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

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Update on the very large online genealogy companies

Arrows, Growth Hacking, Marketing, Strategy, Startup

With the changes to the website, I thought it might be interesting to take a quick look at all four of the very large online genealogy companies and see wat was going on. I guess I will start with

All of the four large online genealogy companies continually add to their huge digital record collections. All of them provide extremely valuable records to researchers and all are constantly growing and adding new programs and features. It is an exciting time to be doing genealogical research (if that can be said at all about doing research). Genealogists worldwide can hardly afford to ignore any one of these companies' holdings.

Apparently, has moved into their new offices in Lehi, Utah. In looking at their corporate website the location of the Corporate Headquarters is listed as follows:
Lehi, Utah (Corporate Headquarters)
1300 West Traverse Parkway
Lehi, UT USA

Headquartered in Lehi, Utah, Ancestry is focused on making family history more accessible to millions of people around the world. The company has grown to more than 1,400 employees globally, 1,000 of whom are based in Utah. In addition to phenomenal views of Mount Timpanogos and the surrounding valley, our location helps the company broaden its footprint in attracting and retaining top talent throughout the Wasatch Front.
Since they didn't have much of a view of the mountains from their old location in Provo, Utah, it would seem to be the American dream of moving up on hill. By the way, has offices in San Francisco, California, Dublin, Ireland (International Headquarters), London, United Kingdom (United for the time being), Silver Spring, Maryland, Stockholm, Sweden, Munich, Germany and Sydney, Australia.

Here is a list of their brands, businesses and products:

  • Ancestry
  • AncestryDNA
  • AncestryHealth
  • AncestryAcademy
  • Archives
  • Fold3
  • Ancestry Institution
  • Find A Grave
  • AncestryProGenealogists
  • Rootsweb by Ancestry

Actually, Ancestry has eight different international websites:

I reported about the ownership and investment changes recently at Ancestry. See Ancestry Closes Investment Deal

Moving on to The company has offices around the world and far more subscribers than But there is much less information online about the company. This may be due to the simple fact that they are headquartered in Israel rather than Lehi, Utah. is growing extremely rapidly around the world and in looking at their membership map, they have over 83 million members worldwide in all the countries of the world on all the continents. They maintain a database of more than 6.8 billion records and are consistently adding new features. Their website supports 42 different languages with more than 2.6 billion names in over 28 million family trees.

Personally, I find easy to work with and highly professional. The company has considerably fewer employees than the other large online genealogy companies and is much more personal. In my opinion, they are the company driving the innovations in genealogical technology. has been making an aggressive move to increase both its business and influence in the genealogical community. Previously, was DC Thomson Family History. It is a Delaware corporation and lists an office address in Provo, Utah but also lists a location in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Although is has been identified for some time as a British-based and owned company, it is making a decided effort to expand worldwide and has been adding millions of significant genealogical records from the United States. has the following websites:

Here are some facts about Findmypast from their website

  • There are 850 million U.S. records on
  • More than 2 billion records globally.
  • Part of a network of 18 million subscribers around the world.
  • Records date back to the 1200s.
Findmypast is also a very personally oriented company and very professional in their approach. They have been very innovative in adding specifically targeted collections. My perception is that the company is advancing rapidly and constantly becoming more publically attractive to membership.

I have written a lot recently about's efforts to improve the functionality of its Family Tree program. FamilySearch is unique in that it is not a commercial company at all, but a non-profit corporation maintained and supported by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As such, the number of employees (listed as 1001-5000) and other information about the company is not readily available online. Officially, the company is FamilySearch International headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. However, the company just recently broke ground for a new office building in Lehi, Utah. 

Here is a summary of the company from its LinkedIn listing.
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer–driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessor organizations have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at or through over 4,800 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
If it seems that the companies are moving to Lehi and Provo, Utah, they would be joining many other high tech companies opening offices in Utah Valley.

Well, as I said above, it is an exciting time to be involved with genealogy online.


  1. MyHeritage also has an office in Lehi, Utah. They acquired this office as a result of their acquisition of FamilyLink/WorldVitalRecords.

  2. I think it is apples-and-oranges to compare the membership numbers of any of the subscription websites since they all have different definintions of "member". Ancestry's financial filings show that their count is based on number of people currently paying Ancestry money for a subscription to an Ancestry-branded website. It is entirely unclear, at least to me, what the other companies define as a member. I presume that if Ancestry was to report the number of people who have free accounts, along with paid accounts, that their count would then be much different. By "free account" I mean not just the accounts given to LDS Church members, but also the free accounts required to participate in the free-access promotions that Ancestry runs from time to time.

    1. Yes, to some extent you are correct. But it does appear that the claim to having the largest online genealogy company is up for grabs.