MyHeritage has made a big move in an effort to significantly enter the U.S. Genealogy Market by acquiring long standing family history websites FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com. MyHeritage is one of the most popular family networks globally on the web providing a place for millions of families to have a private and free place for their families to keep in touch and to showcase their roots. They offer a feature called Smart Matching™ technology which allows users an innovative way to find relatives and explore their family history. They boast a secure site for the storage of family photos, and history preservation. The company is backed by Accel Partners and Index Ventures, the investors of Facebook and Skype, and now with this most recent acquisition they add a tremendous amount of genealogical content - 3 billion + historical records - to their offerings.
This is MyHeritage's seventh and largest acquisition since 2007. With offices and staff in Europe, Australia and Israel, MyHeritage will also now be adding its first US-based office in Utah, the home of FamilyLink.com and often cited as the family history capital of the world.
MyHeritage CEO and Founder Gilad Japhet characterizes the move this way, “Combining close to one billion family tree profiles on MyHeritage with FamilyLink's massive library of historical data delivers a perfect one-stop-shop for families looking to discover and share their family history".
Founded in 2006, both FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com are subscription services to a huge database of several billion individuals within census, birth, marriage and death records, as well as the web’s largest archive of historical newspapers. When brought together under the MyHeritage umbrella, the company’s Smart Matching technology will automatically match any of the new historical data to the relevant users' ancestors and relatives within the family trees.
It's clear that the genealogy market is still very much up for grabs, even though on the surface it can often appear that Ancestry and FamilySearch are the only major players. With Archives.com on the move, and this latest in a series of strategic purchases by MyHeritage since 2007 genealogists stand to gain from a competitive marketplace. MyHeritage's recent purchases include Pearl Street Software, makers of GenCircles.com and the Family Tree Legends software; free family tree backup service BackupMyTree.com; European family social network market leader OSN (Verwandt) GmbH; Dutch family network ZOOOF; British family network Kindo.com and Polish family network Bliscy.pl.
According to their recent press release, "the majority of the FamilyLink.com employees will join MyHeritage, based out of the company’s new US office in Provo, Utah: bringing the benefit of their collective expertise within the family history and North American genealogy market. The CEO of FamilyLink.com, Paul Brockbank, previously CEO of Logoworks and GM of Hewlett Packard Web Print Solutions, will play a key role in supporting the transition over the coming months and will later join the MyHeritage advisory board. FamilyLink.com founder Paul Allen, previously a co-founder of Ancestry.com, and FamilyLink.com's "We're Related" Facebook application, will not be part of the merger with MyHeritage."
What does the acquisition mean for customers? In the short-term, MyHeritage will continue to operate the two sites FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com, with the intention of achieving full integration within MyHeritage in 2012. "With immediate effect and for an introductory period, loyal subscribers and users of MyHeritage will be entitled to discounts of up to 50% on FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com subscriptions, and vice versa."