Ancestry.com, Genealogy.com and FindAGrave.com Outages

Three major genealogy web sites seem to be having server outages this morning. Ancestry.com , Genealogy.com and FindAGrave.com (all sites are owned by Ancestry.com and probably are hosted in the same data center) seem to be having frequent outages. Details may be found at https://www.facebook.com/Ancestry.com while recent updates from users may be found at http://www.isitdownrightnow.com/ancestry.com.html. Scroll down a bit to read the reports received in the last hour or so.

I can sympathize. The EOGN.com newsletter’s web site recently suffered distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks and was up and down like a yo-yo for a couple of days. I don’t know the cause of the current problems at Ancestry.com and FindAGrave.com but do know the effects of such problems. I suspect the problem will be resolved in a few hours, possibly in a day or two.

47 Comments

Haven’t been able to access Ancestry and its kin for 24 hours. It looks like they are suffering a DNS attack, or they haven’t paid their telephone bill. I’ve got stacks of notes on my ancestors that I kept meaning to go through and add to my database, now seems a good time to start.

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I hope they catch the villains. Denial-of-service attacks like this are vandalism on a colossal scale.

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Ancestry has been down since yesterday with a brief interlude of working last night, Eastern time. It’s evidently worldwide and I’m surprised that it hasn’t made the news, considering how many people use the site. I hope they find and prosecute the dimwits who do this kind of damage to websites and their many subscribers.

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It seems that when you need a site the most it is when it has a problem. But alas, that is not really the case. Have so much to do and when it happens to you it seems like the end of the world. It will be nice to have them up and running again but have patience. There seems to always be someone out to destroy others and make their lives miserable. If they get caught then it is up to the legal system to deal with them. Hackers have hit me over the years and what has to be done with a small laptop is peanuts compared to what must be going on with findagrave, ancestry and the lists goes on…

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I can’t get on Ancestry-owned ProGenealogists.com right now either.

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given the fact they are shutting down m
udia my family my canvas and have not sold anything except autosomal dna tests i think when all said and done I really don’t like ancestry for so many many reasons but i will not go into detail here because i don’t like to rant and it’s not gonna be with out some profanity from me which of course you will not allow so i will skip that part and just say I am guessing when their crappy customer support gets off their butt in 72+ hours and cleans out the back log they will find a pissed off user behind it.. looks like their bad choices bit them in the ass and while I do not approve of such ddos attacks (went thru a nasty one when they hit pay pal a few years ago) i do approve of this one to teach them a lesson.. only thing they care about is money

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    yes, it was bad enough, though some what tolerable, before it was purchased by Permira Private Equity For $1.6 Billion[US] back in Oct 2012. Now, every month it becomes worse as their draconian changes become more reptilian.

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Another monopoly, ancestry and findagrave… bummer. Will I have to shell out more dollars just to find the dead?

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I have been trying to get into the Ancestry.com webstite and cannot. It would be nice if they sent an email to say what’s going on. I hope they haven’t been hacked. Our family information is in this webstite/software and I’ll be very upset if I can’t finish my Canvas project.

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Rootsweb is down too. I was able to upload a change to a site there earlier today via FTP and then when I tried to view it in a browser I couldn’t get in. Most of these troubles started with the opensource SSL. Sort of like genealogy trees that contain mistakes and everyone hopes someone else will be accountable. :-| and then it all snowballs. It is easy to blame the h/crackers although the problem is also with the new way they are designing their sites with built in backdoors and then the flaws are overlooked and jerks find them or sometimes the flaws and backdoors just mess up the overall programming in a cumulative manner.
A internet friend over the pond had his WordPress templates go belly-up more than a week ago. The site is still there but no pages unless you go to folders. He said it is the way the new designers are designing pages and they aren’t really great programmers; like his genius son :-))

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No problem with the Ancestry connection, but I’m on Google Fiber so the speed might be beating the Hackers. However, Find a grave is still out. However, if you directly use the index at Ancestry, the date and place will show up. But you can’t get to the actual site.

