free? I am no more a customer of RootsWeb than I am of FamilySearch or any of the other free genealogy sites.

      • skewline

        Offering carts to customers in a grocery store is a “free” service too. If stores eliminated the carts do you think the customers would accept the explanation that they had no right to be upset?
        RW is a useful tool to paying customers of Ancestry. Ancestry controls RW, just like a grocery store controls the cart inventory. The fact that the homeless often use carts for non-grocery-buying activities doesn’t change the fact that actual grocery customers are indirectly paying for the carts to be available.

  224. I also pay for an Ancestry membership, but have posted my gedcom at RootsWeb for years. I gather my research from others for free, and share it freely. If RootsWeb comes back with a “payment required” I will immediately remove my gedcom. I will use e-mail and facebook only until a place to “share” my data for free is found. I have not given anyone “permission” or “rights” to gain from my research. I will cancel my account with Ancestry, as I will lay the blame with them (as the “culprit”) for money being made.

    RootsWeb has been good to me for providing a free place to share my genealogy, (though I would like to share photos) with non-intrusive advertising. I sincerely hope they stay that way.

    • Larry Parker

      You CAN share photos using RootsWeb (well, when the site is working.)

      First you post a given photo on a website where you can get a URL (web address) for the photo. (I use the free Google Photos.) Then you add a little HTML to the URL, and the result is a clickable link in the “notes” for the person.

      Here’s an example of what I have written in a person’s notes, which, when posted on RW WC or any other website, will result in a clickable link. But for the purpose of preventing the HTML from working here in this post, I have added an asterisk (*) where in the actual HTML code, there must be one blank space. So you would delete the asterisk, make sure add the blank space back in, replace my URL with yours, and maybe replace my clickable word “Photos” with whatever you want.

      Yearbook photos of Ray at work at Whitefish Bay High School:

      • Larry Parker

        Well, that didn’t work. Let me try again

        Yearbook photos of Ray at work at Whitefish Bay High School:
        a href=”″>Photos</a

        But add a left arrow only "” immediately after the last “a”.

        • Larry Parker

          This isn’t cooperating. But before the first “a” you add one left arrow symbol, which is next to the M key on your keyboard. After the LAST “a”, add a right arrow symbol.

  225. I am both a paying Ancestry customer and I use Rootsweb space to support an extensive website on relocated African American cemeteries in Wilmington. I want this to be freely available to everyone; and it’s on-going research. I’d like my website back on-line as soon as possible.

  226. George

    Thank you for contacting Ancestry in regard to your trees.

    To protect other members, we have had to add a source requirement for anyone to be searched for. Most people who don’t have sources, we have had complaints that their trees are incorrect. We aren’t saying yours are, but most are and so we had to have a blanket policy. Of your 13 trees, only one tree has sources, but only two of them so at most two people can be searched for. However, if you know people could use your trees to help them out, your trees can be accessed through your profile. If others click on search, then member directory, they can search for your username, and your trees will be on your profile for them to look for. We hope that helps.

    Well this is the help from ancestry on GEDCOM trees, even when they are completely sourced, are now removed from the public trees database. This is ancestry and now this rootsweb attack. At renewal in 2 months, I will pull my trees and shut it down. Its been alot of fun and a rewarding experience to resaerch my family. Ancestry is living off the early research to make money, and now they just don’t need us. Well it appears they are no longer important. If they don’t correct this rootsweb shutdown, then I have no reason to continue. We have been screwed, like it or not and real research by real people has ended,

    • Toni

      That doesn’t make a bit of sense. I’d have to know who authored a tree so I would have to search for them by user name, go to their profile, and access their tree from there? Can you think of a more complicated way to search ancestry trees? I can’t. As for citations. Let the searcher beware. Put the trees up for us to find. I’m smart enough to look at them to see if that is indeed my person. I don’t care if you are not smart enough to do the same thing. No one promised genealogy would be all figured out for you.

  227. BarbL51

    Dear Ancestry,
    I would like to see you implement surname search with a Starts with option. I have many surnames in my family that are not Soundex friendly & this search option needs much improvement. I too dislike the dividing up of databases that were once included in regular all access us subscriptions for $19.95 per month. It is rather on the greedy side. As is the trunication of some military records to Fold3. I am a little perturbed that data I submitted has been placed on the & sites without my permission. I do love the convenience but let’s lose a little bit of that greed. Perhaps a lower monthly cost with a surcharge on storage excess might be more agreeable. Please get rootsweb up. Especially the mailing lists. Or people will be sharing on private family FB pages. I have been a member for over 15 years and like simplicity over bells & whistles. I don’t need special tree colors but fast loading easy to direct search mechanism. Thanks for reading.

  228. alice ramsay

    Subject:a/o 4 Jan 2018: yesterday’s comment to ancestry’s blog re roots web, still not posted
    Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2018 18:50:24 -0500
    From: elise bowen
    To: elise bowen
    ERROR: Your comment appears to be spam.
    Please go back and check all parts of your comment submission (including name, email, website, and comment content).

  229. Kathy Bomberger

    Agree with all posters on most points, but in particular, one of the members of our county gen web, has transcribed hundreds of Polush church records, and, in fact, is the chief source for people researching the area of Poland many of our ancestors came from. She has done years and years of work on these, and other countries. When I get a DNA match on Ancestry, I was able to direct many people to her Rootsweb sites. She was recently able to access some on a site called The Wayback Machine. Maybe some people can access their records there. Genealogy is a big business……I see a money making process going on. I have been subscribing to Ancestry almost since they began. They have made a bundle off me, as a monthly subscriber. I appreciate all of the info I have got, especially when the census’ came online, but, I have found so many mistakes by people who copy wrong information as truth that it is disheartening to those who have done the hard work, decades ago, by snail mail, phone calls and traveling to actual towns and sites.

    At least, give us back the work done by individuals who have confirmed their work.

  230. Terry

    I am a recently retired CIO. I ran IT for a financial institution. I understand the concern about this problem – HOWEVER – I also know that it does not take long to scan files to see if there is anything to be concerned about and to remove anything that shouldn’t be there. I spend a lot of money with and your handling of this issue is making me consider a new tool. There is no reason that you couldn’t have started bringing up many of the safe parts of the site, particularly the county sites. This feels very much like a low priority. To not even provide a timeline is inexcusable. In all the years I worked in I.T., I never went to customers without a plan and a timeline. I don’t want to move off of Ancestry. Please start taking this seriously. I KNOW that this doesn’t have to be down. Banks, airlines, and other serious situations have to fix on the fly. You have had weeks and we don’t even have a timeline. Ridiculous.

    • George

      Terry, It’s too bad you could not offer up some good advice to Roots Web. Sounds like you have the experience they need.

  231. alice ramsay

    Second, the platforms should not be allowed to make any acquisitions until they have addressed the damage caused to date, taken steps to prevent harm in the future, and demonstrated that such acquisitions will not result in diminished competition. An underappreciated aspect of the platforms’ growth is their pattern of gobbling up smaller firms—in Facebook’s case, that includes Instagram and WhatsApp; in Google’s, it includes YouTube, Google Maps, AdSense, and many others—and using them to extend their monopoly power.”

