Ancestry.com LLC is a privately held online company based in Lehi,
Utah, United States. 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.[non-primary source needed] The company
also claims that its user-generated content tallies to more than 70
million family trees, and that subscribers have added more than 200
million photographs, scanned documents, and written
stories.[non-primary source needed]
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 Australia, China,
Japan, Brazil, New Zealand, the
United Kingdom and several other
countries in Europe and Asia.[non-primary source needed]
1.5 Past products
2 Site users and traffic
4 See also
6 External links
With its roots as a genealogy newsletter started in 1983 by John
Sittner, Ancestry, Inc. became an established publishing company in
1984. Ancestry was relaunched as a magazine in January
1994, and went online in 1996. 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.
Ancestry.com headquarters in Provo, Utah
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. The Ancestry.ca website was opened
on 24 January 2006.[non-primary source needed] In March 2006,
MyFamily opened a new office in Bellevue, Washington, as part of the
MyFamily business unit.[non-primary source needed] Encounter
Technologies was acquired in April 2006.[non-primary source
By 2006[update], the
Ancestry.com database contained information on
500 million people, information from every U.S. census record from
1790 to 1930.[non-primary source needed] On December 19, 2006, the
company changed its name to "The Generations Network."[non-primary
source needed] 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.
On July 6, 2009, the company changed its name to
"Ancestry.com".[non-primary source needed]
In 2010, Ancestry sold its book publishing assets to Turner Publishing
Company. In the same year,
Ancestry.com discontinued the
publication of Ancestry, after 25 years of publication, and
Genealogical Computing.[non-primary source needed]
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.
Ancestry.com continued its partnership with
NBC for the Who Do You
Think You Are? television series in 2011. The television show went
into its ninth season in 2017.[non-primary source needed]
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 March 2012,
Ancestry.com acquired the collection of DNA assets from
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.[non-primary source needed] A month later, the company
announced it had purchased the family history records of the South
African genealogy website Ancestry24, which ceased operating in
February 2013.[non-primary source needed]
On July 16, 2015, Ancestry launched AncestryHealth, and announced the
appointment of Cathy A. Petti as it's Chief Health Officer.
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."
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.
Main article: Find a Grave
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
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. Founded in 1993 by Brian
Leverich and Karen Isaacson as the Roots Surname List, it is the
oldest free online community genealogy research site.[non-primary
source needed] 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. RootsWeb provides resources (such as webspace,
mailing list, message boards) for the
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
Prior to 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. Newspapers.com is now housed at
Iarchives address in Lindon, Utah.
Archives.com acquired for $100 million acquisition earlier in 2012 of
Archives.com which offered newspapers in its offering.
The website's principal competitor is newspaperarchive.com which
claims it has online newspapers dating from 1607 worldwide and claims
its index in March 2018 includes 9,222 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 process of free scanning is easier, cheaper and quicker to get
their publications online rather 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[non-primary source needed]
Generations Family Tree (Originally called "Reunion for
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
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, started in 1989 with the creation and marketing of the
Family Tree Maker software. Genealogy.com maintains a genealogy
research website with some records not found on Ancestry.com, though
the total number of records available is smaller. As of 2001[update],
Genealogy.com was noted as being Ancestry.com's greatest
competitor. Genealogy.com was acquired by A&E Networks in
February 2001, and subsequently by MyFamily.com in 2003.
Genealogy.com was rendered defunt on September 30,
2014.[non-primary source needed]
MyFamily.com - allowed members to create private family, or group,
websites. Customization was limited. After three years of a beta
release 2.0, it was 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. Migration services from v1.0 to v3.0 were stopped
on 21 March 2010 with no reason given.[non-primary source needed]
Many features of the original version of the site were not ported to
release v3.0, although new features such as video support, blog
support, social group interface, and unlimited storage were
introduced.[non-primary source needed] Also in May 2010, MyFamily
closed its Bellevue, Washington, development office, effectively
letting its entire staff go since the offer to move to Provo, Utah,
was not accepted by any staff. Ancestry shut down MyFamily.com on
September 5, 2014. Members were informed they could download zip
files of their data if they desired.[non-primary source needed] 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.
Site users and traffic
In mid-2001, Medill News Service reported the
Ancestry.com had more
than 350,000 subscribers.[non-primary source needed]
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
Ancestry is partnered with Calico, a company focused on longevity
research and therapeutics, in an effort to investigate human heredity
of lifespan. Together, they evaluate anonymized data from millions of
public family trees and a growing database of over one million genetic
samples. AncestryDNA and Calico will work 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 will then focus its efforts to develop
and commercialize any potential therapeutics that emerge from the
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Ancestry.com corporate site
Ancestral Quest Basics
Family Tree Builder (free ver.)
Legacy Family Tree
Legacy Family Tree (standard ed.)
Family Tree Builder (premium ver.)
Genbox Family History
Kith and Kin Pro
Legacy Family Tree
Legacy Family Tree (deluxe ed.)
File (Mac OS)
The Master Genealogist
The Next Generation of
Software as a
Family Tree DNA
Comparison of genealogy software
Comparison of web-based genealogy software
Family tree mapping
Genealogical DNA testing
Types of tests
Haplotype / Subclade
International Society of Genetic Genealogy
Surname DNA project
300 years ago
500 years ago
100s to 1,000s of years ago
Family Tree DNA
Last 100 to 2,000 years ago
500 to 10,000 years a