|Headquarters||Provo, Utah, US|
|Key people||Tim Sullivan, President/CEO|
Family Tree Maker software
|Revenue||US$399.7 million (2011)|
|Owner(s)||Permira and co-investors|
|Employees||Over 1,000 worldwide (2012)|
Ancestry.com Inc., formerly The Generations Network, is a privately held Internet company based in Provo, Utah, United States. The largest for-profit genealogy company in the world, it operates a network of genealogical and historical record websites focused on the United States and nine foreign countries, develops and markets genealogical software, and offers a wide array of genealogical related services. As of December 2013, the company provided access to approximately 12.7 billion records and had 2.14 million paying subscribers. User-generated content included 191 million uploaded photos and more than 16 million uploaded stories.
In addition to its flagship site, Ancestry.com operates Archives.com, Fold3.com, ProGenealogists,1000memories.com, Newspapers.com, Genealogy.com, MyFamily.com, and Rootsweb.com. Family Tree Maker software developed and marketed by the company is advertised as "the #1 selling family history software".
Under its subsidiaries, Ancestry.com operates foreign sites that provide access to services and records specific to other countries in the languages of those countries. These include several countries in Europe (covered by Ancestry.com Europe S.à r.l.) as well as Australia, Canada, and China.
In 1990, Paul B. Allen and Dan Taggart, two Brigham Young University graduates, founded Infobases and began offering Latter-day Saints (LDS) publications on floppy disks. Allen's brother Curt and his brother-in-law Brad Pelo had founded Folio Corporation, where Paul Allen had worked in 1988. Infobases chose to use the Folio infobase technology which Allen was familiar with as the basis for their products.
The first products were floppy disks and compact disks sold from the back seat of their car. In 1994 Infobases was named among Inc. magazine's 500 fastest-growing companies. Their first offering on CD was the LDS Collectors Edition, released in April 1995, selling for $299.95, which was offered in an on-line version in August 1995.
On 1 January 1997, Infobases' parent company, Western Standard Publishing, purchased Ancestry, Inc., publisher of Ancestry magazine and genealogy books. Founded in 1983 by John Sittner as a genealogy newsletter, Ancestry magazine had been launched in January 1994. Western Standard Publishing's CEO was Joe Cannon, one of the principal owners of Geneva Steel.
In July 1997, Allen and Taggart purchased Western Standard's interest in Ancestry, Inc. At the time, Brad Pelo was president and CEO of Infobases, and president of Western Standard. Less than six months earlier, he had been president of Folio Corporation, whose digital technology Infobases was using. In March 1997, Folio was sold to Open Market for $45 million. The first public evidence of the change in ownership of Ancestry Magazine came with the July/August 1997 issue, which showed a newly reorganized Ancestry, Inc., as its publisher. That issue's masthead also included the first use of the Ancestry.com web address.
More growth for Infobases occurred in July 1997 when Ancestry, Inc., purchased Bookcraft, Inc., a publisher of books written by leaders and officers of the LDS Church. Infobases had published many of Bookcraft's books as part of its LDS Collector's Library. Pelo also announced that Ancestry's product line would be greatly expanded in both CDs and online. Alan Ashton, a longtime investor in Infobases, and founder of WordPerfect, was its chairman of the board. Allen and Taggart began running Ancestry, Inc. independently from Infobases in July 1997, and began creating one of the largest online subscription-based genealogy database services.
In April 1999, to better focus on its Ancestry.com and MyFamily.com Internet businesses, Infobases sold the Bookcraft brand name and its catalog of print books to its major competitor in the LDS book market, Deseret Book. Included in the sale were the rights to Infobases's LDS Collector's Library on CD. A year earlier, Deseret Book had released a competing product called GospeLink, and the two products were combined as a single product by Deseret Book.