  232. Daivd Johnson

    I have been using Roots Web for 90% of my family tree searching for years, the site needs to be put back up and available, for free to the public. why can’t people leave things alone that work for thousands of people. Everyone is getting so greedy and want to charge for these sites, I think that they should be provided by the states and counties for free to the public. You wouldn’t have a lot of this information if it wasn’t for the people searching and submitting their trees they have put together. I’ve sent my family tree to Ancestry several times to update it and now I have to pay to view it when you got the information from me and my years of searching, its ridiculous, Why should I have to pay for viewing my files I summited to you to help others I their searches. It’s not fair, and you were not allowing others to view the information that was submitted unless they pay you to view it. I will not summit any further information to your site due to this

  233. J. Young

    I strongly suspect that the bulk of questions generated on Rootsweb / come from Newbies with paid memberships , and that bulk of answers to those Newbie questions come from older mature genealogist researchers who are only members of Rootsweb . I imagine this puts Administration in a bind , as without the former’s paid subscription they have no business model , but without the Rootsweb researchers [working for free] they have nothing to sell . Catch 22 . Just bring back Rootsweb and your house of cards may yet survive .

    • George

      Thank You Joan Young for coming forward.
      The make a tree crowd using hints have no idea what is going on unless ancestry can’t make new trees because all the real researchers that created the original trees are gone. That is Ancestry appears to be doing, flushing the GEDCOM original trees. They are forgetting we still are creating new links for still unfound families which will stop. The end of the “Make a Tree” people as they have no idea how to find records anywhere whitout flawed hints. Thanks again Joan.

    • skewline

      Oh they’ll bring it back but it won’t be free. That will force all the “older mature genealogist researchers” to decide whether their hobby is important enough to pay $$.

  234. Martin

    I think it’s time you did an updated blog in respect of progress being made to restore RootsWeb. The silence from Ancestry since 23 December is concerning.

    • Ditto. Just knowing how progress is coming and when reboot is likely to occur would be MOST welcome! Just because we’re volunteers doesn’t mean we don’t “need to know”!

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Martin We apologize for the delay in our response. We hope you had a chance to see the latest update on Rootssweb homepage: Unfortunately we don’t have a time frame for when Rootsweb will be back up and running just yet. We appreciate your patience and the patience of all the Rootsweb users.

  235. Susan

    Are you guys blind? They have been hacked. They are doing the only things they know to do to remedy the issue in an ethical manner. Let them be ethical. They’ll fix the meantime go use familysearch or GEDMATCH.. Go updates your trees on GEDMATCH too so I can get so can get these cousins done. If you have DNA done..please put it on GEDMATCH.Its free and I love it. Be sure to download a tree or its worthless to people.

  236. kathy balistreri

    I’m also on a fixed income and enjoy doing my family tree. I would be disappointed if I no longer can use rootsweb.

  237. Katherine

    I appreciate that Ancestry is vigilant at looking after the privacy and security of its users. The current security breach is a reminder to me to use different passwords for different sites, despite the inconvenience.

    For those people who can’t afford a genealogy subscription service, I strongly recommend seeing if your public library has a subscription to one or several of the subscription genealogy services. I know that my county library system does. Also, interlibrary loan is a source for books and other sources that are too costly to buy and too specialized to be held by most libraries.

    • skewline

      Yes! When Ancestry announces that Rootsweb is coming back, but for “security reasons” they will have to start charging *everyone* for the service, they will no doubt emphasis how the service is still free if you just go to a public library, pen and paper in hand, just like the old days. Thanks for that gentle reminder, Katherine.

  238. Donald Warren

    It’s become so obvious that is holding these records hostage, and when the site comes back, it will be a at site. There is NO REASON for a scan of their system to take more than 2 weeks. They are working to make people pay to access their own information! Crooks!

  239. Janet McMaster

    Thanks for keeping an eye on and taking care of problems. Hope all is back to normal soon. I love this site. When do you expect to be available for access again?

  240. I have been a paying member of for many years and has become so cumbersome I very seldom use except for DNA matches. I use rootsweb about 80% of the time because the interface is user friendly. I am now trying Geneanet which is a paid site, 50.00 a year, which I am happy with so far. If Rootsweb is not brought back, I am removing all of my data from Ancestry and canceling my membership and save the 200.00. Most customers are very understanding if you keep them updated, if you don’t provide updates, you are telling your customers you don’t care.

    • Ken

      Maybe, you should take a look at This site has its issues, but the’re a lot of support. I have over 100,000 blood related cousins, and over 52,000 ancestors, and this site is free to join. Get back with me if your interested. Ken

      • B Helms

        Geni user here. Geni does not accept ANY GEDCOM uploads – their focus is on building one collaborative World Tree, and they have practically all the VIPs and most of their descendants already. The idea here is, you build your tree back only until you can link to the World Tree – it usually doesn’t take more than three or four generations. (Then you look for spots you can fill in.)

        If you want a site where you can display just *your* tree, Geni is not for you. (Its sister site, MyHeritage, may be. But MyHeritage has the same GIGO problem that plagues many such sites, including…)

  241. Has anyone noticed that there doesn’t seem to be a single denial by an Ancestry representation of people’s concerns that they’re using the security issue to completely shut down RW?

  242. Don Soeken

    I need What is the problem that can not be changed by changing ones password? When is this coming back on line. It is the main reason that I have

  243. seibertcs

    We need access to research that we are completing on Rootsweb. Our information is essentially highjacked! Those of us who are long time and serious members of Ancestry should have some means to access Rootsweb trees. Do something, please. I don’t know if you are reading these comments, but please be fair to your subscribers and allow us access to the hard work and research that some have diligently placed on Rootsweb for posterity.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @Seibertcs Thank your for getting in touch in relation to the issue on Rootsweb. We are sorry for the delay in our response, but of of course we are reading all your comments and requests of updates. We’d like to remind that there is a more recent update on We will do our best to keep you all posted about the progress of the intervention. We appreciate your patience in this matter.

  244. seibertcs

    Your customer service link is not working and says that it cannot be reached. This causes me to wonder if you are taking the comments of your subscribers seriously. Please show respect to us who are attempting to contact you.

  245. Linda Tutt

    What will become of the GenWeb sites if rootsweb is not returned to use. There is years of information on the state’s sites. Family search and and your other pay sites are not the same at all. Please return rootsweb to those of us who use it.

    • Timothy S. Stowell

      Linda, the simple answer is that many of them are moving elsewhere. State sites for Wyoming, Nebraska, Maine have moved. Many county sites are following.

  246. Toni

    how much longer is the privacy banner going to be at the top of every page every time I go there? It’s getting very tiresome to close it a couple of hundred times a day.

  247. Cazza

    I gave my years of research to WorldConnect as I thought it was not fair that my relatives had to pay Ancestry to get information that they were given for nothing. I gave the information to WorldConnect on the basis that it would always be available FREE to anyone who wanted it. I will be withdrawing the information if that is not the case in the future.

  248. Richard McMurtry

    Ancestry has destroyed a life time of work and provided no means to get my data back from them. It was bad enough when they shut down the filemanager and made it 10 times more difficult to upload and download files. But this is outrageous. They could have given us put our data on a site and given us access to download the data. It seems to me that what we rootsusers should do is band together – pay a nominal amount – and create a originsweb site that duplicates the functionality of rootsweb and negotiates an agreement with Ancestry to transfer our personal data back to us and to the new site.

  249. George

    “Join the Discussion

    We really do appreciate your feedback, and ask that you please be respectful to other commenters and authors. Any abusive comments may be moderated. For help with a specific problem, please contact customer service.”

