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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Even more on updating who owns the genealogy companies

It is very difficult not to be culture-centric when it comes to genealogy, especially when your family has lived in a certain country for hundreds of years. But even though I started this series with FamilySearch and Ancestry.com, I am aware that there are equally as pervasive companies based in countries other than the United States. Foremost of these companies is brightsolid.com. Only a portion of the brightsolid company is dedicated to genealogy. The company is a provider of utility and cloud computing services in the United Kingdom. Their products and services include:
  • brightsolid minds
  • brightsolid applications
  • brightsolid hosting
  • brightsolid continuity
  • brightsolid structures
According to the brightsolid website, the company began in 1995 as Scotland Online as an independent provider of IT business services. It partnership with SunGard, it is also a business Internet Service Provider. Focusing on the genealogical involvement of the company, brightsolid manages ScotlandsPeople.gov.uk, a partnership between the General Register Office for Scotland, the National Archives of Scotland and the Court of the Lord Lyon. Quoting from its website, "In 2007, brightsolid acquired findmypast.com, an online family history site.  findmypast.com was the first website to put the complete birth, marriage and death indexes for England and Wales online.  The company also successfully launched ancestorsonboard.com, the online passenger lists records resource, for The National Archives in January 2007. It included details of over 24 million travelers, including the historic details of the Titanic’s maiden voyage."

brightsolid.com operates under the name brightsolid online publishing limited and has the following websites: findmypast Ireland, findmypast Australia, the 1911census.co.uk, ancestorsonboard.com, Scotlandsprople.gov.uk, Friends Reunited Dating, Genes Reunited, 1911census.co.uk and FriendsReunited. As you can see, brightsolid has a significant presence in the United Kingdom's genealogical community online. brightsolid has offices in Dundee, Edinburgh and London.

The company itself is known as Brightsolid Group Limited which is a wholly owned subsidiary of DC Thomson & Co Ltd. See www.competition-commission.org.uk/rep.../555final_report_excised.pdf

DC Thomson & Co. Ltd is a Scottish newspaper publishing conglomerate headquartered in Dundee, Scotland, that publishes the following newspapers and periodicals:
None of these publications could be considered oriented towards genealogy in any fashion.

In these initial updated observations of the ownership of the genealogy companies, one thing should be clear, the larger companies like Ancestry.com and brightsolid are part of larger business ownership that has no direct connection to the genealogical community. Having dealt with hundreds of businesses over the years, I am fully aware that decisions involving the business will be made on the basis of their best business judgement and not at all in the interests of individual genealogists.  This is not by itself a bad thing. But this fact should be kept in mind when relying on these businesses in the long haul and caution is advised in depending on them to provide continuity of their individual products and services.

I do not wish to be misunderstood, Ancesty.com and brightsolid provide marvelously useful services to the genealogical community. My point in this analysis is to indicate that the interests of these multinational corporations and individual genealogists may not correspond. 

2 comments:

  1. Doesn't "pervasive" have a negative connotation? Just wondering.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Perhaps... I am not saying that these companies are bad at all, just that they do have the quality or tendency to pervade or permeate especially with some levels of genealogical research.

    ReplyDelete