The MyFamily.com website launched in December 1998, with additional free sites beginning in March 1999. The site generated one million registered users within its first 140 days. The company raised more than US$90 million in venture capital from investors and changed its name on 17 November 1999 from Ancestry.com, Inc. to MyFamily.com, Inc. Its three Internet genealogy sites were then called Ancestry.com, MyFamily.com, and FamilyHistory.com. Sales for 2002 were about US$62 million, and those for 2003 were US$99 million.
In March 2004, the company opened a new call center in Provo as a result of outgrowing their old call center in Orem. The new call center accommodates about 700 agents at a time. Heritage Makers was acquired by MyFamily.com in September 2005, and sold a year later in August 2006. The Ancestry.ca website was opened on 24 January 2006. In March 2006, MyFamily opened a new office in Bellevue, Washington, as part of the MyFamily business unit. Encounter Technologies was acquired in April 2006.
On 19 December 2006, the company changed its name to "The Generations Network." While the company had been offering free access to Ancestry.com at LDS Family History Centers, that service was terminated on 17 March 2007 because of the inability to reach a mutually agreeable licensing agreement between TGN and the LDS Church. In 2010, Ancestry restored access to its site at Family History Centers.
On 6 July 2009, the company changed its name to "Ancestry.com".
In 2010, Ancestry sold its book publishing assets to Turner Publishing. In the same year, the company discontinued the publication of Ancestry Magazine, after 25 years of publication and Genealogical Computing.
Ancestry.com became a publicly traded company on NASDAQ (symbol: ACOM) on 5 November 2009 with an initial public offering of 7.4 million shares priced at $13.50 per share underwritten by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Jefferies & Company, Piper Jaffray, and BMO Capital Markets.
In 2010, Ancestry.com expanded its location to San Francisco, California, starting its office in San Francisco with brand new engineering, product, and marketing teams. The San Francisco office is geared toward developing some of Ancestry's cutting-edge technology and services. Some of their recent initiatives include iPhone and iPad application development.
In December 2011, Ancestry.com moved the Social Security Death Index search behind a paywall and stopped displaying the Social Security information of people who had died within the past 10 years because of identity theft concerns.
In September 2012, Ancestry.com expanded its international operations with the opening of its European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. The Dublin office includes a new call centre for international customers, as well as product, marketing and engineering teams.
In October 2012, Ancestry.com agreed to be acquired by a private equity group consisting of Permira Advisers LLP, members of Ancestry.com's management team, including CEO Tim Sullivan and CFO Howard Hochhauser, and Spectrum Equity for $32 per share or around $1.6 billion. At the same time, Ancestry.com purchased a photo digitization and sharing service called 1000Memories.
In September 2013, Ancestry.com announced its acquisition of Find a Grave. A month later, the company announced it had purchased the family history records of South African genealogy website Ancestry24 which ceased operating in February 2013.
Products and services
Ancestry.com is a subscription-based genealogy research website with over 5 billion records online. The majority of records are from the United States, though records are being added for other countries, such as Canada, the UK, and European countries. Some records are free for anyone to access, but the majority are accessible only by paid subscription.
For genetic genealogy, Ancestry.com offers genealogical DNA tests of autosomal DNA, paternal Y-chromosome DNA and maternal mitochondrial DNA. As of June, 2014, Ancestry.com has discontinued its paternal Y-chromosome DNA and maternal mitochondrial DNA tests and only carries an autosomal DNA test.
Site users and traffic
In the first quarter of 2012, Ancestry had 1.87 million users. According to Quantcast, as of April 2012, Ancestry.com reached a rough estimate of 8.3 – 8.4 million people in the US. In the second quarter of 2014, Ancestry had 2.11 million users, for a loss of 52,000 subscribers when compared to the first quarter of 2014.
FindAGrave.com – On September 30, 2013, Ancestry.com announced its acquisition of Find a Grave. Site editor Jim Tipton said of the purchase that Ancestry.com had, "...been linking and driving traffic to the site for several years. Burial information is a wonderful source for people researching their family history....” Ancestry.com planned to bolster the resources dedicated to Find a Grave to "...launch a new mobile app, improve customer support, introduce an enhanced edit system for submitting updates to memorials, foreign-language support, and other site improvements."