    PROBLEM the link is broken to customers service, but the last working email address was “” in December. Also note the terms and Conditions have also been updated, also after Oct 1, 2017. This is new management Changes we are seeing.

  250. Loretta

    We’re still waiting. My cup of tea is getting cold. I am thankful that my RootsWeb file did not contain all of my data, only a publication of some of my data. Everything, however, was sourced. He or she who dies with the most footnotes wins! I always sanitized my data to remove the living and notes/facts I did not want to publish. I remember well what happened when GenCircles got sold to some consortium in Israel and they tried to use my copyrighted information. My attorney enjoyed that., please give us an update. It’s coming up on the “few weeks” you told us it would be.

  251. Mister Bill

    Sadly appears all that hard work by many been hi-jacked by Ancestry now all the copy rights concerning can’t be used for profits will begin stepping up little Warning for Ancestry I be threading Very Lightly If I was you

  252. Security, you do what you need to. It’s a shame someone out there is so vicious that they want to attack people this way. Those cowards found a way to get in to try and attack us. I miss Roots, as this is my hobby and I’ll miss the use, but now the past kindness of sharing family histories has become a tool for some unscrupulous group to take advantage of our family members – you and I. I hope something soon can be arranged. It’s a shame, but I do fear that Roots will have to hide behind a protective wall, to help us, to be safe from predators. For those who only use the site to store their data – being from before the internet word and having worked in repair all my life I offer this never rely on one source. If it’s important alway back up your data by external drives, cds or even the unthought of paper and ink. Very sad at this hope it’s resolved soon

    • skewline

      That’s right Susan. Pave the way for Ancestry to argue that making users pay for public records is “for our own good” security- wise.

    • Timothy Stowell

      I don’t think you understand what happened – this was not a hack in the classic sense. This was a person who probes systems for, oops your underwear is showing, which is what happened. Someone, at some time placed a file somewhere on Rootsweb servers that had account names / passwords in plain English. It seems to me that it would be a control person, customer service or whatever that dumbly but said file out on one of the servers for reference but either forgot about it, didn’t protect it properly, moved to another job and didn’t bother to or couldn’t have cared less that such a file was out there. Supposedly this happened in 2015, which it was interesting they were told of it on 12/20/17, waited 3 days to kill the site just before one of the heaviest research times of the year.

  253. sminton

    Several years ago I was honored to meet a fellow researcher through rootsweb. This wonderfully talented individual had meticulously documented many of the family lines of the original colonists of South Carolina. Hers was one of the most extensive and historically accurate studies I have ever had the privilege to review. Month after month, year after year I return to her file to confirm a relationship or source. Upon her death a family member chose to leave her research in place on so that it might continue to be shared by all. Because of the shear volume of this research, it was impossible to copy/print the entirety of her work. Now it is gone and those of us who grieved her passing must now grieve the irreplicable lose of her life’s work.
    The gedcom format utilized on rootsweb has offered the most professional research presentation of any free or paid on-line site. One would hope that the Ancestry Corp would at least consider archiving existing gedcoms for historical access rather than allowing some of the most extensive volumes of professional research available on-line to be lost forever. I for one would consider paying a small ($) monthly fee for the privilege of accessing an archived version of rootsweb’s gedcoms if the Ancestry Corp’s issue is the cost of maintaining storage space on their servers. Or perhaps Ancestry might consider asking paid members for a small optional annual contribution to be earmarked for an archived version of rootsweb if the maintenance of same is jeopardizing Ancestry’s profit margin.

  254. Pat

    Having had to use Ancestry these past days (weeks it seems) I feel compelled to comment in the hopes that the Ancestry development crew will listen – it is extremely annoying to search ancestry with specific criteria, find the data, and then when searching again with the exact same criteria different information is offered. There needs to be a way to ‘save’ a search criteria so that one can visit other trees. I think that has been my biggest issue with Ancestry. Roots never had that problem, if you searched for someone and then re-did the search you got the same information/databases.

  255. Kathryn

    It is now January 7, 2018, 16 days,since the breach happened, or you ” found” out about it. That should be plenty of time for your “team” to have fixed the “problem”. I believe there may have been a breach, but I also believe it was not necessary to take away access to your site. This needs to be taken care of and soon, many people depend on this site for information. I have much unprinted informatuon that I need to access, it includes one complete side of my family. I find it heinous that you have taken this long without even an update. You need to get it together and get this up and running.

  256. An Ancestry customer

    I am a paying Ancestry member, first of all, to get that out of the way.

    I compiled a genealogy back in the early 2000s and shared it to Rootsweb, naively, back when the Internet was collaborative and not everything was for profit. If Ancestry wants more genealogy information, stories, photos, etc. from more naive, good hearted people (like I used to be) then it’s in the best interest of to re-open Rootsweb.

    However, I think I am done participating. My goal now is to go back to the old-fashioned way of sharing and collaboration – paper copies, email, etc. and not give this company one more crumb of my research to use for their profit.

    Hard lesson, but I have learned it now!

  257. Bob

    I really hope Ancestry isn’t trying to pull something over on us or shut down Rootsweb!!! The “problem” should have been fixed by now. I’ve seen no recent updates from them on when the site will be back up. This is not an unreasonable request!!! One week? Two Weeks?, etc.
    I use RootsWeb to back up my tree. I am also a paid member of Ancestry. But Rootsweb is far easier to use and update. It also lets me add the notes on each person, which, I think can be as important if not more than just dates. Ancestry, while good, does not allow these notes! I have also had great problems uploading my tree on Ancestry – even after spending hours on the phone with them!!!
    I also think that, while, Rootsweb is free Ancestry must make money from it. They have their adds on the site, can collect our information from the site and use it – which I don’t have a problem with! – and have “clues” about some people which leads one to go to their paid site to see the information – again which I think is great.
    While I back my data up other ways too, I think we also need a “free” and “”lasting” site to do this. I’d like to think that, long after I’m gone, all the computers and thumb drives are lost, etc., that a future reseacher could go to Rootsweb, find my information and continue the research and learning.
    If Ancestry does shut down RootsWeb I, for one, will consider canceling my paid membership with them and hope that someone else come up with a site like Rootsweb.
    Thank you for your time!

  258. Clovis La Fleur

    Another Subscriber
    Been following the comments on the shutdown of I fundamentally understand’s reasons. I have several genealogical files uploaded to WorldConnect and a web site on Freepages. Hope they can be continued into the future and available freely to genealogical researchers. I also have an subscription with several genealogy files uploaded.
    I don’t rely on these web sites to save my genealogical research, using FamilyTree Maker for genealogical data collection; then uploading to the above web-sites when I collect new data. I save my computer files to a purchased hard drive that I connect to my computer when I want to back-up my computer files. In simple terms, having worked with computers from the early nineteen sixties to the present, I’ve learned a great deal about their limitations and easiness to loose data for all time. My first experience was using Fortran programming developed by IBM in the late nineteen fifties. This was a general-purpose programming language that was especially suited to numeric computation and scientific computing.
    Programing changes can be complex and time consuming, depending on the severity of the problem and the competence of the Programmers attempting to resolve the problems. Using Fortran, I was able to solve many complex equations related to the design of electronic devices used to collect and process data collected from exploration oil wells. I also determined I didn’t want to be a programmer!:<|
    So; I believe it’s time for an update on your progress. From the above comments of many of your paying customers; they are concerned that you may be dropping the FREE genealogical web sites you now own; in favor of subscription only genealogical web sites. I hope you are paying attention to those who have expressed their concerns and suggested changes to the programs presently on Perhaps it’s time for the Rootsweb and Programmers to put their heads together to create a better product more oriented to how genealogical researchers use your products.

