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Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Comments on Ancestry.com's acquisition of Genline.se

Several bloggers report today, 15 June 2010, that Ancestry.com, the largest online genealogy based company, is acquiring the Swedish database, Genline.se. The acquisition was reported in a press release apparently dated June 14th picked up by MarketWatch. Quoting from the press release:
Total consideration for Genline is approximately US$6.7 million, to be paid in cash at closing. The offer has been accepted by Genline's Board of Directors but remains subject to approval of Genline Holding AB's public shareholders and other ordinary course closing conditions.
Genline expects to provide proxy materials to shareholders immediately and hold a Special Meeting of Stockholders shortly to vote on the transaction. Genline trades on the Stockholm exchange AktiTorget under the ticker symbol GENL.
Upon completion of the transaction, Genline will join Ancestry.com's family of nine web properties globally, which together serve more than 1.2 million subscribers and host over five billion historical records and 17 million family trees containing 1.7 billion profiles.
Genline currently has more than 17,000 paying members with access to 26 million pages of digitized Swedish church records spanning more than 400 years from the 16th to the 20th century.
The full text of the Press Release can be found by clicking here on the GlobeNewswire, a NASDAQ OMX Company.

In my recent series of articles on who owns the largest genealogy companies, I discussed both Ancestry.com and Genline.se. From the standpoint of availability, adding the Swedish records to Ancestry.com makes the records more available to users throughout the world. But the acquisition also raises some even more serious questions.

Genline has always had the images of the Swedish Church records available for a graduated price allowing even a 24 hour license to be purchased. Ancestry.com has a monthly price and a yearly price for access to all of its online resources with both a U.S. only subscription and a higher priced Worldwide subscription.  If the new files are brought in under Ancestry.com's present pricing structure, users will likely be paying considerably more for access to the Swedish records. A 24 hours subscription to Genline was only about $9.00 U.S. and an annual subscription of U.S. $248.00. Obviously, if a user had both subscriptions, there will likely be a savings.

This consolidation of online resources seems to be moving ahead with an increasing momentum. Am I the only person who thinks that having the bulk of online genealogical resources concentrated in a relatively small group of companies may not be the best idea?

1 comment:

  1. James,

    Ever since Rootsweb was swallowed by the ancestry monster I have felt the end was drawing nearer for choice on the web. So you are not along in thinking big brother is also better brother. I do believe in paying for the help we find on the web yet do not like to see it all going into the one big pocket. More like having one government - what option is left?

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