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

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Who owns the genealogy companies? - More websites

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 and It is time to turn my attention to First of all, and fundamentally, 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 and the other commercially based, online databases. No such relationship exists. does not own, nor do any of the commercial sites control or own 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, has been consolidating all of its websites into the one,, address. However, there are still some odds and ends of websites that are not directly connected to or to each other. Here's a list of the current websites directly or indirectly associated with – this is the main website and contains the Historical Record Collections consisting of millions of digitized records from around the world. also has the newer Family Tree program for entering individual family information. 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. – this website was introduced about five years ago and is quickly being replaced by Family Tree on the 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 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. – 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 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. 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.


  1. FamilySearch Forums is closing at the end of this month. See notice this from VasquezJL at

    Dear FamilySearch Forums Member,

    At FamilySearch, our goal is to help you in the way that makes the most sense for you, while ensuring that we have the resources to provide the best experience possible. Due to user feedback, we are discontinuing these forums as of December 31, 2012, and researching alternate tools that will allow us to better give help in the future. If you utilize these Forums, please continue reading to know how you will be able to get help in the future.

  2. I created a presentation for a family organization I'm a part of a while back to give a "whirlwind" tour of the resources available on It's already getting out of date, but you and your readers may be interested.