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. Unless you’re famous, it’ll forget you. When it does, most of the world will have no evidence that you ever existed at all. There may be a stone, somewhere, in some field. But it’ll be remote to most people. Given how much people move these days, even your own grandchildren might not be able to find or visit it.

The World Wide Cemetery was born to answer that. When Mike Kibbee was dying, he wanted to leave a lasting memory of his own existence with the creation of this site. A century from now, when everyone who ever knew Mike has followed him, that memory will still stand accessible to nearly every person on the planet.

Years later, another young man died suddenly. Until then, his faraway godfather Marc was able to follow his life and travels on the Internet. But everything vanished within weeks and no trace of his existence was left on the Internet. It turns out, this is common.

Marc searched for a way to preserve an Internet presence and found the World Wide Cemetery. The site was run by Gerald, a friend of Mike Kibbee, and kept simple and serene—the only memorial site that looked like a real cemetery (no ads, no gimmicks, no obstacles, no passwords).  The purchase of a memorial eventually led to the transfer of this cemetery into new hands in 2014, but the original vision remains the same.

On the World Wide Cemetery, pages are simple and fixed, like a grave, with provisions made for 100 years (see Our Promises). Each memorial also has a second, interactive page. There, visitors can leave messages and personal pictures. If you want to be contacted, you may leave your email address. These pages are moderated so that heartfelt condolences and memories cannot be tampered with or drowned by spam.

Read about the World Wide Cemetery 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

Interview in Chicago, 1996