  259. skewline

    I Hope I’m wrong but I can’t help believing this snafu is just a stepping stone to a paywall.
    Researching my family history, and others’, for free has been a fun hobby. But I’m contemplating turning on to other interests, rather than being extorted. Maybe I know as much as I need to know about all these dead people, and it’s time to get on with the business of living.

  260. I agree with Bob on todays, comment . My website is also on Rootsweb as also Greene Co Genealogical societies web site which I do both. Would be nice to have a definite date and not to have happen like and others ancestry has taken away from us. If this is and sounds like it , it is a hacked site. I think this was an extreme way to handle this. So please let us know what is going to happen. Annette DeCourcy Towler 50 years of doing genealogy with clients….

  261. Raven

    I was sad to see this. I have used rootsweb in the past and even met relatives I did not know existed. I was going to get back to it to find it closed down. Probably a plan by to get our money. I might have joined but not now.

  262. Bart Triesch

    I had several Rootsweb links on a Wikitree profile. I entered one of them in the Wayback Machine and it brought up the site fully intact. So some of your Rootsweb data may be recoverable through Wayback.

    • B Helms

      Only SOME data can be retrieved via the Wayback Machine. If they didn’t have, or keep, a cached page prior to the shutdown, you’re SOL. They also have this nasty little lie that an unreachable page is “available online” – when that is no longer true and may never be true again.

      • After a few annoying incidents of losing some data online, I’ve made it a rule to always save the latest version of one of my webpages at the Wayback Machine. My entire Freepages websites is available there, up to date as of Rootsweb being taken offline.

  263. seibertcs

    Thank goodness I NEVER did publish my tree on-line! I thought about Rootsweb but decided to not do it. I won’t even put it on This is what happens when people, in good faith, trust that they will be able to access the information that they worked so hard to compile. They are exploited by companies who want to make more and more profits. I doubt if we will ever see Rootsweb the way it was. Does anyone want to bet that it will be accessible only through a paid subscription of some kind?

    • seibertcs

      I have tried every e-mail address for Ancestry support and all are inoperative. I don’t think that thy have any intention of returning in their former state. We will probably have to pay if it does return in some fashion.

  264. The Cattaraugus County GenWeb site, previously hosted on Rootsweb, is now up and running on a private mirror site for the duration of the RootsWeb outage. The new domain name is – Hope this helps. I hope they get Rootsweb up and running soon.

  265. Birdie

    Having spent the last hour ploughing through this blog may I as a lifelong computer industry person with a relative who works for a national computer fraud squad put some perspective on this problem. Ancestry may be at fault for its commercial business practice but it has a duty to its paying and free use customers to ensure that personal Data is secure. It is all too easy in this crowded Internet world to lose track of resources. As an example my relative was involved in a major data breach which eventually turned out to be on a server that this particular international company didn’t even know existed! Now I’m not suggesting that this is ancestry’s problem but it demonstrates the effort and time needed to resolve such an issue. So people go back to reading and living for a while and wait the outcome without gaining a heart attack. Just remember this.Google know so much about you and your daily life and yet you provide them with that information for free and don’t complain.
    Happy new year.

    • Rupert Holderness

      Fair points, but how long is it reasonable for Ancestry to go without providing updates; or at the very least indicating explicitly on this blog that they hear the concerns? They could also rebut some of what is being said; eg if they do not plan to make RootsWeb a subscription service they could say so. The silence only encourages worries.

  266. Kathy

    I am a long time user of Rootsweb and GENFORUM and anyone who tells you the postings are OLD (ie not valuable) you’ve got to be kidding! The information in these posts are sometimes not available in a database of information. yes, it may be hearsay or gossip, but it does provide lead to other family members who need to connect with ancestors further back or forward with marriages…… Please return both to the system!

  267. How about an update with information about when we might expect the Rootsweb site to be reinstated. If you do not plan to reinstate it then we need that information as well. The data on that site was quite useful.

  268. Dale

    I make daily use of Obituary Daily Times (where I am a contributor) and Wayne Ohlsson’s database with over 100,000 people included. These are both absolutely invaluable for my volunteer work on the 16,000+ people who are buried in my area of Iron River in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I am trying to think of other projects to do in the meantime. Please get these databases and Rootsweb back online immediately! An update would help, as it has been a long time since December 20.

  269. Rose Berry

    So! When will Rootsweb be back online? It’s as useful and important to all of us doing research and don’t find the answer on Ancestry, and yes, that does happen at times, and we can go to Rootsweb to find others searching the same family. Please put Rootsweb back up, think you’ve had enough time to fix things. Thanks! Rose

  270. David South

    I am disappointed that Ancestry is not providing any updates as to the current status of Rootsweb. Will Ancestry let all of the Rootsweb data vanish. I can’t imagine the million of hours we all have contributed to the data now held hostage by Ancestry. There may only be one solution to get OUR data back online!

  271. I don’t believe we will ever see Rootsweb again, Ancestry has been chipping away at the features on it for the last year (all in the name of improvement). In the next week or so the announcement will vanish and nothing will be done or said about Rootsweb. Really a damn shame because of all the long hours of adding data to the site by thousands of users.

  272. David South

    I have filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission. I suggest that all Rootsweb users take the same step at

    • CeeCee

      When contacting the FTC be sure to mention that taking Rootsweb off line is the same as what has being doing for many years; that is, they have used monopolistic practices in attempts to control the genealogy market and block competition. Hopefully that will get the attention of the FTC.

  273. Anita McClung

    Not having access to the records on many of the genweb (recently taken over by rootsweb, recently bought my ancestry) pages sucks. Many of those records were contributed by individuals with no intention of the them being “owned” by ancestry. I was recently admitted to DAR and soon after made assistant registrar and also asked to help with SAR applications. I relied on records found on several of the county pages, many of the records not found elsewhere (not even on ancestry or family search). Records that included pensions, Bibles, etc. If something isn’t done to fixed the problem, many of those records and the hard work of the individuals will be lost forever. Please, fix the problem and bring back rootsweb! Is ancestry trying to monopolize the genealogy market? I thought that was illegal.

    • Bob

      Oh, I think they are!! – and I don’t know if it is legal or not. But, again, we are owed a timely answer – LIKE TODAY – if or when Rootsweb will be back.
      It is now Monday, Jan. 8th, early afternoon at my house. The weekend is over – all the Ancestry and Roots people should be back to work — and someone should have been decent enough to respond to all our comments.
      I’m not anti big business but, come on Ancestry, companies can make money and and still care about people. You are making yourselves look really bad! Do you care???

    • CeeCee

      I remember being told by someone in the know that the ftc investigated ancestry for monopolistic practices in 2003 when they bought and then again in 2012 when they bought I don’t know if anything resulted from the investigation but obviously the sales went through.

  274. I do understand there was a security problem. But please get WorldConnect back online. I share this site with so many of my family members. Since the site went down, I have connected with 5 new family members, and I can’t show them my tree because your site is down. Please get the problem fixed quickly.

  275. samuel

    Please provide an anticipated date for the restart.
    We are not so interested in what is wrong and the partial technicals as we are in the date of return.

