Ancestry.com Changes Terms of Service

26 Apr 2012

A number of people have expressed concern over the change to the Ancestry.com Terms of Service (TOS). Most websites have a TOS statement that users must agree to adhere to. A few weeks ago, at the end of March, Ancestry.com amended their TOS. The TOS statement read:

“You may access the Website, use the graphics, information, data, editorial and other Content only for personal family history research.”

This would have prevented heir tracing firms from utilizing their databases. Historians would not have been able to use information on the website for their publications. And professional genealogists would be prevented from using the site for client research.

On April 25, 2012, Judy G. Russell (author of the Legal Genealogist blog) conducted a webinar with the New England Chapter of the Association of Professional Genealogists about copyright for genealogists. The change to the Ancestry.com TOS came up as part of the presentation.

APG member Marion Pierre-Louis wrote about this on her blog (Marion’s Roots and Rambles) this morning and contacted Ancestry.com regarding the impact of the TOS changes. To the company’s great credit, they swiftly addressed the problem and responded to the issues. The TOS was changed to specifically include the use of the websites for professional genealogical research.

We often hear about problems with big corporate websites, but we rarely hear about the good things. Kudos to Ancestry.com for such a quick and helpful response!