Fold3 is a subscription-based website specializing in historical military records primarily from the United States. It also has a large collection of documents dealing with the United States, city directories, and newspapers. Some record sets are free but the majority are accessible only by paid subscription. The website was originally named Footnote.com and independently owned when it launched in 2007. Footnote.com was acquired by Ancestry.com in fall 2010.  As part of the acquisition, Footnote.com was later rebranded as Fold3 in an effort to focus on military records.
Genealogy.com is a genealogy research website with some records not found on Ancestry.com, though the total number of records available is smaller. Genealogy.com was acquired from A&E Networks by MyFamily.com in 2003.
MyFamily.com allows members to create private family or group websites. Customization is limited. The 1998 version is still available but no further enhancements are planned. After three years of a beta release 2.0, it is running the first non-beta release, "MyFamily.com 2.5.3". However, since the architecture was changed so radically from 2.0 to 2.5, internally at MyFamily all references to v2.5 are actually being called v3.0. Users of version 3.0 (aka 2.5) last saw an update to the code in February 2010, so since that date both v1.0 and v3.0 have been 'frozen'. Migration services from v1.0 to v3.0 were stopped on 21 March 2010 with no reason given. Many features of the original version of the site have not yet been ported to this release, although new features such as video support, blog support, social group interface, and unlimited storage have been introduced. Also in May 2010, MyFamily closed their Bellevue, Washington, development office, effectively letting their entire staff go since the offer to move to Provo, Utah, was not accepted by any staff. Since the loss of the Washington office, no new features have been added nor have any current problems or bugs been resolved. As of July 2010, free sites on v3.0 were discontinued. On June 4, 2014, Ancestry.com announced that myfamily.com will be shut down on September 5, 2014. Members were informed they could download zip files of their data if they desired. As of June 25, 2014, MyFamily has not yet resolved discontent with the downloading process, which consists of capturing miscellaneous uncatalogued photos with alphanumeric names and no data attached, and various calendar documents, thus leaving behind the associated data, File Cabinet documents, family recipes, and other information.
Newspapers.com, is a subscription-based website launched in November of 2012, provides access to historical newspapers, mostly from the United States, for genealogical and historical research.
RootsWeb was acquired by MyFamily.com in June 2000. RootsWeb is a free genealogy community that uses online forums, mailing lists, and other resources to help people research their family history. Founded in 1993 by Brian Leverich and Karen Isaacson as the Roots Surname List, it is the oldest free online community genealogy research site. Users can upload GEDCOM files of their information for others to search at the WorldConnect portion of the site. Trees uploaded to WorldConnect are searchable at both the RootsWeb and Ancestry websites.
ProGenealogists.com is the official Ancestry.com research firm.
Family Tree Maker
|Original author(s)||Kenneth Lafferty Hess|
|Stable release||2012 (29 Sept 2011)|
|Operating system||Windows, Mac|
Family Tree Maker (FTM) is advertised as "the #1 selling family history software". As with other genealogy software, FTM allows the researcher to keep track of information collected during research and to create reports, charts, and books containing that information. The software was originally developed by Kenneth Hess of Banner Blue Software, which was purchased by Brøderbund in 1995. It passed through the hands of The Learning Company, Mattel, and others before coming under its current ownership.
A redesigned Family Tree Maker 2008 was released on 14 August 2007. The 2009 version of the program corrected some of the errors and omissions of its predecessor, and introduced a few new features. Family Tree Maker 2010 claims to further enhance the radical re-design and be more powerful and feature-packed with faster navigation and quicker load times.
A version for the Mac was released in 1997, but due to low market demand was discontinued for over a decade. A new version of Family Tree Maker for Mac was finally released on 4 November 2010.
FTM version history
Please press show for more information on past versions.
Past genealogy programs.
