Our Story

The World Wide Cemetery was created by Internet pioneer Mike Kibbee in 1995.

It is the oldest online cemetery and memorial site in the world. Flower #10

The Internet forgets far more than we realize. Obituaries in newspapers and memorials on funeral sites or social media often disappear. A physical grave may be more permanent, but it may also be remote or difficult to visit. When Canadian Internet pioneer Mike Kibbee was dying, he wanted to leave a lasting and accessible memory of his own existence and those of others, hence he created the World Wide Cemetery.

Mike’s original design survived unchanged for years under the care of a friend. The simple and ad-free look was the appeal for the current caretaker of the World Wide Cemetery, who experienced first-hand how people’s Internet presence can vanish without a trace in a matter of just weeks. The transfer into new hands in 2014 lead to a technical update but the commitments and the serene feel of a real cemetery remain intact.

On the World Wide Cemetery, pages are simple and fixed, like a grave. A permanent link to a map of the burial site is included. Each memorial also has a second, interactive page. There, visitors can leave messages and personal pictures. If you want to be contacted by other visitors then you may leave your email address. All pages are moderated so that heartfelt condolences and memories cannot be tampered with or drowned by spam.

Read about the World Wide Cemetery in a Book Dedication (1997), in Newsweek (2014) and in Yale’s The Politic (2018).

The photo below shows Mike’s watching his TV interview about the World Wide Cemetery (1996).

Interview in Chicago, 1996

Mike’s Interview in Chicago, 1996