Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday Mailbox: Persistent Partnership/Ownership Questions

The Ancestry Insider's Monday MailboxDear Readers,

Shirley R posted this comment on the Ancestry Insider website:

Will this transferring to mean that they will have access to all and then CHARGE people to view the information? That is why I quit putting info into Family Search because it happened with another site that I had entered information. I never plan to PAY for what was freely given.

T responded with this comment,

I didn't know familysearch was incorporated with When did that happen?

Dear T, What do you mean by “incorporated?”

A recurring misunderstanding in the genealogy community is the mistaken belief that owns FamilySearch. That is not the case.

Perhaps you are worried about the partnership between the two. Let me address that in a moment. First, let me talk about ownership. Acquisitions have made it challenging to remember who owns whom at any given moment. has acquired,, iArchives and its property (formerly, We’re Related,,, 1000 Memories, and most recently, was a powerhouse in its day and through it inherited Banner Blue’s Family Tree Maker, World Family Tree,, and Automated Archives’s Family Archive CD library. also owns and websites.

Strategic partnerships further muddle the waters.

In August 2008 established a strategic partnership with JewishGen. now owns and operates the servers that host In exchange, gets to publish many JewishGen databases. Those are available for free on with its powerful search technology. If has acquired enough of their content, why acquire them?

In September 2013 established a strategic partnership with FamilySearch. (See “ Announces Extensive Partnership with FamilySearch” and “More Information on Agreement.”) gets to publish many FamilySearch databases. In exchange, FamilySearch gets the privilege of collaborating with on several projects. If has acquired enough of their content, why acquire them?

Dear Shirley,

What do you mean by transferred? Information is being shared, not moved. FamilySearch has repeatedly reiterated that the content given to will continue to be available and free on

I don’t think either party has disclosed whether all FamilySearch information will be given to Given that some FamilySearch record collections are available only to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I think it is safe to say that not all FamilySearch collections will be transferred to

I don’t think they have disclosed whether or not user-contributed content will be shared, although the FamilySearch terms and conditions allow it.

They haven’t disclosed whether will charge for the information, although in the past I’ve pointed out databases from FamilySearch that does charge for.

I’m curious about the collaborative projects. and FamilySearch collaborated on the U.S. censuses. Now for some censuses users must pay for access to images, even though FamilySearch created the images and FamilySearch volunteers helped create the indexes. I hope they won’t be doing any of those kinds of projects!

Let me talk about two other organizations.

MyHeritage owns,,, and FamilySearch and MyHeritage announced a strategic partnership back in October 2013. (See “MyHeritage Announces Partnership With FamilySearch.”)

FamilySearch and DC Thomson Family History (formerly brightSolid) announced a strategic partnership that same month. (See “FamilySearch/FindMyPast Announce Agreement.”) DC Thomson Family History owns,,,,,,,, British Newspaper Archive,, Friends Reunited, and Genes Reunited. For information, see “FGS: Chris van der Kuyl, CEO, brightsolid.”

--The Ancestry Insider


  1. My biggest complaint is that many of the "free" sites say they have a number of databases; but when one tries to go to them, they only give links to other "PAY SITES" and a paid subscription is needed to access the information needed!

  2. When I replied to Shirley R my reply was taken out of context and created a completely different explanation. I would like to delete that comment since your reply to me has nothing to do with Shirley's original post.

    1. If you are speaking of the original comment here (, you may delete it if you so desire.

      --The Ancestry Insider

  3. One correction: DC Thomas Family History wasn't formerly "brightsolid" (small S, regardless), but formerly "brightsolid online publishing". brightsolid online technology, a part of brightsolid distinct from the "online publishing" part, still exists as a part of DC Thomson.

    1. Good point. Thanks for the clarification.

      --The Ancestry Insider