A few days ago, one of the Facebook genealogy groups I follow had a notice regarding Afterlife, a site that posts obituaries. The site claims to be “Canada’s largest database of deceased people.” Visitors can light a candle in someone’s memory or purchase flowers.
The problem is, they are not a funeral home. They’re just a ‘company’ gathering obituaries off the internet, setting up a page for the deceased and selling digitally-lit candles and flower arrangements.
This is not to be confused with a genealogy website that simply posts an obituary notice with other genealogical information. Genealogy sites are not selling lit candles and flowers. In other words, they’re not trying to make money from the obituaries.
To have an obituary removed from Afterlife meant giving this company your name, email address, telephone number and a few other pieces of information. Several members in the Facebook group who had asked for the obituary of their family member to be removed found the notice wasn’t, even after they were told it was. It was only after legal action was threatened that the obituary was taken down.
A member posted a link to a CBC story detailing the site. It seems the site is being cautious, and removing obituaries quickly now because, three days ago, when I searched with “Tibert”, I found 14 pages of “Tibert” and “Thibert” obituaries. Today there are only five pages.
The CBC article stated, “It’s called obituary piracy and it’s causing a headache for a Calgary funeral home, as well as pain for those already grieving the loss of a loved one.
“Jeff Hagel of McInnis & Holloway in Calgary says his funeral home received more than half a dozen calls on Wednesday alone from confused clients. They were wondering why obituaries of their loved ones ended up on Afterlife, a website that aggregates obituaries from across the web and then offers gifts like digital candles or real-life flowers that can be purchased for those mourning a loss.”
The full article can be read here: Obituary piracy causing headaches and pain across Canada.