  276. Mae Hamilton Ambrose

    Also not interested in why but when you will have the “Search Family Trees” feature back online. I use it everyday and could call my habit an addiction! I have put numerous gedcoms here and am REALLY disappointed I can not access them unless I go to the native file at my home. I just had an article published in TAPROOTS, the digest of the Genealogical Society or East Alabama with two links to the “Search Family Trees”. I now have egg on my face because the links don’t work. Imagine. Please get this fixed ASAP! Thank you.

  277. Anita Austill

    I like Rootsweb but this does not surprise me at all. Ancestry have never kept their word on anything other than to charge you to see your own work.

  278. Kenneth Underwood

    I am currently subscribing to Ancestry, but find myself constantly looking back to Rootsweb for help. I can find so much information easier than anywhere else. If Rootsweb doesn’t return, I’m probably going to just say “Forget it” and unsubscribe Ancestry and be done with it. I’m too close to meeting my ancestors to put up with the aggravation of not having Rootsweb.

  279. Charles Moore

    I am a current Ancestry subscriber but have used RootsWeb WorldConnect since 2001, update it at least twice yearly, and share it with family members. Please fix.

  280. Kathy

    It’s hard to do genealogy for myself, for others and for new comers to genealogy. All of us would like to see rootsweb back in service. Thanks.

  281. Neil

    I’m glad that all my data plus is on my computer. The big thing was matching records with others and finding related people. My two 15+ generation trees for my grandmothers never made it there. Simply shutting down the sites and taking the data does bother me. Rootsweb never did own our data. It all goes to reaffirm that I do not want to support Ancestry. Lesson learned – Nothing free ever lasts if it has potential financial benefit to someone.

  282. Connie Abeln

    Rootsweb Worldconnect was my vehicle for showing my genealogy work to friends and family who were not genealogists. While Ancestry allows me to provide a free link to my Ancestry tree, it’s too time-consuming to explain to people how to use Ancestry’s tree, while the Rootsweb tree was intuitive, and didn’t need much explaining.
    Until I decide how to or if I want to post my tree data online, I have deleted my trees on Ancestry and closed my account. If Ancestry restores Rootsweb Worldconnect before I find another place to post my tree, _and_ if they don’t change it to be as non-intuitive as Ancestry’s trees, then I might consider renewing my Ancestry subscription. However, if I find other alternatives, I may not be back. My local library has access to Ancestry, so I am not cutting myself off entirely. However, I have to say, search quality has deteriorated quite a lot in the past few years, and I do not find Ancestry to be as valuable as I once did.

  283. Sally

    As a researcher for 33 years, supported RootsWeb financially when it was independent, before “Ancestry” bought it some years back. Recently, “A” got its hands on FindaGrave, and “redesigned” it into a mess. Hope that does not happen to “RW”! Feel it is irresponsible not to supply even a return-time “guesstimate” for those who heavily depend upon it. Not a subscriber to “A” — too costly for me and some other seniors. Meanwhile, suggest use and other reliable sites if possible. BACK UP EVERYTHING on a separate decent drive or two, not just on a thumbdrive!

    • CeeCee

      I totally agree except I also upload to because it is free and they have lots of backups and don’t merge their trees and you can get free time on the paid part of their site when you upload. Also they don’t take ownership of your tree.

  284. Brian McDaniel

    OK . . It’s been SIXTEEN DAYS now . . . . I’m beginning to think that they’re using the same ‘WEB’ company that Obama hired to put ObamaCare on the Internet . . . . I mean REALLY? Just HOW LONG do they plan on being OFFLINE? A MONTH? THREE MONTHS? A YEAR? I’m NOT holding my BREATH . . .

  285. Smitty

    If we as users of Rootsweb make enough waves maybe Ancestry will sell the website to someone who cares. Remember when they tried to get rid of Family Tree Maker and finally were pressured into selling it because FTM users complained. I bet there is another genealogy company that would be interested in hosting Rootsweb or maybe buying it. I think does that kind of thing.

  286. An Ancestry customer

    Aren’t they are blocking access to some content that could be considered protected under copyright? I understand genealogical research (names dates etc.) are not copyrightable, but writing about that research is copyrightable. I have articles which I’ve written that are now no longer accessible on the web at rootsweb. I do have copies and back ups – my content is not lost, and I can move my material to my own web host where I have purchased space, but I’m miffed because the content was contributed by me in the spirit of open sharing.

  287. Marc

    Maybe we can take a deep breath and give the people a chance, this is not the first time that the site has been down, I don’t understand all the bad feeling. I’m just a newbie since 2001 so what do I know, relax.

  288. gburk

    You say that Rootsweb will be off-line “temporarily.” It’s been blocked for weeks. What is your definition of “temporary??”

    • Malcolm Bull

      I am starting to look for alternative hosts for my Calderdale Companion website, as Ancestry/Rootsweb again proves to be unreliable

  289. Mikey B

    The cynical side of me suspects Ancestry will eventually “determine” Rootsweb is irretrievable and welcomes you to access the information…for a fee of course..from Ancestry.

    • Brian McDaniel

      Mikey B,
      Or worse YET . . . make it accessible for FREE . .but in some weird RECONCOCTED format that is totally USELESS and very CUMBERSOME . . . And YES, I’m being VERY cynical . . . this IRKS me.

  290. Mikey B

    …interesting that the “contact customer service” link results in a “bad gateway” (dead end). So much for “customer service”!

  291. Sarah Quinn

    WHEN will Rootsweb be back??? Ancestry should not become the only source for records by absorbing other free websites. The people who posted the information should not lose connections to this valued source. Be fair, the postings were done freely for all to evaluate, and use as they see fit. Do not be unfair to those who helped….BRING ROOTSWEB BACK.

  292. Robin Miner

    It seems that money is the only thing that speaks. If you close this site, do all of us with trees donated that you use on ancestry get to remove our data? Seems unfair that our freely donated items get to be used when we, who are on fixed incomes, cannot access what we donated.

  293. Jeff Fowler

    What a bunch of whiners. It sounds to me like most of the people complaining about this didn’t bother to read the explanation for this action.

    • B Helms

      We read it – we just don’t believe it’s the whole story. has been acting in bad faith regarding Webconnect/Rootsweb for years: ignoring problems, delaying or never implementing fixes, bringing them up DEAD-LAST with extended delays after two previous site crashes, etc. It’s become obvious that they regard Webconnect/Rootsweb as a cash cow to be milked dry (by siphoning off users and information int and then slaughtered – any and all agreements to the contrary to be disregarded because it doesn’t suit their monopolistic business model.

      They have no honor.

    • Marc Ager

      Jeff seems like we are the few that believe that the glass is half full the rest see it quite the opposite. I’ve been here since 2001 so I have seen the site go down several times, this is probably the worst. However, RootsWeb has been good I have faith.

  294. Will we ever be able to retrieve our Rootsweb site files? My work on American silversmiths has been up for more than a decade and is archived by the Library of Congress, but is now dead in the water.

  295. Jim Davis

    “As RootsWeb is a free and open community that has been largely built by its users, we may not be able to salvage everything as we work to resolve this issue and enhance the RootsWeb infrastructure.”

    Pure rhetorical garbage. There is no technical reason for not being able to keep existing data safe and intact. Unless “salvage” is your way of saying you’ve already screwed up and “lost”, or will purposely lose data.

  296. Jeff Lovell

    Time for an update as to what is going on. This may be a free service but thousands of us have put in valuable time to make this a critical genealogy site. Please give us the courtesy of an updated response.

