Fact Check: Ancestry.com Listing Does NOT Prove Biden Is Dead

Fact Check

  • by: Dana Ford
Fact Check: Ancestry.com Listing Does NOT Prove Biden Is Dead Listing Gone

Does a former listing on Ancestry.com that claimed that Joe Biden died in Guantanamo, Cuba, in 2018 prove the president is dead? No, that's not true: The listing, no longer available at the time of writing, appeared based on information from another site, FindAGrave.com, that allows the public to submit listings about individuals' burials and deaths. That earlier listing did not provide any sourcing for its information and included conspiratorial language. At the time of writing, June 14, 2024, there were no credible reports that the U.S. president had died.

The claim about Biden's death appeared in a post (archived here) on X, the site formerly known as Twitter, on June 11, 2024. The post included a roughly two-minute video and read:

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. on Ancestry.com , shows he died in 2018 at Guantanamo, Cuba

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-06-14 at 5.52.27 AM.png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Fri Jun 14 05:52:27 2024 UTC)

At the end of the post's video, the narrator claimed the listing proves the president is dead. She said:

This is it, y'all, in living color. This is proof that, indeed, there are actors playing parts on the world stage. Now will you believe it?

At the time of writing, June 14, 2024, international TV coverage showed Biden alive. On that day, he met with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the Group of Seven summit in Apulia, Italy. A video of that meeting can be watched here (archived here).

The listing on Ancestry.com about Biden's purported death was no longer available as of June 14, 2024, but an archived version can be seen here. It reports Biden was born November 20, 1942, in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and that he died in 2018 in Guantanamo, Cuba. The listing referenced a Find a Grave post, which was also not available at the time of writing, but has been archived here.

Find a Grave is a website that allows the public to search and submit burial listings and memorials. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ancestry, which operates Ancestry.com. This is what Find a Grave says on its website (archived here) about "Who is behind Find a Grave":

First and foremost, you are. Thousands of contributors submit new listings, updates, corrections, photographs and virtual flowers every hour. The site simply wouldn't exist without the million+ contributors.

The Find a Grave post on Biden did not include any sources for its information but did include several conspiratorial suggestions. For example, it claimed that "Genocide Joe" was executed for treason, and that the "current appearance of the Biden administration is a creation of Trump's executive order #13961 as a continuity of the federal government, while the actual government (Trump administration) embarked in early 2020 on a 'federal mission' which is currently ongoing...."

Lead Stories contacted Ancestry to ask about the post and the process of verifying listings. In an email, dated June 14, 2024, spokeswoman Katherine Wylie wrote:

Ancestry provides the tools for our customers to document and record the details of their family history, including building family trees and creating memorials on Find A Grave.

Memorials dedicated to famous figures make up a special collection - approved, curated and solely maintained by Find a Grave. Because the page in question doesn't fall under this category, it has been removed from both Find A Grave and Ancestry. Outside of the Terms and Conditions of our site, we claim no authority over what someone chooses to publish in their own family trees.

Ancestry stipulates in its Content Submission Agreement (archived here) that account holders "agree to provide true, accurate and complete information." The text continues:

If any information you provide is, in our sole judgment, false or misleading, we reserve the right to terminate your use of Ancestry and/or delete all content that you have submitted.

Lead Stories previously debunked an article that claimed Biden's family had said he died and was replaced by an actor in 2019. You can read that fact check here.

At the time this was written, Snopes had reviewed the same claim.

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  Dana Ford

Dana Ford is an Atlanta-based reporter and editor. She previously worked as a senior editor at Atlanta Magazine Custom Media and as a writer/ editor for CNN Digital. Ford has more than a decade of news experience, including several years spent working in Latin America.

Read more about or contact Dana Ford

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