Who owns the genealogy companies? – More websites
I guess I keep getting distracted from completing my current series on who owns the genealogy companies. So far, I have looked at the websites for Ancestry.com and MyHeritage.com. It is time to turn my attention to FamilySearch.org. First of all, and fundamentally, FamilySearch.org is a wholly owned Corporation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Every time I make this statement, I get comments to my blog posts suggesting some kind of conspiracy between FamilySearch.org and the other commercially based, online databases. No such relationship exists. FamilySearch.org does not own Ancestry.com, nor do any of the commercial sites control or own FamilySearch.org. Saying this, does not mean that the various companies do not cooperate at different levels. For example, some of the online databases cooperated to an extent in the production of indexes to the 1940 U.S. Census.
It is important to understand, that all of the services offered by FamilySearch are free to the public with very few exceptions, such as, the rental of microfilm copies of records.
For the past few years, FamilySearch.org has been consolidating all of its websites into the one, FamilySearch.org, address. However, there are still some odds and ends of websites that are not directly connected to FamilySearch.org or to each other. Here's a list of the current websites directly or indirectly associated with FamilySearch.org:
FamilySearch.org – this is the main website and contains the Historical Record Collections consisting of millions of digitized records from around the world. FamilySearch.org also has the newer Family Tree program for entering individual family information. FamilySearch.org is also the location of the FamilySearch Research Wiki, a genealogical encyclopedia with tens of thousands of articles. The site also contains a huge number of other resources including tutorials, videos and other useful resources. Other important resources include the Family History Library catalog with links to tens of thousands of digitized books.
New.FamilySearch.org – this website was introduced about five years ago and is quickly being replaced by Family Tree on the FamilySearch.org website. Although its demise was predicted for 2012, it now appears that the program will continue to be active well into 2013.
FamilySearch Indexing – there is a huge online volunteer effort to index the records being downloaded by FamilySearch.org on an almost daily basis. Volunteers are constantly being recruited for this program and their efforts benefit the entire genealogical community through making the records in late Historical Record Collections more accessible.
Labs.FamilySearch.org – this website is used as a place to introduce new programs. Some of the programs introduced are further incorporated into existing online programs, but other programs have been discontinued or abandoned. One of the more notable offerings presently on labs.FamilySearch.org is the program called Community Trees. This rapidly growing database includes scholarly genealogical studies of particular geographic areas. Unfortunately, some of these extremely valuable genealogical resources are almost unknown because of their low visibility on the Internet and not because of the lack of value of the websites. It is also interesting to note that both the FamilySearch Research Wiki and the FamilySearch Forums programs are listed as under development.
FamilySearch.org Photos – this very recently introduced program is intended to be an adjunct to the Family Tree program. It will be a place where photographs can be stored and linked to individuals in the Family Tree program. This program is presently in beta and access may be limited.
FamilySearch Affiliates – in order to create greater value for any online records, FamilySearch has entered into agreements with third-party programs to provide added resources to genealogists. These programs vary from basic genealogical database programs to programs that create charts and other graphics. None of these third-party programs are owned or controlled by FamilySearch.
There are several other FamilySearch affiliated websites such as the website that is automatically used for ordering microfilm copies of records from the Family History Library. But these are the more visible programs.