  297. Karen Lord

    Everything is based on money. Ancestry makes alot of money due to our membership. We pay for the Rootweb service. How about we get a refund for this service that you have taken down? We all rely on this service as much as the others.

  298. Their latest update says they will begin bringing back a few hundred of the personal web sites in read-only format and expand after that. They hope to have the family trees back up in the next few weeks and the ability to upload new content in the next few months.


    This timeframe shows that either Ancestry doesn’t care about RootsWeb and hopes its users just go away. Either that or it shows that Ancestry doesn’t have a clue about how to run a web site securely. A good month or more before read-only content is back? A few months before the site is back anywhere close to where it was before? Ancestry, you need to either hire people who know what they’re doing or sell RootsWeb to someone who will maintain it properly. You should be ashamed of how you’ve handled this.

  299. Ann

    After this length of time, I smell a rat. Have used RW for years and much prefer it to anything on Much easier to use and find info. I think since they take all the info from there and then charge for it that they could leave this alone. I have gone to familysesrch but do not like it as well. I think if they do not put RW back up that we rebel against and stop paying them for the information they get for free. Can we start a site for $1 a year that would keep ancestry from copying their info. I have two file resulting in over 1 million records that has over 100 years of research done by my family personally. I have not submitted it to RW or Ancestry or LDS sites just because of things like this happening.

  300. There has been an update for what is going on. Granted, there are a lot of comments to go through and it is easier to see the most current comments by starting at the bottom of the list, the important announcement can be found near the top, entitled: Update: RootsWeb updates can be found on RootsWeb homepage. .

    • Timothy Stowell

      from that update – “Hosted Web Sites: Soon we will begin bringing Hosted Web Sites back online. We will start with a few hundred and then add more over time, giving us a chance to scan the content.”

      “Scan the content” can have I suppose multiple meanings. If it means, we’ll scan it for virus infected files, that’s not a problem. If it means, we’ll see if you have any data we don’t already have on the pay side, we’ll make a copy of it for us first, then that is a problem and likely will come back to bite someone.

  301. Bob

    Well we did get an answer and I hope it’s the truth! It’s interesting that they didn’t link this “blog” to the update.
    This whole mess has been an eye opener for me and I’m really not sure what, if anything, is the answer. As I stated earlier, one of the reasons I’ve put my tree on Rootweb is so when I’m gone future generations can see, learn, and continue my research. Ancestry’s trees’ – while good with other features – do not have the ability to display notes. The same is true of Family Search – although it looks like they may be able do do so in the future. Genealogy web hosting sites don’t seem to be a solution as they require a yearly fee – it’s not forever!
    Those of us who have written pages of notes on the people in our trees telling their life stories need a site that is perminant . My only thought is the LDS Church buys RootsWeb and
    runs it. They don’t seem to be in it for the money and should be around for a long time!!!
    Thanks again. I’ll be watching to see if keeps it promise of restoring the site and others’ ideas.

    • Bob,

      I can’t disagree with anything you said. I just purchased a domain name and am having it hosted on a free hosting company. This bridges the gap so I can share the same things I previously had on RootsWeb. The domain name is not free but it is pretty cheap. Just $10 per year. However, your point about it not being forever is very valid. Should I die, within one year my domain will disappear due to non-payment and my information will no longer be out there. I also hoped for a longer-term by having it hosted by RootsWeb. I agree that it would be great if FamilySearch could buy RootsWeb from Ancestry but I don’t think they’d sell for anything FamilySearch would be willing to pay. I believe Ancestry bought RootsWeb with the intention of getting rid of it after some period of time. They want to force everyone to pay them for their membership, which I refuse to do. The only way I see for my research to stick around for a substantial time after I’m gone is to self-publish hardcover books, encourage my relatives to purchase them and they and/or I can donate them to libraries and genealogical societies. It wouldn’t be forever but they could still be around in a few hundred years.

      • Bob

        Hi Matt,
        Have you ever looked into these books? I like the idea but I bet they’re real expensive. My other problem is that I would need major editing help as my spelling and grammar is poor! any book I put out would not be considered a master piece by any means!!!

  302. Ron

    Has anyone else not been able to change their Password? Cannot change mine. They keep telling me to try later. Started weeks ago!! They got bigger problems than they are letting on. Stuck with lame assigned password. How secure?

    • Sam Curtis

      Just tried changing my password following Ancestry guidelines “should be between 8 to 24 characters long and can be any combination of letters, numbers, and some symbols. “. Would not accept any symbols — 8 different combinations containing various symbols. Ended up using an alpha-numeric 24 character long password. Unsure what “some symbols” is referring to but did click on their help line link only to be given a phone number and a 47 minute wait in the queue. Alpha-numeric password is not very secure, would prefer 2FA or at the least give some idea of which symbols are allowed for a password. Takes time to generate a password as it is but having to repeatedly replace symbol(s) hoping for acceptance is more time that I wish to waste.
      Based on the username guidelines tried adding underscore but it was not acceptable either. With all these recent security problems would please be more forthcoming in how their security measures are set. One user name which can be readily seen means an unauthorized person is only one password (and not a secure one at that for this day) from accessing my whole profile, including payment options, membership plan. Yes I can change my password each and everytime I log in to Ancestry but is that even safe.
      Other online companies offer and most demand you use 2FA to protect your account.
      Time for to update their security.

  303. Jean

    I do have a question. A couple of days ago, I got an email through Ancestry? from another member regarding a family. However, the email I received didn’t show up in my emails on Ancestry. I checked the Ancestry subscriber and it cannot be the same person…he/she has nothing on that family in her line. I’ve had several different accounts with Ancestry over the years so I don’t know if that’s a factor but now I’m wondering if it’s connected with this problem. I’ve tried several times to contact customer service but cannot spend half the day waiting for someone to answer. Customer service leaves a lot to be desired.

  304. Lionel

    I don’t know how long this been going on but I just logged into my account earlier this morning and found some matches on my account. However, when I went to view them I got a message stating that this match is not on your DNA match. Then it switched to a DNA match of mine. Can you tell me what the heck is going on. Is this something to undermine Ancestry validity? Or someone has hacked into individual’s account via your system? I believe my account was compromised but I never received an email. I don’t know anything about the RootWeb.

  305. alice ramsay

    just received bogus email, sent from japan, to me and to “edit” at findagrave, using the display name of one of my findagrave contacts, no subject line, just an odd http [not https] link, which, even if “just spam,” made me alert my contact as to the probably deceptive use of their display name …

  306. Marne

    Take a good look at your family reputation and morals. You are Greedy. Plain and simple. You have stolen public domain and the hard work of volunt

  307. M

    Never had an account with rootweb. No active info of ancestry. If security issues under stand need to protect info but sad cyber security was never considered..

  308. Mike Patterson

    One more time….all the years of work someone has done and shared for free is being held captive by a big company who hasn’t figured out a way to hold it for ransom and make money from it. I will be surprised if the valuable stuff on rootsweb ever comes back online at all. has been the best thing and the worst thing ever to genealogy since the pastime of genealogy was invented.

  309. Mike Patterson

    Just a hint. Don ‘t call customer service, because they’ll never answer. Call and pretend to be wanting to sign up for new service and you’ll talk to someone in a few seconds. They are apparently the same people who answer the service lines, but never take the time to do so.

