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Paul Brent Allen |
Margo Georgiadis (CEO) |
Howard Hochauser (CFO/COO, acting CEO)
|Revenue||US$683.1 million (2015)|
Ancestry.com LLC is a privately held online company based in Lehi, Utah. The largest for-profit genealogy company in the world, it operates a network of genealogical, historical record and genetic genealogy websites.
As of June 2014, the company claims to provide access to approximately 16 billion historical records, and have over 2 million paying subscribers and, as of February 2018, more than seven million AncestryDNA customers.
On January 1, 1997, Infobases' parent company, Western Standard Publishing, purchased Ancestry, Inc., publisher of Ancestry magazine and genealogy books. Western Standard Publishing's CEO was Joe Cannon, one of the principal owners of Geneva Steel.
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. In 1988, Allen had worked at Folio Corporation, founded by his brother Curt and his brother-in-law Brad Pelo.
Infobases' first products were floppy disks and compact disks sold from the back seat of the founders' 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 online version in August 1995. Ancestry officially went online with the launch of Ancestry.com in 1996.
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' LDS Collectors 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 November 17, 1999, from Ancestry.com, Inc. to MyFamily.com, Inc. Its three Internet genealogy sites were then called Ancestry.com, FamilyHistory.com, and MyFamily.com. Sales were about US$62 million for 2002 and US$99 million for 2003.
In March 2004, the company, which had outgrown its call center in Orem, Utah, opened a new call center, which accommodates about 700 agents at a time, in Provo. Heritage Makers was acquired by MyFamily.com in September 2005.
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 TGN and the LDS Church were unable to reach a mutually agreeable licensing agreement. In 2010, Ancestry restored access to its site at Family History Centers.
Ancestry.com became a publicly traded company on NASDAQ (symbol: ACOM) on November 5, 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 domestic operations with the opening of an office in San Francisco, California, staffed with brand new engineering, product, and marketing teams geared toward developing some of Ancestry's cutting-edge technology and services. In 2011, Ancestry launched an Android and iOS app.
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.
On July 16, 2015, Ancestry launched AncestryHealth, and announced the appointment of Cathy A. Petti as its Chief Health Officer.
In April 2016 GIC Private Limited (a sovereign wealth fund owned by the Government of Singapore) and Silver Lake (a private equity fund manager) bought equity stakes in Ancestry.com. The estimated market value of Ancestry.com in 2017 was more than $3 billion.
AncestryDNA is a subsidiary of Ancestry LLC. AncestryDNA offers a direct-to-consumer genealogical DNA test. Consumers provide a sample of their DNA to the company for analysis. AncestryDNA then uses DNA sequences to infer family relationships with other Ancestry DNA users and to provide what it calls an "ethnicity estimate". Previously, Ancestry.com also offered paternal Y-chromosome DNA and maternal mitochondrial DNA tests, but those were discontinued in June 2014. The company describes the technical process of testing in a scientific white paper. More than seven million customers had purchased the test by February 2018.
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 launched a mobile app in March 2014.
RootsWeb, acquired by Ancestry in June 2000, is a free genealogy community that uses online forums, mailing lists, and other resources to help people research their family history. 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.
On December 20, 2017, a file containing 300,000 RootsWeb user names, passwords, and email addresses was exposed to the internet. The 300,000 records were from RootsWeb surname list service with 55,000 of those records were also Ancestry.com login credentials.
In 2012 Ancestry spun off its digitized online newspaper components into a standalone service newspapers.com with newspaper.com only pricing as well as a bundled Ancestry.com pricing.
Before the newspapers.com launch, Ancestry.com acquired the following newspaper-oriented components, including scanning and digital technologies and posting on the web:
- Iarchives (and its footnote.com service) acquired in 2010 for 1.022 million Common Stock shares. The purchase brought in assets including processes for digitalizing documents on microfilm. Footnote would be rebranded Fold3 in 2011.
- Archives.com acquired for $100 million in 2012. As of 30 June 2018 the archive claimed its index comprised online newspapers dating from 1700 worldwide, covering 8,600+ newspapers, a total of 394,957,981 pages.
The website's principal competitor is newspaperarchive.com which claims it has online newspapers dating from 1607 worldwide and its index in June 2018 includes 9,829 newspapers. Both websites having similar models for increasing their databases: striking deals with libraries, publishers and historical organizations to scan the publications for free to include in their database. Participants note that the process of free scanning is easier, cheaper and quicker to get their publications online rather than working through the government operated National Digital Newspaper Program.
Past genealogy programs.
