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Ancestry.com LLC is a
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company based in
Lehi, Utah Lehi ( ) is a city in Utah County, Utah, United States. It is named after Lehi (Book of Mormon prophet), Lehi, a prophet in the Book of Mormon. The population was 47,407 at the 2010 United States Census, 2010 census, up from 19,028 in 2000. A more ...
, United States. The largest for-profit
genealogy Genealogy (from el, γενεαλογία ' "study of family trees") is the study of Family, families, family history, and the tracing of their lineages. Genealogists use oral interviews, historical records, genetic analysis, and other records t ...

genealogy
company in the world, it operates a network of genealogical, historical records, and related
genetic genealogy Genetic genealogy is the use of genealogical DNA test A genealogical DNA test is a DNA-based test which looks at specific locations of a person's genome, in order to find or verify ancestral genealogical relationships or (with lower reliabil ...
websites. As of November 2018, the company claimed to provide access to approximately 10billion historical records, to have 3million paying subscribers, and to have sold 18million DNA kits to customers. On August 6, 2020,
The Blackstone Group The Blackstone Group Inc. is an American alternative investment management company based in New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the Uni ...
announced plans to acquire the company in a deal valued at $4.7billion.


History


Ancestry

In 1990, Paul Brent Allen and Dan Taggart, two
Brigham Young University Brigham Young University (BYU) is a Private education, private research university sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and located in Provo, Utah. The university is accredited by the Northwest Commission on ...
graduates, founded Infobases and began offering
Latter-day Saints The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often informally known as the LDS Church or Mormon Church, is a Nontrinitarianism, nontrinitarian, Christianity, Christian Restorationism, restorationist church that considers itself to be the Re ...
(LDS) publications on
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floppy disk
s. In 1988, Allen had worked at
Folio Corporation Folio Corporation was founded in 1987 by Curt Allen and his brother-in-law Brad Pelo with programmers Mark Wolfgramm and Brandt Redd. It quickly gained recognition for helping other companies to publish content on local area networks and on digita ...
, founded by his brother Curt and his brother-in-law
Brad Pelo Brad Pelo (born February 6, 1963) is an American businessman, entrepreneur, and co-founder and chief executive officer A chief executive officer (CEO), chief administrator, or just chief executive (CE), is one of a number of corporate executiv ...
. Infobases' first products were
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s and
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s 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. On January 1, 1997, Infobases' parent company, Western Standard Publishing, purchased Ancestry, Inc., publisher of ''
Ancestry An ancestor, also known as a forefather, fore-elder or a forebear, is a parent or ( recursively) the parent of an antecedent (i.e., a grandparent, great-grandparent, great-great-grandparent and so forth). ''Ancestor'' is "any person from whom ...
'' magazine and genealogy books. Western Standard Publishing's CEO was Joseph A. Cannon, one of the principal owners of
Geneva Steel 250px, Geneva Steel mill under construction in November 1942. Photograph by Andreas Feininger. Geneva Steel was a steel mill located in Vineyard, Utah, Vineyard, Utah, United States, founded during World War II to enhance national steel output. It ...
. In July 1997, Allen and Taggart purchased Western Standard's interest in Ancestry, Inc. At the time,
Brad Pelo Brad Pelo (born February 6, 1963) is an American businessman, entrepreneur, and co-founder and chief executive officer A chief executive officer (CEO), chief administrator, or just chief executive (CE), is one of a number of corporate executiv ...
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 The term open market is used generally to refer to an economic situation close to free trade Free trade is a trade policy A commercial policy (also referred to as a trade policy or international trade policy) is a government's policy governing ...

Open Market
for $45million. 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 WordPerfect (WP) is a word processing application, now owned by Corel, with a long history on multiple personal computer platforms. At the height of its popularity in the 1980s and early 1990s, it was the dominant player in the word processor mark ...
, 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 Deseret Book () is an American publishing company headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, that also operates a chain of bookstores throughout the western United States. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Deseret Management Corporation, the holding ...
. 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$90million 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$62million for 2002 and US$99million for 2003. In March 2004, the company, which had outgrown its call center in
Orem, Utah Orem is a city in Utah County, Utah Utah ( , ) is a state in the Mountain West region of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguo ...
, opened a new
call center A call centre ( Commonwealth spelling) or call center ( American spelling; see spelling differences) is a centralised office used for receiving or transmitting a large volume of enquiries by telephone. An inbound call centre is operated by a ...

call center
, which accommodates about 700 agents at a time, in . 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 March 17, 2007, because the company 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. In 2010, Ancestry sold its book publishing assets to
Turner Publishing Company Turner Publishing Company is an American independent book publisher based in Nashville, Tennessee Nashville is the Capital city, capital and List of municipalities in Tennessee, most populous city of the U.S. state of Tennessee. The city is th ...
. Ancestry.com became a publicly traded company on
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(symbol: ACOM) on November 5, 2009, with an initial public offering of 7.4million shares priced at $13.50 per share, underwritten by
Morgan Stanley Morgan Stanley is an American multinational investment bank and financial services Financial services are the Service (economics), economic services provided by the finance industry, which encompasses a broad range of businesses that manage ...
,
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,
Merrill Lynch Merrill (officially Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated), previously branded Merrill Lynch, is an American investment management Investment management is the professional asset management of various securities A security i ...
,
Jefferies & Company Jefferies Group LLC is an American multinational independent investment bank and financial services Financial services are the Service (economics), economic services provided by the finance industry, which encompasses a broad range of businesse ...
,
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, and
BMO Capital Markets BMO Capital Markets is the investment banking An investment bank is a financial services company or Corporate structure, corporate division that engages in advisory-based financial transactions on behalf of individuals, corporations, and governm ...
. In 2010, Ancestry.com expanded its domestic operations with the opening of an office in
San Francisco, California San Francisco (/Help:IPA/English, ˌsæn fɹənˈsɪskoʊ/; Spanish language, Spanish for "Francis of Assisi, Saint Francis"), officially the City and County of San Francisco, is a cultural, commercial, and financial center in Northern Calif ...