- Family Origins
- Generations Family Tree (Originally called Reunion for Windows)
- Ultimate Family Tree (UFT)
- ROOTS software series by CommSoft was one of the first publishers of series of genealogy software programs, created in the 1980s, and available until 1997. Commsoft released the following, ROOTS89 for the Heath H-8 series of personal computers, ROOTS/M for the CP/M operating system, ROOTS II for MS-DOS, followed by ROOTS III and ROOTS IV. The company also released ROOTS V for Windows along with Visual ROOTS for Microsoft Windows.
Ancestry.com is partnered with ProQuest LLC. ProQuest distributes Ancestry Library Edition worldwide to public and academic libraries, K-12 schools, and other institutions.
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- not to be confused with Microsoft cofounder Paul G. Allen
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- Kennedy, John Fintan (11 July 2012). "Ancestry.com to create 50 new jobs at international HQ in Dublin". Silicon Republic. Retrieved 1 August 2013. "Ancestry.com’s Dublin employees will include staff working within management and finance functions, as well as website developers and member service agents."
- Flanagan, Peter (23 October 2012). "Genealogy giant sold for €1.2bn months after Dublin move". Irish Independent. Retrieved 1 August 2013. "It set up in Ireland last year but in July confirmed it would open its European headquarters on Sir John Rogerson's Quay in Dublin, and started taking on around 35 staff from September."
- "Ancestry.com Acquired by Private Equity Group for $1.6 Billion". The Descrier. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
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- "Genealogical site digitizes millions of census records". CNN. 22 June 2006. Retrieved 23 June 2006.[dead link]
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- Hess, Kenneth Lafferty. "Home page of Kenneth Lafferty Hess". Archived from the original on 29 January 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2010. "During the 1990s I popularized computer genealogy by designing, developing, and selling the Family Tree Maker product line"
- Family Tree Maker: 20-Year Anniversary!, Posted by Tana L. Pedersen on 29 September 2011 in Ancestry.com Site, Company News, Family Tree Maker
- Family Tree Maker 2012 Is Here!, Posted by Michelle Pfister, 19 August 2009, Family Tree Maker, Ancestry.com Blog
- "FamilyTreeMaker.com". Retrieved 30 March 2013.
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- "Family Tree Maker 2010 Feature List". ancestry.com. 24 April 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2010.[dead link]
- "Is Family Tree Maker available for the Macintosh?". Retrieved 26 December 2006.
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- "2006 Codie Awards Winners". Software & Information Industry Association. Archived from the original on 4 July 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2010.
- Family Tree Maker: 20-Year Anniversary!, Posted by Michelle Pfister on 11 December 2009 in Family Tree Maker
- Re: FTM and GEDCOM:, From: <skpjan@...>, Date: Fri, Jul 14, 1995, RootsWeb: GENCMP-L
- Discover and Preserve Your Family History With New Version 3.0 of Family Tree Maker., Oct 24, 1995, Publication: Business Wire – Free Online Library
- Re: Improvements from 3.0 – 3.02, From: Paul Burchfield, Date:Aug 15, 1996, RootsWeb: GENCMP-L
- Upgrade for FTM 3.0, 16 bit application compatible with Win95, From:John McGarvey, Date: 1996/02/09, alt.genealogy
- GEDCOM from Family Tree Maker, From:Paul Burchfield, Date: 1996/10/07, Exporting from Family Tree Maker for DOS uses the Data Exchange Utility. The DEU ships with Family Tree Maker version 3 and 4 for DOS. It had to be purchased separately for earlier versions., alt.genealogy
- Beginning with this version every copy of Family Tree Maker for Windows came with both a Windows 95 (32-bit) and Windows 3.1x (16-bit) version.
