Ancestry Appoints Evan Wittenberg as Chief People Officer

The following announcement was written by the folks at

LEHI, Utah and SAN FRANCISCO, July 31, 2017 — Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, today announced that Evan Wittenberg, most recently the Senior Vice President of People at Box, Inc., has joined the company in the new position of Chief People Officer. Wittenberg brings an extensive track record of helping world-class organizations grow and foster their talent while evolving their cultures to support continued expansion.

“There is no higher priority at Ancestry today than our ability to attract and grow the world’s best talent. Very few people can match Evan’s history of leading so many great organizations through change and growth, and fewer still can come close to his track record of success,” said Tim Sullivan, chief executive officer of Ancestry. “I am incredibly proud of the team we have built and of their ability to create a company, brand and products that resonate with millions around the world. Evan will play a critical role in helping us continue to grow and develop the great people we have while attracting the high-caliber talent we need to lead us into tomorrow.”

Since 2012, Wittenberg has been the chief people officer at Box, having led the company’s Human Resources function through explosive growth and a public listing in 2015. In his leadership role, he oversaw all recruiting and talent development initiatives, in addition to compensation and benefits, performance management and succession planning. Prior to Box, Wittenberg was the Chief Talent Officer for HP; the Head of Global Leadership Development at Google; the Director of the Graduate Leadership Program at The Wharton School; and was part of the cultural integration of two world class academic medical centers which created New York Presbyterian Hospital – The University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell.

“The challenges and opportunities at Ancestry are unique,” said Wittenberg. “Here’s a company that people have known in one way for decades, as the leader in genealogy, that is now spearheading the creation of a whole new high-tech, high-science industry in consumer genomics. I’m excited to be joining an organization that recognizes the strategic importance of talent to its future, and even more excited to be playing a significant role in helping the company’s culture evolve with its business.”

Wittenberg is starting immediately in Ancestry’s San Francisco office and will oversee the company’s People and Places team, which is responsible for all HR functions including talent acquisition and development, total rewards, facilities and leadership development. One of his initial priorities is achieving the company’s aggressive hiring targets in San Francisco where it is looking to add substantial headcount in its technical, engineering and data science functions.

About Ancestry

Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, harnesses the information found in family trees, historical records, and DNA to help people gain a new level of understanding about their lives. Ancestry has more than 2.6 million paying subscribers across its core Ancestry websites and more than 4 million people in the AncestryDNA network. Since 1996, more than 20 billion records have been added to Ancestry’s databases, and users have created more than 90 million family trees on the Ancestry flagship site and its affiliated international websites. Ancestry offers a suite of family history products and services including AncestryDNA, Archives, AncestryProGenealogists, and Fold3. AncestryDNA is owned and operated by DNA, LLC, a subsidiary of, LLC.


“Ancestry offers a suite of family history products and services…”

In this grandiose “suite” is ROOTSWEB Mailing Lists (and Message Boards) where family researchers pose questions and elicit answers about research techniques and family connections. Rootsweb Mailing List has NOT worked properly for near 3 years, with a huge crash a year ago. I am one of thousands who have contributed via Mailing Lists, and the majority of members still subscribe to How can they not? Ancestry is the most comprehensive international site for genealogy.

For anyone to say that Rootsweb is not financially profitable to Ancestry is wrong. It’s the carrot that lures in researchers TO

Last week several Rootsweb List Admins and members emailed Rootsweb Help Desk stating what is not working and asking for it
to be rectified. They received responses from Kevin, stating that they’re aware of the problem and have no idea WHEN it will be fixed.

Another Rootsweb list member phoned Ancestry HQ. The person answering the phone never heard of Rootsweb!

Does CEO Tim Sullivan know about this problem, AND is he hiring someone with the expertise to straighten it out?

Where’s the beef Ancestry?


I second all of the above. The Brooklyn Mailing List at Rootsweb was a very active list. It was all about researchers asking for help from other researchers. Ancestry must have hired the same company as Ellis Island hired to “improve” (not) their web site.


A People Officer!
Good grief. What next…


If Wittenberg thinks that Ancestry is “the leader in genealogy”, he is sadly mistaken. Real genealogist know better. Ancestry has never had any interest in genealogy other than as a means of making money. If they truly wanted to improve the hobby and become a leader they would work WITH local societies and organizations, rather than attempt to force them out. They would also produce television commercials and programs that better reflect the hobby i.e quit insinuating that everything is in Ancestry.


Rosemarie Aguirre August 3, 2017 at 4:18 pm

When ancestry came out to the public, I was very happy..recently, I’ve learned that they no longer accept money orders, only credit cards or debit cards and I was disappointed because i haven’t been on ancestry for awhile..some people do not have a credit card and some people don’t have a debit card either…I spent over an hour at my bank to get a debit card..I’m one of the millions of people that can not get around that easy… Physical limitations make me choose between the joy of knowing my family history or just sitting around my house wondering who they orders was a short trip to the post office and back…now, I’ m told I have to have a checking account in order to get a debit card..i think charging the public a lot of money to find out about their ancestors is enough but than you make the people that don’t have credit cards or debit cards fight at the bank to get one..not all your ancestry members are rich…I know I’m not..why money orders were excluded from this enterprise is strange to orders don’t bouce…checks bounce..I hope that ancestry will reconsider not eliminating money orders from people who have a chance to be introduced to their ancesters whether in writing or in pictures…I know that feeling when I started way back..please don’t spoil the joy this enterprise gives to the world…. When you bring tears to peoples eyes, your doing a good thing…a credit card or debit card should not get in the way of that…. Thank you.. Rosemarie Aguirre


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