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

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Who Owns the Genealogy Companies -- An Update -- Part Four

In the previous posts in this updated series on the ownership of the online genealogy companies, I have focused on some of the associated issues. This post will focus on the United Kingdom based company known as "" Note that the logo for this company is all in lower case letters, but I have noticed that recently they are referring to their own company with an initial capital letter as in ""

As a side note, in moving to Utah, I now live and work in a genealogical environment that is pretty much saturated with references to Surprisingly, it is now more than a year ago that we began our move to Utah. During that year, I have found some increase in the local community's awareness of online programs in addition to, but that awareness does not generally extend to familiarity or actual involvement in doing research using the programs. In most cases, with a few exceptions, genealogists who were already involved with other online databases, including,, or and who are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, have taken advantage of the partnership opportunities offered by, but by and large those less involved still have not. I also see that even if the members have signed up for the programs, few know how to use them effectively. For this reason, with the exception of and probably because of its extensive advertising, I almost never field any questions about the other programs. In fact, I do not remember having a single question about either or recently.

I suspect that this lack of awareness extends to the genealogical community outside of Utah also. Now, if you are reading (or listening to) this blog post, you are probably not one of the people I am referring to. I deal primarily with people who are involved in genealogy or family history at a very basic level and are not usually involved online. For example, I talk to very few people who are involved in their family history that are even aware that genealogy related blogs even exist. I raise this issue in part for the reason that at this level, most of the patrons I deal with at the Brigham Young University Family History Library are surprised that there are companies other than and, much less interested in the ownership of these companies. For example, I commonly find people who are surprised to learn that FamilySearch is a separate corporation owned by the Church.

Now, back to the issue of the ownership of According to to the Company History, the company began in 1965 "when a small group of professional genealogists and heir hunters in London, England form what was then known as Title Research." The organization known as Title Research started a "computerized version of the paper General Register Office England and Wales birth, marriage and death records for its in-house researchers to use. The project is named "1837 online"." The website went online in 2003. See Company History.

The company known as became a separate business owned by the Title Research Group which was rebranded as Findmypast in 2006. In 2007, Scotland Online, part of the large Scots publishing company, D.C. Thomson and Co. Ltd, headquartered in Dundee, Scotland acquired Findmypast. Quoting from its website about D.C. Thomson and Co. Ltd, "The company publishes newspapers, magazines and books and has diversified into new media, digital technology, retail, radio and television through investment interests."

Again, quoting from the D.C. Thomson website,
The wider DC Thomson Group includes global genealogy company findmypast, leading IT business services provider brightsolid, global book publisher Parragon Books and magazine publishers This England, Shortlist Media and Puzzler Media. DC Thomson Ventures is the venture capital arm of the company focusing on early and later stage investment across the digital media, education, advertising and retail markets.
The genealogy websites are owned by an entity named DC Thomson Family History. The websites include the following:
Presently, is aggressively acquiring and digitizing huge collections of records. The latest project is the 1939 Register for England and Wales – the only surviving survey of the population of England and Wales between 1921 and 1951 – after being awarded the contract by The National Archives. See Company History.

Here are the previous posts in this series:

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