1837online.com is one of the most popular genealogy web sites in the U.K. It has thousand of users who pay for access. The company also has a major presence each year at the Family History Fair held in London. In fact, you can see several pictures I took of the big 1837online.com exhibit with many computers connected online at last year's Family History Fair at http://blog.eogn.com/photos/sog2005. The company will again sponsor the 2006 Family History Fair to be held in a few weeks.
Now 1837online.com is for sale.
Thomson Dialog NewsEdge is reporting that 1837online.com has been approached by a number of possible buyers. The family-owned company has appointed Price Waterhouse Coopers to advise the company on a sale.
Unlike most of the other major genealogy web sites, 1837online.com was founded long before the invention of the Internet. The parent company is Title Research, founded by Thomas H. Curran in 1965. The company originally was a consulting firm for probate professionals. It carried out research for solicitors trying to trace unknown or missing beneficiaries for trusts. Thomas H Curran retired in 2000 and his son Tom Curran, previously head of marketing services at BMG Entertainment, became chief executive in 2001.
The invention of the Internet provided the company with a new business opportunity to provide records directly to the public. The company digitized records for which it had rights from national censuses and births, marriages, and deaths records and national censuses.
Title Research and its 1837online.com subsidiary are reportedly profitable with annual revenues of 10 million pounds (17.5 million US dollars) and profit of 3.5 million pounds (6.1 million U.S. dollars). An article on the Daily Telegraph's web site speculates that the asking price for the company probably is between £30 million and £40 million ($52 million to $70 million in U.S. dollars).