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Seems like Ancestry should have full time people on staff who know about these types of problems. It would be a full time job keeping up, but since Ancesty is so big, it would pay off. My service has been down for about 36 hours.

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i believe we,re being censored by our government!!!!!!!!!!!!

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i,ve heard tell that our government is going after disidents that are against our government.

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probably an attack by FMP because so many of their disgruntled subscribers (including me) are leaving in their droves and using Ancestry more and more

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day 2 – when will the sites be fixed. Need them. HELP!!

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I wish Ancestry would extend the deadline to close down My Canvas since those of us who are working hard to complete My Canvas projects and can’t afford to lose any time. I haven’t been able to do any work on my projects for over 2 days now and the deadline is looming soon. Using MY Canvas is one of the reasons I have kept my subscription to Ancestry and I am very disappointed that it is being removed.

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I’m amazed that when things like this happen the conspiracy people come out and others attribute it to the company itself. People, this happened to the company–they didn’t do it!!!

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    Do you have an authoritative source on this or are you just speaking on your own behalf?

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    well.. the PAID Ancestry.com website is at this moment in service and functioning properly,..
    however the FREE Rootsweb.com site run by ancestry is still out of service, and its been out of service since monday afternoon.

    Obviously a for-profit company is going to get their income stream back online before anything else, but three full days of Rootsweb being tanked is a bit hard to explain given the user base and how many records Ancestry.com has been in a position to harvest from the user uploaded genealogical data, forums and family trees.

    i specifically found some new data and wanted to research it on Monday, and have not been able to for three days and counting now. They need some competent IT people, or if they dont intend to support Rootsweb anymore that gave them a free smorgasbord of info.. they should delete any Rootsweb originated information and trees from their PAID site and also give people who are Rootsweb members time to harvest their data posted their and delete what they want to delete.

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A related problem. My Family Tree Maker program (an Ancestry product) which normally connects to Ancestry has not connected for 3 days.

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    Though I’ve been able to work on my tree in ancestry.com, I too have been unable to sync with Family Tree Maker. I keep getting a message “unable to connect to the internet”.

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Well said Mary K. I know when our electricity power goes out, we just get on with it and surprisingly, like our ancestors there is much we can do without it just as previous generations have done researching family lines without the internet.
(Tongue in cheek) perhaps it is my fault for having let my membership go after 14 years – not to worry, I will renew in due course, but thought I try out a bit of withdrawel first;-))

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Our genealogy society website is down which is hosted by Rootsweb so this is bigger than a DDOS attack. I’m thinking like hardware or a dug up cable or even a software upgrade gone wrong given the amount of changes they are making. Besides it was a comment about a DNS attack that started all of the comments about that and DDOS. We’re genealogists, look at the facts not the assumptions.

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DDOS normally takes down a whole site, I’ve had trouble with ancestry.com since Sunday but I can get to parts of it, no images but census and search worked yesterday. Other ancestry.com sites are down also, Rootsweb and FindAGrave. Personally I believe they tried to change some programming and it went horribly wrong. This becomes a problem when all our eggs are in one basket. I’ve been searching on ancestry.com and finding the images on heritagequest.com, it works.

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I reported to Ancestry on Sunday evening 6/15 that the site wasn’t working. I have been unable to access since Sunday afternoon. When I called back on Tues. night to see if there was any timetable for a fix I was told that they just learned about the outage an hour before I called (on Tuesday evening) when I had reported it on Sunday. Outages happen, but don’t lie to customers who know better. Knowing it has now been out for 3 days it must be a serious problem. Hopefully they will offer paid subscribers some sort of compensation for no access during this time (if it goes on for a week or more). I’m beginning to think that customer service doesn’t pass on complaints or even heads-up when paying customers call. But, we shouldn’t stop calling or issuing our complaints (especially about the “new search” page and all of it’s problems).

