We just received an announcement that online genealogy company Ancestry.com has purchased Find A Grave, the site with the largest database of free burial information and photos contributed by volunteers.
Find A Grave will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Ancestry.com, and will continue to be managed by its founder, Jim Tipton.
I already hear people asking if the site will remain free. Yes, says Ancestry.com president Tim Sullivan. From the press release:
“We will maintain Find A Grave as a free website, will retain its existing policies and mode of operation, and look forward to working with Jim Tipton and the entire Find A Grave team to accelerate the development of tools designed to make it even easier for the Find A Grave community to fulfill its original mission to capture every tombstone on Earth.
I’ve found family tombstone photos on Find A Grave, and you probably have, too. The 18-year-old site has 100 million memorials to deceased people, and 75 million photos, a significant addition to Ancestry.com’s content.
Ancestry.com plans for Find A Grave include a mobile app for uploading cemetery photos (Billion Graves, another cemetery website, has one), improved customer support, an easier editing of already-submitted memorials and foreign-language support.
This isn’t the first time Ancestry.com has acquired a free, grassroots genealogy site: You may remember back in 2000, when the company (then called MyFamily.com) purchased RootsWeb. In 2008, RootsWeb was moved onto Ancestry.com servers.
We’ll bring you more details as we learn them.
Update: Here’s an FAQ on the acquisition from Tipton, who says he realized “Find A Grave had gotten too big to run it as I always have and I also realized that I might not be around some day … and I wanted to make sure it had a stable home, while still retaining control over how it evolves. But … I’m hoping this gives me the opportunity to do so many of the things that I’ve always wanted to do with the site now that I have some real resources behind me.”