- Ancestry Family Tree (Ancestral Quest by Incline Software, licensed by Ancestry.com in 2001 and branded for their use as Ancestry Family Tree. Available for free from Ancestry.com from 2001 to 2003.)
- 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.
- Family Tree Maker, sold in 2017.
- Genealogy.com - Genealogy.com maintains a genealogy research website. Genealogy.com was acquired by subsequently by MyFamily.com in 2003.
- MyFamily.com - allowed members to create private family, or group, websites. Also in May 2010, MyFamily closed its Bellevue, Washington, development office, effectively letting its entire staff go since the offer to move to Provo was not accepted by any staff. Ancestry shut down MyFamily.com on September 5, 2014. At the shutdown, MyFamily had not resolved discontent with the downloading process, which consisted 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 all other information.
In 2015 Ancestry partnered with Calico, a subsidiary of Google, to focus on longevity research and therapeutics, in an effort to investigate human heredity of lifespan. Together, they evaluated anonymized data from millions of public family trees and a growing database of over one million genetic samples. AncestryDNA and Calico worked together to analyze and investigate the role of genetics and its influences in families experiencing unusual longevity using Ancestry's proprietary databases, tools and algorithms. Calico planned to focus its efforts on developing and commercializing any potential therapeutics that emerge from the analysis.
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- not to be confused with Microsoft cofounder Paul G. Allen
- Walker, Joseph (11 June 2000). "Backing into a lucrative business". Deseret News. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
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- "Happily joined". Deseret News. 5 April 1998.
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- "Acquisition of Bookcraft finalized". Deseret News. 1 April 1999.
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- Ancestry.com buys GeneTree and launches new service Accessed 24 Jan 2013
- 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.
- "Ancestry.com Acquires Photo Digitization And Sharing Service 1000memories". TechCrunch. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
- "Ancestry.com launches health website, positions itself as budding 23andMe competitor". MobiHealthNews. 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2016-05-11.
- Or, Amy (2016-04-05). "Permira trebles money by selling Ancestry stake to Silver Lake, GIC". Financial News. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
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- "23andme relaunches its expanded DNA spit tests after FDA-mandated pause". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2016-05-11.
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- "The Ancestry Insider: Ancestry.com Releases Find-A-Grave App". www.ancestryinsider.org. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
- "Exposed File From Ancestry's RootsWeb.com Contains Data on 300,000 Users". Dark Reading. Retrieved 2017-12-28.
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- Author Kate Theimer (2011-08-19). "News: Footnote is now Fold3. Does that make sense to you? Me neither. And we're not alone – ArchivesNext". Archivesnext.com. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
- "Ancestry.com Acquires Archives.com For $100 Million – TechCrunch". Techcrunch.com. 2012-04-25. Retrieved 2018-04-04.
- "Home page". newspapers.com. Ancestry. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
- "NewspaperArchive® | Genealogy & Family History Records". Newspaperarchive.com. Retrieved 2018-06-30.
- Jim Epstein (May 18, 2014). "A Retiree Digitizes 27 Million Old Newspaper Pages in His Living Room (and Libraries Fight to Catch Up) - Hit & Run". Reason.com. Retrieved 2018-03-31.
-  this book also includes Ancestry Family Tree, free family history software from 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..."
- Family Origins Discontinued, By Kimberly Powell, About.com
- Genealogy.com Buys Generations, Dick Eastman Online, 25 July 2002 – Archive, Ancestry.com
- Genealogy.com Adds Generations to its Genealogy Software Product Line, 25 June 2002, Genealogy.com [ Archived December 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Ultimate Family Tree (UFT), by Palladium Interactive, Inc.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 20, 2002. Retrieved 2002-06-20.
- ROOTS, by CommSoft (Herb Drake/Howard Nurse)
- "Acquisition of Genealogy.com". April 18, 2003. Archived from the original on April 14, 2006. Retrieved December 26, 2006.
- Christian, Jon (2015-04-23). "Deleting the Family Tree". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2016-05-18.
- Deleting the Family Tree -- When Ancestry.com shuttered its social network for relatives, it erased 10 years' worth of my family's correspondence and memories., by Jon Christian, at Slate; published April 23, 2015; retrieved April 27, 2015
- Ramsey, Lydia (2015-07-22). "Google is on a mission to figure out how and why we age". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018-05-31.
- Bergen, Mark (2015-07-26). "The Long Game: Google-Backed Calico Partners With Ancestry to Beat the Specter of Aging". Recode. Retrieved 2016-05-18.