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I too have been without access to their website since Sunday 15th. When I phoned yesterday to see how long it would be down I was told that they have no idea, but were working on it. When I asked about subscription compensation I was told that they have no warranties and therefore there would be no compensation to subscribers!

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Thank you Mr. Eastman for this info. I have been a Find A Grave member for a several years now. The site ran relatively smooth until Ancestry took over it. Ahhhh, I remember the day the prior owner said he would not sell to them! Hmmm. Now unless you have state of the art equipment the site is near impossible to navigate and takes forever to leave virtual flowers. (It resembles a dinosaur who can’t get itself moving because it hasn’t had its coffee in the morning. But they went extinct, didn’t they?) Even with state of the art equipment there are some issues. It is very frustrating and slows the addition and correction of information. And to think I was just about to join Ancestry! Ha! After reading all of this cheerful news I think I will wait! Still down in the Midwest and counting-3 days.
Now for Find A Grave withdrawals. I won’t be as interested and fired up to add info or memorials to the site any longer. Problems do not get resolved. They just keep multiplying. Oh, but we have a handy dandy mobile phone app to use now to quickly take photos and download new memorials while still in the cemetery! How many duplicates do you think are going to surface now? Every time I use my mobile phone at work while on break I always am being informed about their app now currently available. And the splendid news is they can track everything you are doing on your phone even when you are not logged in. To help with future developmental improvements of course! Not on my phone you don’t!

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It acts like DDOS, not bad software. I keep getting time out messages which usually occurs when the servers are under water. Affects the entire Ancestry empire. Why pick Ancestry? you may ask. Not exactly a political statement. I wonder if the culprits are trying to extort money from them. It has been know to happen before.

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Once you become aware of DDOS its fairly simple to restrict or filter packets from obvious sources of attack, and have the router drop packets.

Its understandable to be unaware a hour or two later.. or even to require the next business day to take basic actions.. but THREE straight days in incomprehensible if you have competent technology personnel.. In a normal for-profit web site, this should be easily shut down within a hour or two at the very worst.

Either its not a DDOS, or the staff tasked with web administrator did not do their jobs, and really should be replaced.

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Catherine Crawford June 18, 2014 at 11:39 pm

WHY to be certain you have a back up system off the Ancestry servers, and back that up at least monthly. Call me paranoid but if my twenty years of work and some 30,000 people, mostly with citations, vanished I would probably have to be locked up!

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    Ok, It’s been 4+ days now since users have been able to do any meaningful work, and had to flounder around uninformed trying to fix problems they really didn’t have all the while worrying about the security of their identities and years of compiled work. That’s bad, but no one can blame Ancestry for what some malicious malcontent devised. However, Ancestry has grown recently at a very rapid pace, acquiring resources from smaller competitors to make available to it’s users. This should be a good thing for the user base. On the way to this though, little if any and certainly insufficient thought and money was given to protecting the resources. One line from Scott Sorensen’s blog post of June 17 at 1:57pm caught my attention from the middle of the last paragraph, “and build the defenses necessary to mitigate future attacks of this sort”. That’s about as blatant an admission of lack of forethought as we will ever get. I don’t single out Mr. Sorensen. I’m sure the “bean counters” had the greater part of the blame for not implementing protection since it detracts from the bottom line in the short run, and they are all about profit. It probably didn’t occur to them that they were much of a target. They didn’t realize that the bigger and more visible you are the more a malefactor is likely to strike you. So now they spend the money after the “horse” has left the barn. As to the lack of timely and useful information being transmitted to the customers, The PR department probably gets the award for that abysmal train wreck. Information was disseminated too late, too slowly, via too few outlets and actually caused people to take actions which were both unnecessary and sometimes damaging to their software and data. Some information was actually misleading, even if not intentional a bad thing. It appeared that the PR department was more concerned with preserving and defending the “corporate image” than assisting their customers and that there was no coordination of the different outlets. The PR department should be placed in the hands of some one who has the “P” (Public) part foremost in his or her priority list. So now “we” yet wait for “Humpty Dumpty” to be reassembled by an organization whose motives and priorities we now have rational and good reason to distrust.