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 Android may refer to: Science and technology * Android (robot), a humanoid robot or synthetic organism designed to imitate a human * Android (operating system), Google's mobile operating system ** Android (operating system)#Mascot, Unnamed Androi ...
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 GeneTree. 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 $1.6billion. 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. That year, Ancestry partnered with the Google subsidiary, Calico (company), Calico, to focus on longevity research and therapeutics, in an effort to investigate human heredity of lifespan. In April 2016, GIC (Singaporean sovereign wealth fund), GIC Private Limited (a sovereign wealth fund owned by the Government of Singapore) and Silver Lake Partners, 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 $3billion. In November 2018, Ancestry claimed to have over 10billion digitised records and over three-million paying customers. In August 2020,
The Blackstone Group The Blackstone Group Inc. is an American alternative investment management company based in New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the Uni ...
announced plans to acquire Ancestry for $4.7billion. In February 2021, Ancestry announced Deb Liu, a former Facebook executive, as their CEO effective March 1.https://www.bizjournals.com/bizwomen/news/latest-news/2021/02/ancestry-taps-facebook-exec-as-new-ceo.html?page=all


AncestryDNA

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". This "ethnicity estimate" uses 700,000 markers which is only about .02% of all genetic markers that could be tested. Customers should not believe they are seeing all of their ethnic background, but taking multiple tests is useful when combined with using ancestry.com's genealogy web searches to find possible unexpected admixtures. Previously, Ancestry.com also offered paternal YDNA, 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. In July 2020, the company claimed that their database contained 18million completed DNA kits bought by customers. Ancestry DNA is commonly used for donor conceived persons to find their biological siblings and in some cases their sperm donor, sperm or egg donor. The testing itself is performed by Quest Diagnostics.


FindAGrave

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.


Newspapers.com

In 2012, Ancestry spun off its digitized online newspaper components into a standalone service, Newspapers.com. Before the Newspapers.com launch, Ancestry.com acquired the following newspaper-oriented components, including scanning and digital technologies and posting on the web: *iArchives, Inc. (and its footnote.com service) was acquired in 2010 for 1.022million common stock shares. The purchase brought in assets including processes for digitalizing documents on microfilm. Footnote would be rebranded Fold3 in 2011. *Archives.com was bought for $100million in 2012. As of June 23, 2019, the archive claimed its index comprised online newspapers dating from 1700 worldwide, covering 12,100+ newspapers and a total of more than 509million 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 have 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. Some participants see the process of free scanning as an easier, cheaper and quicker way to get their publications online than working through the U.S. government-operated National Digital Newspaper Program.


RootsWeb

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.


Past products

* Family Origins * Family Tree Maker, sold in 2017. * Genealogy.com - Genealogy.com, which maintains a genealogy research website, was acquired by MyFamily.com in 2003. * Generations Family Tree (originally called "Reunion (genealogy software), Reunion for Windows") * MyFamily.com - allowed members to create private family, or group, websites. In May 2010, MyFamily closed its Bellevue, Washington, development office, effectively letting its entire staff go since none of the staff accepted an offer to move to Provo. Ancestry shut down MyFamily.com on September 5, 2014. At the time of 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. * 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 HDOS, Heath H-8 series of personal computers; ROOTS/M for the CP/M operating system; and ROOTS II for MS-DOS, followed by ROOTS III and ROOTS IV; and ROOTS V for Windows along with Visual ROOTS for Microsoft Windows. * Ultimate Family Tree (UFT)


Controversies

After authorities arrested the Golden State Killer and used GEDmatch to solve the case, Ancestry.com and 23andMe made a data policy stating that they would not allow their DNA profiles to be used for crime solving absent a valid legal process such as a search warrant, as they believe it violates users' privacy.


See also

* 23andMe * Genographic Project * iArchives, Inc.


References


Further reading

*


External links

* {{DEFAULTSORT:Ancestry.Com Genetic genealogy companies Genealogy software Applied genetics Internet properties established in 1996 American companies established in 1996 Biotechnology companies established in 1996 American genealogy websites Online companies of the United States Privately held companies based in Utah Software companies based in Utah Software companies established in 1996 Sovereign wealth fund portfolio companies Permira companies Silver Lake (investment firm) companies 1996 establishments in Utah Companies formerly listed on NASDAQ Software companies of the United States 2016 mergers and acquisitions 2020 mergers and acquisitions Companies based in Utah County, Utah Lehi, Utah The Blackstone Group companies