RootsTech 2014

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

Monday, June 23, 2014

findmypast.com buys Mocavo.com

This newest of the large genealogy online database programs buying out a smaller, well endowed, company is definitely not a surprise. This newest large company buys smaller company acquisition was announced in a press release dated 23 June 2014 from findmypast.com announcing the purchase of Mocavo.com. The reason this is not a surprise to me was that I was watching Mocavo.com closely and could see that they had the potential to make the "big four" genealogy companies into a "big five." It is my personal opinion that none of the three commercial companies, findmypast.com, MyHeritage.com or Ancestry.com, can afford to have another competitive player in the market at their level. The only question in my mind was which of the three would make the purchase.

Quoting from the press release;
Family history is known for causing incredible outbursts of excitement. The yelp of success in the library when a long-standing mystery is solved, the utter shock at the discovery made in a newspaper article, or the squeal of delight when an e-mail hits your inbox notifying you of the latest record match from a previous search. 
Today, the entire family history industry has a reason to shout from the rooftops – Findmypast and Mocavo have joined together to build the future of family history. 
What does that mean for you? Everything…and so much more. 
From the very beginning, Mocavo established itself as an absolute family history destination. From itsinnovative search technologies to providing good Karma to the community, Mocavo is a genealogist’s best friend. Bloggers and users agreed – Dick Eastman, founder of the ever-popular Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter went on record, “my future genealogy searches will start on Mocavo.com.” Since that time, the Mocavo machine hasn’t stopped and is now one of the industry’s fastest growing genealogy services.
One salient point here is that findmypast.com has a huge database made up almost entirely of indexes. This acquisition gives it a substantial presence with digitized copies of actual source documents and especially gives the UK-based company a greater presence in the United States.  Continuing on with a further quote from the press release:
Just imagine what you can uncover in Mocavo’s more than 8 million yearbooks, 500 million military records, and a slew of other incredible resources. And if that wasn’t enough, Mocavo also offers a free scanning service to help you preserve your own family’s records. But Mocavo hasn’t stopped there, they continue to release 1,000 new datasets each day – that’s nearly 30,000 datasets each month – and 365,000 datasets a year.
findmypast.com does have a huge investment in digitized newspaper pages but they are all in another separate website and charged separately for access. For example, I am hearing comments from those in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who have recently been given "free" access to findmypast.com, that they are being asked to pay for access to digitized newspaper pages not included in the basic findmypast.com subscription. It is certainly unclear from the press release whether or not Mocavo.com will continue as a separate website merely owned by findmypast.com (actually D.C. Thomson Family History) or if the datasets will be incorporated into the already existing records on findmypast.com. My guess is that Mocavo.com survives as an entity owned by findmypast.com but separately billed and maintained.

Another interesting speculation is whether Mocavo.com will continue is present "free access" to all the records or if it will conform to the "pay-as-you-go" model preferred by British websites. Depending on how all this works out, the genealogy community may or may not benefit as much as it would have with a competing Mocavo.com.

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