- Liste des applications testées sous Windows 95 – F et G - Family Tree Maker 2.0 (Windows floppies) Banner Blue Software<-- REMARQUE(S): Version 2.0 may not run correctly if taskbar setting is Always On Top. Windows 95 Help contains information for obtaining an update from the manufacturer. Family Tree Maker 3.0 (DOS) Banner Blue Software REMARQUE(S): The installation program may appear to stall after the first screen, but it is checking drives for previous copies of FTM.EXE, including network drives, and will resume after the check is complete. Family Tree Maker Deluxe 2.0 (Windows CD) Banner Blue Software REMARQUE(S): Program won't run when taskbar set to Always On Top. Windows 95 Help automatically provides a solution. -->
- Re: FTM 6.0 and NT?, From: Paul Burchfield, Date: 31 March 1999, RootsWeb: GENCMP-L
- Family Tree Maker Deluxe Edition II for Macintosh Mac Enthusiasts Can Now Preserve and Organize Their Family History With The No. 1-Selling Family Tree Program. BUSINESS WIRE 4 February 1997
- Family Tree Maker Deluxe Edition II for McIntosh/5 CD-ROMs, by Broderbund, Platform: Mac, amazon.com
- GENEALOGY SOFTWARE: Use Your Mac to Find Your Roots, reprint of January 1998 MacWorld article
- ? Mac Genealogy Software, alt.genealogy, from Google Groups
- Message from discussion MAC update Family Tree Maker?, alt.genealogy, from Google Groups
- Technical Support for Family Tree Maker for Macintosh, genealogy.com
- Family Tree Maker for Macintosh; No. 1-Selling Family Tree Program Will Make It Simple for Mac Enthusiasts to Preserve and Organize Their Family History, BUSINESS WIRE, 21 October 1996
- Message from discussion Announce: v3.4 Family Tree Maker for Windows, alt.genealogy, from Google Groups
- Message from discussion Family Tree Maker 3.4, alt.genealogy, from Google Groups
- Message from discussion Upgrade history of some genealogy software, alt.genealogy, from Google Groups
- Are There Any Downloadable Updates to Family Tree Maker?, http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com
- Family Tree Maker Version 4.0b Update, familytreemaker.com archived by archive.org
- Family Tree Maker File Fixer Update, http://familytreemaker.genealogy.com
- COMING SOON! Family Tree Maker(R) Version 4.4 for Windows!, WISEMAN-L Archives, archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com
- The No. 1-selling Family Tree Software for Nearly a Decade, Broderbund's Family Tree Maker is Now Better Than Ever, BUSINESS WIRE, 8 July 1998
- Message from discussion Family Tree Maker 5 Upgrade, alt.genealogy, Google Groups
- Message from discussion FTM 5 second patch coming, alt.genealogy, Google Groups
- Re: transferring version 6.0 1999 to use with windows vista, boards.ancestry.com
- Does FTM work with Windows NT?, GENCMP-L Archives, archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com
- http://www.ancestry.com/learn/library/article.aspx?article=1447#3[not in citation given]
- Ask Technical Services — March 2000, #2. Moveable Boxes — Family Tree Maker 7.5 Gives You Control of Your Tree, familytreemaker.genealogy.com
- http://www.ancestry.com/learn/library/article.aspx?article=2438#4[not in citation given]
- Genealogy.com Ships New Version 8.0 of Its Top-Rated Family Tree Maker(R) Software, PRNewswire, 19 September 2000
- http://www.ancestry.com/learn/library/article.aspx?article=4704[not in citation given]
- Broderbund Partners With A&E Television Networks and Genealogy.com To Launch Family Tree Maker(R) Version 9 – The #1 Software for Building A Family Legacy, PRNewswire, 3 October 2001
- Family Tree Maker Version 9.0 Update, genealogy.com
- Broderbund Ships Family Tree Maker Deluxe Version 10 #1 Selling Genealogy Software Program, BUSINESS WIRE, Oct 1, 2002, as found at findarticles.com
- Broderbund Ships Family Tree Maker Deluxe Version 10 – #1 Selling Genealogy Software Program, BUSINESS WIRE, Oct 1, 2002, as found at thefreelibrary.com
- Re: FTM Version Question, boards.ancestry.com[not in citation given]
- Broderbund Teams with MyFamily.com to Launch Family Tree Maker(R) Version 11 – the #1 Selling Genealogy Software Program, PRNewswire, 29 September 2003
- Message from discussion Family Tree Maker version question, alt.genealogy, Google Groups
- Encore, MyFamily.com Ship Family Tree Maker(R) 2005 – The #1 Selling Genealogy Software Program, PRNewswire, 23 September 2004
- How can I delete duplicate media items?, boards.ancestry.com
- Family Tree Maker 2006 Hits Retail Markets, PRNewswire, 12 September 2005
- Family Tree Maker 2006 Updates and Downloads, past.familytreemaker.com
- Family Tree Maker Version 16, Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, 18 August 2006.
