Thursday, September 13, 2007

Their Goals

What are the real missions of the big genealogy companies?

Ancestry.com (The Generations Network)
Connecting Families across distance and time
Meet Your Ancestors. Discover their Stories. Your Family History awaits....

Family Search
Where Generations Meet

World Vital Records
The Fastest Growing Genealogy Resource on the Web!

Footnote
History for the People
Discover. Discuss. Connect. Share.

I have no doubt Family Search - the LDS church - will stay focused. They, we, are in this for all the right reasons.

As far as the others - it is up to them. Are you going to live up to these mission statements or transform yourselves into corporations only interested in corporate things? If you stay focused on your goals - your slogans - no issues. Once you become more interested in other aspects of the corporate world – you have lost the vision.

I fully believe and support all these companies - in particular Ancestry and the church. It is my hope that Ancestry continues to offer its services and expand them in such a way as to be more connected to the genealogical world not less.

I am in the process of creating sites with the specific goal of creating new family historians. I am sending these people to Ancestry.com and other sites in the hope they will catch the genealogy bug and continue for many years to come in their family history research.

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Dick Eastman - CEO

I know very little about World Vital Records. I have met a few of the folks there at a few genealogy conferences but not much beyond that.

This week WVR announced a new Argentine Database, partnership, which sounded very exciting. As far as I know there is not yet a significant collection of Latin American databases at either WVR or Ancestry.com. In researching Peru and other countries I was stuck with just microfilms provided by the church - none of them digitized. The records I searched were from the Catholic Cathedral in San Luren Ica Ica Peru which collapsed a few weeks ago in the earthquake.

In the past I had hoped to be the Latin American, Spain, Spanish acquisitions person at Ancestry. I served a mission in Argentina and feel very comfortable there. I also worked as an intern in Spain, France, and Portugal with BYU's immigrant ancestor project which is now doing very well. I worked under George Ryskamp with Leandro Soria. Leandro and I travelled extensively to archives all over these three countries. We were searching for archives that had good collections of emigrant records where they are now sending other interns to digitize them and make them available on their site at BYU.

It seems either Ancestry or World Vital Records would partner with BYU in this effort. Maybe they have and I missed the announcement. BYU is doing a great things but can only do so much with 11 or so interns travelling each year. I would hope WVR can make a deal with BYU - or Ancestry. I would guess since the church owns BYU they will get this content into their online collections and this of course is also great but may take some time to happen.

So....what is it I love about WVR? It's this - Paul Allen mentions in his early blogs that he was travelling quite a bit in records acquisitions efforts. Paul, I encourage you to keep doing that - be that involved in family history that you are actually visiting the archives and essentially doing family history. I think you understand family historians better than most.

I am no longer at Ancestry.com but I am hearing the real world views of many people. Essentially the view is - that they do not like it when we lose the real essence of what is going on - that leaders of these companies have lost the magic touch. While shedding excess weight is an important part of any large corporation - see post by the Ancestry Insider - it is much more important that these companies be run by folks less interested in mergers and acquisitions and more in tune with what is really going on around them.

Right - did I get that message right from those of you whom I have talked with?

Paul - you are not blogging as much as you used to - you seem awfully busy. Are you falling into this trap? Is the truth that you too are simply growing another company and making it ripe to acquire and then be left to the realms of the corporate world? Not the genealogy world?

Dick Eastman when are you going to lead one of these companies - no doubt you would stay focused on the real work going on around you.

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