RootsTech 2014

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

Friday, February 7, 2014

#RootsTech -- What is happening with FamilySearch and Ancestry.com et al.

Much of the speculation, mostly my own, about what would happen at RootsTech 2014 centered around the agreements announced by FamilySearch.org with other large online genealogy companies that included Ancestry.com, MyHeritage.com and findmypast.com. I am not sure that you could consider any of the public announcements at the Conference to radically expand on what had already been said many months ago, but by going to several presentations by the programmers and talking to a number of people including listening carefully to what each of those entities was saying, I think I have a little better idea about some of the details of the agreements and what is likely to happen in the future.

As I understand it, the basic agreements provide for FamilySearch.org to enable the other three entities to share in FamilySearch's Historical Record Collections. All of it. This means that if you have a subscription to any one of these big three online genealogy database programs, you will eventually have access to the approximately 1 billion records now on FamilySearch.org and some or all of the records to be added. Because of individual agreements with each of the companies, there may be some records available to one of the companies that are not available to all of the others in the future. In addition, there are likely other agreements being made with other companies that have not yet been finalized and disclosed. In return, the members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have collectively paid for the acquisition of these records will have full access to the other three databases. I am not yet sure exactly what that means or how that will happen, but apparently when members log in with their LDS Account, they will have access just as if they were full subscribers to the programs.

No time table has been announced for all this to happen. There are only vague references to "later this year." It will not do any good to call or contact any of the four companies, especially FamilySearch, because they are still working on the programming to allow this to happen. That was very clear from listening the programming engineers in the sessions at the #InnovatorSummit.

The benefit of all this is staggering to all of the parties involved. The users of the commercial databases get a billion more records, many of which they did not know existed online. The members of the Church get access to billions of records, even if the vast majority of them are entirely clueless about the existence of the agreements, RootTech 2014, genealogy or much of anything else going on with genealogy in their own Church (editorial comment). That's it essentially. If I am wrong, no one has, so far, told me I am wrong. Thanks for reading all the stuff I have written the last three days.

2 comments:

  1. James, thank you again for your energetic, persistent and on-the-spot reporting. I love getting glimpses of the future through your very perceptive 20/20 vision. Guess I'll be dragged into the world of the 'newest technological advancements' available to family historians with kicking and screaming....kickin' but... and data scream .. .. streaming. Blog not withstanding, I've gotta move into the future.... NOW.

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