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

Monday, November 18, 2013's new databases make a difference

If you haven't noticed, is expending a major effort to make the big four genealogy companies into the big five genealogy companies. Presently, there is no real dispute that,, D.C. Thomson Family History ( and are the core of the big online genealogy companies. The question is can a company such as join that somewhat elite group?

We have a few larger commercial online companies floating around out there,, and come to mind, but guess what? Each of these companies is owned by one of the large ones. and are owned by is owned by In recent history, if any one company made a run at joining the big four, they have been bought out. Will this happen to if they are successful in getting near enough to join the ranks of the big guys?

I have been watching the databases grow rapidly in the last few weeks. Recently, there was a blog announcement entitled, "30,000+ New Databases & Exclusive New Features." The post dated 15 November 2013, states:
Today we celebrate just one month since we announced our Free Forever mission. We’ve put more than 30,000 new databases online in just 30 days. Our total database count has quickly zoomed to more than 138,000 and we’ve got so much more planned.
 Checking on the day of this post, they claim 141,690 databases. Of course, we are back to the issue of what is a database or a collection or a record or whatever, but the number starts to look big when compared to 1664 collections in or even 31,432 collections in Of course, claims 2.6 billion records. That is where the meaning of the terms breaks down and becomes meaningless. The real question is whether or not's "free forever" records have become useful to the point that they become a "go to" place for genealogists and one that cannot be ignored?

My personal assessment is that may have just cracked the code to get into that elite group.

I spent some time looking for records on the website and I have to say I am impressed with both the search engine capabilities and the number of pertinent records that seem to appear in response to a search. I use my standard search for my Great-grandfather Henry Martin Tanner and I get 757 results. Not an overwhelming number compared to a Google search, but the list of results includes blog posts which are not available from any of the other large online database programs and some other references I find to be somewhat unique. I did find a few "Internal Server Errors" in trying to go to the cited sources, but by and large the results were impressive.

One drawback is that the records or databases or whatever they are claiming do seem to be mostly printed books and records, not documents as such. The question is has the program crossed some kind of imaginary line where genealogists will begin to notice it and use it? Only time will tell, but I guess that the time will be fairly short.

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