Wednesday, March 11, 2015

It’s Almost Friday the 13th and I am Behind!

Ancestry Insider KetchupI have no time. I’m way behind on articles. That’s unlucky. Time to ketchup…

Ancestry.com Has New Head of Product Management

I briefly mentioned before that the former lead, Eric Shoup, had left Ancestry.com. Last week, Ancestry.com announced that Kendall Hulet was their new Senior Vice President of Product Management. Rather than go outside as they did with Eric, they hired Kendall from within. I worked with Kendall and I think they’ve made a good choice. One memory is having a discussion about One World Tree. Ancestry.com had preloaded One World Tree with a bunch of junk and then found customers didn’t like it. Small wonder. I advocated starting the tree from scratch. He explained that they had done the market research and found that customers didn’t want a single, shared tree. From thence, Ancestry.com member trees were born. History has proven he was right.

Read the entire press release on Ancestry.com.

Ancestry.com and HeritageQuest

The search on HeritageQuest now uses the sometimes abhorred search engine from Ancestry.com. On a librarian’s mailing list, Cynthia Steinhoff wrote, “The latest flavor of a search engine in Ancestry is more frustrating than the ones that have come before it.  I am sorry to see that [one] has been added to Heritage Quest.”

I need to dig in a bit more on this story than I have time now. I’ll revisit this later.

AARP Discount

Ancestry.com’s Matt Deighton asked that I clarify the AARP/Ancestry.com situation. I didn’t know there was an AARP/Ancestry.com situation. I guess I don’t know AARP. Here’s the information from Matt:

There has been some confusion recently concerning the AARP discount. I wanted to reach out and clarify a few things. Part of the confusion is the difference between the agreement with Ancestry and AARP expiring and an individual account expiring. For simplicity I’ve listed the facts:

AARP Agreement with Ancestry.com

  • The original agreement with AARP was for one-year and we are working to renew that contract now
  • The current agreement with AARP will expire March 31st but we are almost certain we will have the new contact signed by then so members will see no lapse in opportunity to sign up for the discount
  • The contract with AARP does not affect ancestry’s agreement with our members in offering the discount. Even if the agreement was not renewed with AARP, we will still be offering the discount to our members who already signed up for the time agreed upon

Personal Use of the AARP Discount

  • You can only use the AARP discount of 30% one time (the discount only works for Word Explorer)
  • Regardless of what duration of membership you have, the discount will last up to 1-year
  • After receiving a year of the discount, you will be billed at the normal rate
  • If you are already an Ancestry member, simply call into our customer support line no more than 1 month before the end of your contract and we can migrate you over to the AARP discount (if you are monthly we can change you over at any time)
  • You can move over at any point but you will lose the remainder of your current subscription…so better to just wait until it runs out.

RootsTech 2015 Videos

The RootsTech 2015 videos are now online for free watching. See http://www.rootstech.org/video/4050134760001. Family Discover Day videos for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are available at https://www.lds.org/topics/family-history/familydiscoveryday

What’s New on FamilySearch

Each month FamilySearch plans to publish a list of what’s new on FamilySearch. They’ve got one on their blog (see https://familysearch.org/blog/en/whats-familysearchjanuary-2015/) and one in their help center (see http://broadcast2.lds.org/elearning/fhd/help-center/whats-new/whats-new-public-latest.pdf).

Ancestry.com Financial Results

If you can’t sleep, you may wish to try to wade through the 4th quarter financial statement from Ancestry.com. Two stats jumped out at me: the amount of debt and the decline in the number of subscribers.

They have $884.5 million in long-term debt.

The number of subscribers at the end of 2014 was about 2,115,000, down from about 2,140,000 a year earlier.

See http://ir.ancestry.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=894453

Coverage Maps

FamilySearch has done some amazing maps showing coverage of some of its U.S. county marriage record collections. Check out a map of California showing coverage of FamilySearch marriage records. I found a link to this map in the FamilySearch wiki. From there, I found what appears to be the home page of the maps. Only a few states are done. it would be cool if they did (although it will enable competitors to target counties for acquisition, locking the records up behind pay walls).

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Inmates Volunteer for Family History Indexing

“Inside county jails across Utah, Arizona and Idaho, nearly 2,300 inmates voluntarily meet as family history indexing teams to help organize genealogical records around the world,” wrote Megan Marsden Christensen of KSL.com. The inmates are participating in FamilySearch Indexing. I wonder if boredom is a constant plague suffered by inmates. I bet indexing is very fulfilling for them, allowing them to fill their time with something meaningful.

To read the entire article, visit http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=33131183

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