Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Genealogy News Alert: Ancestry to Acquire

After coming out of the "shadows" with a more public image at RootsTech earlier this year, has made a name for itself in conjunction with the 1940 census roll out.  It's not surprising therefore that has had an eye on the start up. 

Today announced it's plans to acquire in the following press announcement.  The press release I received included an additional note from Tim Sullivan, CEO of Ancestry:

"In some ways, we view our deal with as a coming-of-age moment for the online family history category....We very much view the acquisition of as a way for us to accelerate our strategy of serving multiple customer segments with well differentiated offerings. I want to emphasis that our plan is to keep as a distinct brand and site, to continue to nurture its existing partnerships, and to continue to invest in new content, product and technology."

It's clear now that considered it's "customer segment" to be family history newbies, offering affordable pricing and emphasis on more commonly known and available records.  If Ancestry keeps Archives in tact as is the stated plan, Archives will offer Ancestry a unique portal for beginners that can then funnel them up to Ancestry membership.

Do you see this as a positive or negative for the genealogy marketplace?  I look forward to your comments.


PROVO, Utah, April 25, 2012 – Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire, a family history website, for approximately $100 million in cash and assumed liabilities.

This transaction will enable to add a differentiated service targeted to a complementary segment of the growing family history category. In addition, will welcome a team of talented engineers, digital marketers, and family history innovators into the fold and also gain access to a proprietary technology platform that has supported’s rapid growth. is owned and operated by Inflection LLC, a Silicon Valley-based technology company.  Since’s launch in January 2010, the site has rapidly grown to more than 380,000 paying subscribers who pay approximately $39.95 a year. offers access to over 2.1 billion historical records, including birth records, obituaries, immigration and passenger lists, historical newspapers, and U.S. and U.K. Censuses.

“ has built a fantastic and fast-growing business that we think is highly complementary to’s online family history offering,” said Tim Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of “We love their focus on making family history simple and affordable, and we are excited to help the talented team continue to grow alongside,, and Family Tree Maker.”

“Family history remains a dynamic and growing online category,” added Sullivan. “’s focus is consistent with our mission to help everyone discover, preserve and share their family history, which will help continue our efforts in delivering amazing discoveries to an even broader audience.”

Over the past two years, has partnered with multiple well-known family history organizations that have helped build out robust collection of family history records. Most recently, partnered with the U.S. National Archives to provide free digital access to the recently released 1940 U.S. Federal Census.

“We are proud of the experience we’ve built with and believe strongly in its future potential,” said Matthew Monahan, CEO and Co-Founder of Inflection.  “Combining with positions to best capitalize on that potential, pairing complementary visions of the marketplace and the opportunity.  We’ve long admired’s content and technology and the innovations that the team continues to bring to market.  We’re excited to see how this transaction expands the reach of family history to an even larger audience.”

Upon completion of the transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including expiration of the HSR waiting period, will continue to operate separately retaining its brand and website.  Multiple Inflection employees, including key product and engineering executives are expected to join the team.

About Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with more than 1.8 million paying subscribers. More than 9 billion records have been added to the site in the past 15 years. Ancestry users have created more than 34 million family trees containing approximately 4 billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site, offers several localized Web sites designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.

About is a leading family history website that makes discovering family history simple and affordable. The company has assembled more than 2.1 billion historical records all in a single location. Archives also partners with other leading family history websites to provide a comprehensive resource for researching your family history. is free to try for seven days, allowing anyone to explore the benefits of membership without risk or obligation. For more information and to start discovering your family history, please visit

About Inflection
Inflection is a Big Data and e-commerce startup headquartered in the heart of Silicon Valley. Leveraging its proprietary technology platform, the company has built innovative data services,, and Inflection was founded in 2006 and is backed by tier-one venture capitalists Matrix Partners and Sutter Hill Ventures.

Forward-looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements relate to future events or to future financial performance and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance, or achievements to be materially different from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by the use of words such as "appears," "may," "designed," "expect," "intend," "focus," "seek," "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "predict," "potential," "should," "continue" or "work" or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. These statements include statements concerning among other things, the proposed transaction between and, including the consummation and anticipated timing of the transaction as well as the expected benefits of the proposed transaction, and the effects of the proposed transaction on, our subscriber base or reach.  These forward-looking statements are based on information available to us as of the date of this press release. Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include a variety of factors, some of which are beyond our control. In particular, such risks and uncertainties include the risk that the transaction does not close when anticipated, or at all; difficulties encountered in integrating acquired businesses and retaining customers, and the additional difficulty of integration when continuing the acquired operation; the adverse impact of competitive product announcements; failure to achieve anticipated revenues and operating performance; changes in overall economic conditions; the loss of key employees; competitors’ actions; pricing and gross margin pressures; inability to control costs and expenses; and significant litigation.

Information concerning additional factors that could cause results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements is contained under the caption "Risk Factors" in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, and in discussions in other of our SEC filings. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date and we assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements for any reason, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.


Linda Hannah said...

I don't like gobbling up the small companies! Leave them alone!They are just getting rid of any competition. I don't trust Ancestry with all the info funneled into them! I don't like their high prices! I joined but may not renew when it comes up.
Sincerely, Linda

Anonymous said...

It sounds like an asset to the users. I feel confident that you will continue to serve the customers and keep us all happy. Keeping the price down is a very good selling point.

kefillmore said...

I agree with Linda, the bigger the company, the less competition to provide information. Ancestry is a great site, but Archives offers you something very different. I like looking at the data in different formats, because sometimes I find things that I didn't find on Ancestry.

Johanna Louise said...

I realize has billions of records, but I find that inaccuracies are huge. I also find that the flashing green leaves are generally not helpful and it costs a lot of unnecessary effort and time to deal with them. Info in many trees that are obviously just copy jobs from other trees is often incorrect. Trying to get these fixed and corrected is seemingly not possible. I believe that is because ancestry charges people to see their own trees, and perhaps the tree owners are not members for whatever reason. I am also a member of and am somewhat uncomfortable about them being acquired by

J. Blackford

Anonymous said...

Ancestry is trying to be a monopoly. Where can we go to get something for free anymore? BJ

Anonymous said...

As a subscriber of Archives, I've enjoyed being able to view newspaper clippings that I never would have known about.
I agree with the other comments about the monopoly. Leave the little guys alone.

Anonymous said...

While our numbers are growing, there are only so many family historians and genealogists who are willing to pay for subscriptions to such websites as and Those subscriptions are the revenue that allows these companies to continue to digitize and index more records.

While I believe that some competition is necessary, I can also see that more players in the genealogy records business means diluted revenue for all resulting in more duplication of existing record sets and less new material digitized and indexed.
That said, I would have to say I’m in favor of this acquisition of by Ancestry, but I am also very interested to see what happens when brightsolid steps into the US genealogy record arena beyond their current website.

With their pay-as-you-go option and the expertise they bring from their UK website “Find My Past”, I think they will be a very worth competitor to

Anonymous said...

I question how gets all information off the internet. What I could get for free I find I am no longer able to get with out paying a fee because information is gobbled up by I resent this very much