  310. Paula Solar

    I can afford to use Ancestry and other sites and do. But Rootsweb has always been my initial go-to site and it has been a mess since I am no longer able to use it. Family Search may be free but it is cumbersome to use and does not provide me with the same information. I can browse the names on Rootsweb and it helps me get the basics for initial searches. I have been researching for over 30 years and consider myself an expert. But without Rootsweb it has been far more difficult. If it is eventually done away with it will be a huge loss for so many researchers.

  311. George

    While we wait for rootsweb to return read this saved History of rootsweb, originally on

    by Dr. Brian Leverich, Co-moderator,
    This article first appeared in the RootsWeb Review, Volume 1 Number 2, 24 June 1998.
    Long, long ago and in a really distant galaxy (about 1976 at Harvard), a young man was
    trying to finish a project on one of the old S-100 bus machines, whose power supply was
    overheating. His friends found him with his face and head fully buried in the machine’s
    cabinet, alternately blowing on some heat sinks and sucking on the ceramic material encasing
    some big stabilizing resistors. This same pervert was also engaged in interconnecting
    computers in novel ways, doing something that was called “networking” in the academic
    journals but at that time looked more like a cybernetic group grope.
    Less long ago and in a less distant galaxy (about 1980 at the RAND Corporation), there were
    two newly married, recently escaped from graduate school folks who would read every post
    made to Usenet every day.
    On a vacation in 1986, Karen started looking for her grandfather’s birthplace. She dragged
    Brian along for the search. That was the start of the addiction.
    Being thoroughgoing Internet geeks, K & B started hanging out in net.roots. Then Alf
    Christophersen launched the ROOTS-L mailing list in December 1987, and that was yet
    another place to hang out.
    Karen began maintenance of the RootsWeb Surname List in 1989, when everything was done
    with file archives and such.
    By something like 1993, the Web had gotten started and Steven Woods had created the first
    Web-based search engine for the RSL.
    Shortly afterwards and largely to persuade RAND to let them dabble on the exploding Web
    using the corporate Web server, K and B and friends launched the RAND Genealogy Club.
    They created one of the earliest genealogy Websites, a site which grew so popular that it soon
    was generating significantly more traffic than the official corporate Website.
    In the Fall of 1995, K and B drove and camped their way up to Alaska with their German
    Shepherds. On the way back they decided they’d had enough of Los Angeles. Back at home,
    they sold their house in the suburbs and moved to a cabin on the North Slope of Mt. Pinos, 60
    miles from the nearest wide spot on any road.
    Along with getting indoor plumbing, they had Pac Bell install a high-speed digital line. Moans
    from the telco’s sales and engineering staffs were blithely ignored.
    About that same time RAND’s management was beginning to suspect something was not
    quite kosher on the Web server. Looking at the visitor counts, it was straining even
    management’s credibility that that many people actually cared what RAND was.
    Sensing a problem in the making, K & B registered the name of and started
    serving the RSL and other genealogical material out of their mountainside cabin in February
    of 1996. They were amazed when a Dutch site spotlighted them and they got 3,000 hits in one
    day. In May of 1996 K & B got their first T1. A big day was 50,000 Web hits.
    While RootsWeb was getting started, Apple’s eWorld was having difficulty hosting ROOTS-L
    and its sister lists. There was a major crash at eWorld in July of 1996, and RootsWeb began
    list serving for ROOTS-L. K & B consumed 197.3 gallons of coffee and 4.73 stomach linings
    moving ROOTS-L to our servers.
    RootsWeb began accepting voluntary contributions from its users at that point, because the
    costs were beginning to exceed what K & B could afford from their own pockets.
    In the Fall, Winter, and Spring of 1996-97 RootsWeb continued growing, adding support for
    the USGenWeb Archives and for many USGenWeb counties.
    RootsWeb discovered a call-girl ring was being operated out of one of the Websites it hosted
    in January, 1997. The Website was closed immediately, though there are unconfirmed reports
    that B archived the GIFs somewhere at RootsWeb.
    In May of 1997 RootsWeb adopted 1,000 Maiser mailing lists, after that server was destroyed
    by a spam attack from the sleazes at Atlanta’s Benchmark Printing. Another 227.7 gallons of
    coffee were consumed and 6.38 stomach linings destroyed.
    At the same time the Maiser lists were settling in, RootsWeb had its final round of attacks by
    a cracker who had been breaking into its systems for months. Things culminated in a sort of
    surreal exchange of e-mail between the cracker and B, and that seems to have ended the
    In August of 1997 RootsWeb adopted the dozen or so large lists still being served by eWorld.
    During the following Fall, Winter, and Spring RootsWeb continued to grow.
    February of 1998 brought the worst of the El Nino storms, and B spent most of one week
    living in a dark, unheated network operations center as he tended the generator that kept
    RootsWeb online.
    In April of 1998 Palladium Interactive, publisher of the extraordinary Ultimate Family Tree
    software, became the corporate sponsor of RootsWeb. Palladium’s sponsorship enabled
    RootsWeb to continue to grow.
    The RootsWeb Review, edited by Julie Case and Myra Vanderpool Gormley, published its
    first edition on 17 June 1998.
    At present, RootsWeb hosts more than 2,700 Websites and 3,600 mailing lists. RootsWeb
    now has a dozen servers and five T1s worth of bandwidth, and handles more than 1,300,000
    Web hits and 3,000,000 pieces of e-mail on a typical day. RootsWeb expects to be adding
    several more main servers and a sixth (and possibly seventh) T1 within the next few weeks.
    If you would like to help RootsWeb by becoming a member, sponsor, donor, or patron, please
    This is an old history of rootsweb.

    • Bonnie Follett

      Thanks George for the history on Rootsweb. One addendum: Ancestry acquired Rootsweb in June 2000 and has had full control of it ever since then.

      • George

        Thanks Bonnie. Their is another article that does go past the story I posted and your right. Not known by most outsiders, but correct. Now if they will put my trees back in Ancestry Public Trees search after they purged the GEDCOM uploaded trees, I will be happy. The Rootsweb trees have returned and that willl make us original researchers happy. The Make a Free tree users have no idea what GEDCOMS are, but it’s also the reson for the trash trees they generate. Hint trees are as weak as the trees that Ancestry said needed to be removed in Oct 2017. Those trees need to be returned in a database for trees to ancestry public trees that are not linked to ancestry records. Ancestry does not control all source information, Bibles, USGENWEB records, and undocumented sources by family members. These original sourced trees have been purged and the history that researchers are looking for are hidden. Its about making family trees not names attached to records which is their new genealogy logic.

    • Grace

      I have been amazed at some of what I have found on RootsWeb over the years and the length of time that some people have devoted to family research. There is a man who has spent over 35 years researching a particular family and I am sure that he is not alone. Ancestry should have taken special care to insure that a breach of any kind could not happen. I find it impossible to believe that any content should be lost due to Ancestry taking the site down. Tech people are always saying that even though we delete things from our computers, the data is still there. Ancestry had an obligation to protect this information and I really hope that the company isn’t doing this so they can find a way to make money off of a site that has always been free. Plenty of companies have experienced a security breach of some type and have not had to take their sites down (or close their companies) for 2 months in order to fix said breach. Not too long after RootsWeb first started, NASA designed a space probe that was to travel through space for 10 years before it reached it’s final destination- Pluto. Not only did it find Pluto, but the space probe sent amazing photos back to earth. I couldn’t get over all of tech people talking about how the technology used was considered so outdated in just 10 years. Fair or not, I use NASA’s success as a way to measure everyone’s use or misuse of technology. If Ancestry doesn’t employ anyone smart enough to fix the mess, then maybe you should hire a rocket scientist!