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Rootsweb is still down and not just for me.

http://www.downforeveryoneorjustme.com/

It’s not just you! http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com looks down from here.

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Why and how can Findagrave.com be up and available at my personal residence, but 5 miles away it is completely unavailable and hard down at our public library? Findagrave worked for me last night and this morning, and now that I am at my public library, forgetaboutit! How is this possible?

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DDOS for a full Week? June 19, 2014 at 8:40 pm

The Ancestry.com paid site has been online and offline, back and forth repeatedly..
and the Rootsweb.com free site has been almost entirely DOA for close to a full week now.. Got news for you – that is not a DDOS attack, unless you are seriously telling me its STILL in progress and you either cannot or dont know how to defeat the CONTINUOUS (for a full week) attack.
More than likely there has been some penetration of the site in my opinion. For a denial of service attack, once the attack has been identified and defeated the service is not disturbed and does not need to be “restored” through any tech process..

There is something else going on here in my opinion.. IF they are going to stick by the story that this was a DDOS botnet and no penetration of their system or data occurred, I suggest that any jobless IT people with a resume send it over the Ancestry.com because there are going to be a lot of web admin openings quite soon..

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I would suggest that some type of virus has somehow entered ancestry’s database. The only way I think this could happen is if one of their employee’s downloaded something they shouldn’t. Or a competitor sabotaging ancestry’s database. I’m not real happy as there doesn’t seem to be enough memory to completely download images. I spend 3 hours capturing and pasting to word to acquire a 22 page document today. I couldn’t wait any longer.

In reality, does anyone think a 1.5 Billion Dollar Company is going to devalue its stock by telling everyone they can’t handle a big issue like this? Easier to deny a problem even exists by creating a fictitious problem. Someone got into Target’s database and stole everyone’s credit card details, and look what happened to them. I wonder if my credit information is safe with ancestry? And yours?
I think Ancestry needs to fess up the truth.

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It’s been a week now, and still no sign of the Rootsweb mailing lists working.

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Rootsweb still dead. We are now in the second week.
When Rootsweb briefly came back online I noted that the Google URL for a specific Rootsweb page no longer directed you to that correct page when you click on the Google link.

It appears to me that they had a site penetration or the in house IT people did something stupid and they used the Dos attack as a excuse to blame someone else.

If this was only a Dos attack, why do the Google cached links lead to the wrong pages now?
It does not appear to only or primiarily be a DOS attack, it looks like they are having to rebuild the site from offline archives, leading to the google cache no longer directing users to the proper online page that does not exist in that location anymore.

Why arent we getting a honest answer on what is going on?

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is there a way to access rootsweb.com via a back door??? surely the databases have to be stored on a server somewhere the only place i can get information for my family tree is rootsweb.com someone please HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    Hi Carlapage54

    I did a google search for one of my family that is on a site that is also on Rootsweb & it came up via rootsweb on one of the search results, so may be worth googling.

    Yvonne

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i think ancestry.com is behind the shutdown of rootsweb.com and genealogy.com i think it,s an inside job,i think and believe this was plannned from the getgo

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Call me cynical, but maybe they’ve decided to no longer have the free information & are setting up to charge for it,

Yvonne

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my family page in 2014 FTM has turned into pedigree Boxes.Ancestry more interested in telling me about a virus than giving me some actual tech help to fix it. They sent a link but they aren’t open for business yet as of June 24 so how am i going to get the link and fix it. Their answer-compact the file.I have 3 family files on the PC and they all have the Pedigree boxes.
What is everyone doing to fix their files.I need some help or answers. I am not that computer smart

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As it’s been about a month now since the computer problems at Ancestry.com, Findagrave and Rootsweb, I’m interested in hearing any follow up reports – particularly from the company or anyone who has insights into what really happed and what will prevent future occurrences.

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