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Friday, August 31, 2012

The Scorecard -- Who owns what in genealogy

In the past, I have written a series of articles on the commercial genealogy companies and who owns what in the genealogical community. This turns out to be a rapidly evolving area. You may think, so what? Who cares? But the concern is that huge blocks of genealogically valuable resources are being traded back and forth like a commodity. In the worst case, you may find yourself subscribed to a genealogy database that evaporates overnight because it was sold to a different company and your subscription is of little value. In the best case, some of the marginal sites will be improved by the acquisitions and partnerships.

It remains to be seen what effect this large scale aggregation of resources will have on the overall availability of genealogical records, but it is a good idea to become acquainted with the players and their relationships in the commercial world. So, here it goes in no special order:

Ancestry.com
For the time being, Ancestry.com, the first on the list is still owned by Spectrum Equity. For a full discussion of the ownership, see my previous post on Who owns the genealogy companies? I say, for the time being, because Ancestry.com is for sale. There hasn't been a lot of news recently, but there are reports as late as 24 July, 2012 that a deal is in the works.

So what does Ancestry.com own? Here is a list from their website that does not include some recent acquisitions and partnerships:
In addition, Ancestry.com just finished purchasing Archives.com.  They also have an agreement with FindAGrave.com, with an index on the Ancestry.com website.

FamilySearch.org
What you see is what you get on FamilySearch.org. They do have several partnerships, including BillionGraves.com. FamilySearch.org has strategic agreements (partnerships) with a huge number of organizations. But since it does not own other websites, it is not really a contender in the commercial expansion of genealogy.

MyHeritage.com
In addition to its flagship website, MyHeritage.com now owns the following:

Also MyHeritage.com has a partnership with the 1000memories app.

brightsolid.com
The owner of findmypast.com is brightsolid.com. For a list of their interests see my post on "Even more on updating who owns the genealogy companies."

OK, one thing I will say before I get another weird comment from some reader is this: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not own Ancestry.com. Ancestry.com is a publicly traded company and is ultimately owned by its shareholders. Genealogy is not a Mormon conspiracy.

6 comments:


  1. James, I believe there are major errors in your list of holdings that are owned by My Heritage- see notes in list below:

    MyHeritage.com
    In addition to its flagship website, MyHeritage.com now owns the following:

    WorldVitalRecords.com which has a huge number of existing content partnerships including:
    NewspaperArchive.com
    findmypast.com- Isn't this owned by brightsolid?? !!
    Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
    QuintinPublications.com
    Small Town Papers
    Archive CD Books Australia
    Archive CD Books Canada
    Archive CD Books USA-I thought this was owned by Wholly Genes/TMG/Bob Velke
    e-Yearbook.com
    Genealogical.com
    Everton Publishers
    Godfrey Memorial Library
    Simmons Historical Publications
    Eneclann
    British Origins
    FindAGrave.com- Since when??
    Ellis Island
    Anguline Research Archives

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    1. If you look at the WorldVitalRecords website, you will find a list of these "partnerships" under a link called content partners. They state "This collaborative approach has enabled us to partner with more than 40 different major content providers from around the world.
      Click here to see these valued partnerships"

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  2. Ancestry.com also owns Fold3.com which was formerly known as footnote.com. They bought footnote.com almost two years ago, if I'm not mistaken, so I wonder why they don't have that on their list. I was not aware that they have an agreement with FindAGrave.com nor that Ancestry.com is for sale! Thanks for the interesting post!

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    Replies
    1. Yep, you are right. I forgot to add in Fold3.com.

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  3. What is your source that MyHeritage owns FindAGrave?

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    1. I think you need to reread what I wrote. WorldVitalRecords lists its partnerships and includes FindAGrave.com as a partner. See my comment above.

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