  312. JP

    As of midnight, 1/24/2018, I could do a search on! I don’t know how much of the database is back, but at least some of the family files are back up. Hopefully, it’ll stay up & running. Nice to see!

  313. Timothy S. Stowell

    1/23 – World Connect was announced as being back up, which I believe is the gedcom / trees program?

    1/25 – they have now shut down all the mailing lists that had been working throughout the outage of the site from 12/23. The explanation is they want to upgrade the software for the lists. I know of no software that any company anywhere else that takes ‘weeks’ to upgrade.

    • alice ramsay

      this is the mailman software home page url, broken with dashes in place of forward slashes, so perhaps of some help to someone. was of help to me.
      https colon–www dot [and if not of help, at least of info.]
      things appear to be trying to restore, but not sure about usgenweb. good luck.

  314. v

    You can not hold other people’s dedicated work hostage!! This is just another way of Ancestry to try to figure out how they can charge people for something they should not have to pay for. Put it back on line!!!!

  315. Bob

    I did “find” my tree back up at the Rootsweb site yesterday! Maybe Ancestry is going to keep their promise after all. According to their latest posting the site is also going to remain free.
    Because I have not been happy with them over the last month or so I will must give them credit for this! But, I must also say that their communication over this whole matter, in my mind, has been very poor. I think weekly updates were in order which we didn’t get. Their PR staff is very poor to say the least and they have lost a lot of trust! In the future I’d like to see them do a much better job running Rootsweb or turn it over to someone that can. I also would like to see Familysearch – the LDS site – add the ability to post notes with family trees on their site – or take over Rootsweb. They don’t seem to be in this for the money and this might be the best solution!

    • Amy

      Re: FamilySearch trees, there is a way to attach notes to people in the trees. You can also post “discussions” to individuals in the tree.
      WorldConnect may be back, but I noticed my tree is a mess. I have a lot of French names in my tree with diacritical marks which have now been rendered illegible. Of course, my bigger concern was always getting my FreePages and the other RootsWeb hosted websites back. Looks like it may be a while for that.

      • Bob

        Hi Amy,
        I bring up the World Connect because this is what I use on Rootsweb. I really haven’t learned about the Free Pages and Rootsweb hosted sites – But – I can tell that a lot of people have put a real lot of money and hours – people life work in many cases – contributing to theses sites. This whole process has not been fair at all and I feel really bad for you all!
        Just my 2 cents -again! – but it’s now March 15th and not a whole lot of new information from Ancestry. Very Poor PR. At the least we should be getting better timelines – at Least weeking – on what’s being fixed, how it’s being down, and when to expect OUR information to be restored!

  316. Ky Belser

    Who bloody cares. I use the same log in password for most everything because I am 65 years old and can’t remember a bunch of different ones . On something like this it makes no difference anyway . Security for looking up civil war info? Geeze When is it going to be available again?

  317. Bethany

    This is “Tony Blackham”‘s one and ONLY post, ever.

    I don’t think he’s coming back y’all.

    Same thing for RootsWeb.

    If it was, I think we’d see a more recent update. ???

      • alice ramsay

        Tony authored the 12-23-17 post, so expecting him to author updates is reasonable.
        Sadly, I think Bethany is completely right, and we will never know full details.
        Very disappointed for us all.

        • Amy

          I’m not expecting this person to post again on this blog either. Why? Because they said further updates would be provided on the RootsWeb website! I’d rather have the tech guy work on fixing the problem rather than provide frequent updates on this blog.

  318. It’s been 2 months now! How much longer is it going to take for you people to get RootsWeb back on line? I worked for the phone company for 30+ years and it we had kept customers out of service as long as you have kept RootsWeb down, we would have been fired a long time ago. This is getting ridiculous. You don’t seem to give a damn about how much trouble you’re causing people who use RootsWeb daily.

  319. Maureen

    I don’t use World Connect but I have found the Rootsweb hosted pages very helpful, such as Canada Genweb’s Cemetery project. The organizations who developed these pages do not have the financial resources of Ancestry and they have now lost full access to THEIR data. This is wrong.

  320. Jackie

    I am so very disappointed. Just getting back to working on my family tree and I was looking for CanadaGenWeb’s Cemetery Project when I find there are no photos available because Rootsweb has shut them down because they share servers. So so disappointed. Especially since it has been months! Now I go to Rootsweb and it is also shut down! When will it get fixed and if anyone is reading these comments how about some information???

    • Jackie; I also had my photos “lost” at RootsWEB.
      I posted my photos (about 240,000) to a web site that I pay for instead of the “free” storage on Rootsweb.

      It has been over a month since they have graced us with a status update . It sure makes me wonder if they are working on getting RW back online.

  321. Heather

    Please bring back rootsweb and the ros davies genealogy site. I understand that you are working hard to restore it but please….It is the best site ever and I rely on it. love dipping in and out of it.

  322. Zeb

    Family Search has announced a shutdown to make improvements for March 5th, for four hours and apologized for the inconvenience. Why is it taking Ancestry 2.5 months with no update since January as too when anything is going to happen to make read only versions of data available for viewing?

  323. PLEASE when will the hosted websites be back? I am getting so many enquiries from people that use my website for family history purposes that it is becoming a real effort. We put hours and hours of work into the website over 10 years, and it is all wasted. HELP!

    • alice ramsay

      not an answer, but posted recently at:

      Update: March 6, 2018

      We have some good news on our progress to bring RootsWeb back online. As of today, the RootsWeb mailing lists are now available to use, meaning you can now send and receive email on RootsWeb email lists just like you used to in the past. In addition to making the site more secure, we’ve upgraded our backend system to provide an easier-to-use interface to manage your email list subscriptions.

      To get started managing your subscriptions, go to Setting Up My New Mailman Login and if you are an administrator you will find more info at Setting Up My New Mailman Admin Login.

      As of today, any email that is sent will go directly into a new archive. We are in the process of importing the old archives into the new archives and due to the massive amount of content, that process will take time. We will continue to update you on the progress when we can.

      Thank you for your patience as we continue to bring these features back online.

  324. Disgruntled Ancestry Customer

    How is it not clear that one of the most important things people want back are the hosted websites? WAKE UP AND RESTORE THIS TO THE GENEALOGY COMMUNITY. THEY HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR ALMOST 3 MONTHS! There is no excuse for this kind of timeline other than there is only one semi-techincal person working on this “problem” part time – i.e. this is the lowest priority project at Ancestry, even behind renovating the bathrooms.

    • Joachim Hawn

      It is so wholly frustrating and entirely unnecessary for this amount of time to pass with the ongoing excuses! The thinly veiled reasoning is equally insulting! So many depended upon this for hosted sites that are now virtually gutted due to this interruption. You watch….the ultimate restoration of the site will no longer be public access. It will become a paid site just like Ancestry! All of these excuses are only extending the anxiety so that once the return is posted…even with fee for entry…many will feel they have no option. There’s just no other reason justifying their taking the entire site off-line for “security” reasons and provide the rationale they have….with only a very carefully worded statement response to the question: Will Rootsweb still be free?

  325. J F

    Tony Blackham is Chief Information Security Officer at Ancestry.

    Hi Mr Blackham,

    I’d consider hiring a new IT team so you can fire the workers since our sites are not restored, still, after three long months! Please! Restore our sites.

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