- Ancestry.com Releases Completely Redesigned Family Tree Maker 2008, No. 1 Selling Family Tree Software, PRNewswire, Aug 14, 2007, as found at ancestry.com's Press Releases page
- Ancestry.com Releases Completely Redesigned Family Tree Maker 2008, No. 1 Selling Family Tree Software, PRNewswire, Aug 14, 2007, as found at thefreelibrary.com
- Family Tree Maker 2008 Program Updates are Now Available, familytreemaker.com
- Family Tree Maker 2009 Release, by Russell Hannig, 28 August 2008, at http://blogs.ancestry.com
- Family Tree Maker 2009 – Program Updates Help, familytreemaker.com
- New Ancestry.com Family Tree Maker 2010 Software Adds News Storytelling and Organizational Tools, 19 August 2009 Press Release, Ancestry.com
- Family Tree Maker: The New Version 2010, by Michelle Pfister, 19 August 2009, at http://blogs.ancestry.com
- Family Tree Maker 2010 – Program Updates, familytreemaker.com
- Family Tree Maker 2011 is here!, by Tana L. Pedersen on 31 August 2010, at http://blogs.ancestry.com
- Family Tree Maker 2011 – Program Updates, familytreemaker.com
- Family Tree Maker for Mac is Here!, by Tana L. Pedersen on 4 November 2010 at http://blogs.ancestry.com
- Family Tree Maker for Mac is back, 4 November 2010, tamurajones.net
- Family Tree Maker 2010 for mac won't load or continually crashes. What can I do?, Ancestry.com
- Family Tree Maker 2010 for Mac Version 188.8.131.52, 22 January 2011, MacGenealogy.org
- Family Tree Maker 2012 Is Here!, by Tana L. Pedersen on 29 September 2011, at http://blogs.ancestry.com
- Available Now: Family Tree Maker version 2014, Ancestry.com
- Just Released: Family Tree Maker Mac 3!, Ancestry.com
- 20 November 2009 RootsMagic Essentials, Modern Software Experience
- Family Origins Newsletter, This will probably be the last issue of the Family Origins newsletter (I hear a lot of you saying "I thought you stopped writing it a long time ago <g>). As many of you know, we (FormalSoft) have been working on a new genealogy program called RootsMagic which we released in February 2002. Many of you have been using Family Origins since we first licensed it to Parsons Technology over 12 years ago. You have gone through all the company changes with us (Parsons, Intuit, Broderbund, The Learning Co. , Mattel, Genealogy.com)...As of January 2003, Genealogy.com has discontinued our Family Origins program...
- Genealogy.com Buys Generations, Dick Eastman Online, 25 July 2002 – Archive, Ancestry.com
- Family Origins Discontinued, By Kimberly Powell, About.com
- Genealogy.com Adds Generations to its Genealogy Software Product Line, 25 June 2002, Genealogy.com[dead link][Archive copy at the Wayback Machine
- Ultimate Family Tree (UFT), by Palladium Interactive, Inc.
- Archive copy at the Wayback Machine
- ROOTS, by CommSoft (Herb Drake/Howard Nurse)
- familysearch website