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DIGITAL CITY, AOL AND ARRANGEONLINE FORM ALLIANCE., Jonesboro, Ark., has formed an alliance with America Online, Inc., the world's leading interactive services company, and Digital City, AOL's local guide, that will provide AOL members and Digital City visitors easy access to family and genealogy information as well as a national database of current and historic obituaries.

Under the agreement, will provide AOL and Digital City with genealogy and historical information for people with interest in building family trees and histories. will also offer access to services that both record the deaths of prominent names in the news and ordinary people through newly created obituary areas in AOL's News Channel (AOL Keyword: Arrangeonline) and Digital City's News, Sports & Issues section, or through customized, co-branded websites. launched its Web site in early October with the exclusive endorsement of the National Funeral Directors Association, the leading membership organization in the funeral industry. The startup immediately embarked on building the largest obituary database in the world, and by today had more than 5 million death records online.

"We look at this agreement as a benefit to millions of people seeking information about their loved ones and people of interest to them," said Michael Fullington, president of "Now it's easier for families to publish historical family information and obituary information where it is readily accessible to those who want to know and be able to respond."

"Through this alliance, will enable AOL members and Digital City visitors to easily and conveniently search for a variety of historical, genealogy, and obituary information. We're also making important funeral information more easily available to millions of people across the country," said Paul DeBenedictis, president of AOL's Digital City.

The obituary pages have long been among the most widely read features of local newspapers, but in an increasingly mobile society, millions of people are seeking such information beyond their local areas. By building a central database, called the National Obituary Archive, makes millions of obituaries freely available to genealogists and family-tree researchers, as well as those seeking information about the most recent deaths in their community.

The custom-built archive enables visitors to search not just by name or date but also by hometown, place of birth, place of death, organization membership and numerous identifying criteria. That feature will be used by AOL Digital City to list local deaths on more than 200 local Digital City sites.

The co-branded websites will offer an Obituary Alert feature that enables people to register to be notified by e-mail whenever an obituary fitting their selected criteria is published on People can also send flowers and condolences to family and friends or create their own memorial tributes. Other information available on the sites will include maps and directions to funeral homes, services and cemeteries, a directory of the nation's 22,000 funeral homes and guidance for planning a funeral. is a subsidiary of Jonesboro, Ark.-based Continental Computer Corporation, maker of the leading software for managing funerals and funeral homes. Fullington said 43 percent of the 2.4 million deaths in the United States this year will be handled by funeral homes using Continental's premier software product, The Director's Assistant for Windows.

The tie to Continental gives the Internet startup access to between 5 million and 10 million obituaries already stored electronically by users of The Director's Assistant for Windows.

About is a subsidiary of Continental Computer Corp., a privately held corporation based in Jonesboro, Ark. The company has been providing high-quality management software to the funeral industry since 1985. Software Magazine has consistently ranked Continental one of the top 500 software companies in the world. The company's best- selling product, The Director's Assistant for Windows, is in use in about 5,000 funeral homes nationwide and dominates its niche with about 80 percent of the market for funeral home management software.

For more information, visit or call 202-835-0203 or 1-800-874-1413.
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Title Annotation:Company Business and Marketing
Publication:Online Product News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2001

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