Business News

MyHeritage DNA Opens a European Distribution Center

One recent press release caught my eye and may interest European readers of this newsletter: MyHeritage Ltd. has opened a new distribution center for its DNA testing kits in Tilburg, a city in the south of the Netherlands, the company announced Sunday. The new center will ship and collect kits to and from most countries in Europe. Customers in Norway and Switzerland will be serviced through the company’s U.S. offices.

The move is part of a wider plan to accelerate MyHeritage’s growth in Europe, Ran Michnowski, vice president of operations for the company said in a statement.

The full announcement may be found at: http://bit.ly/2OvxS6z.

Ancestry.com is closing its Utah Call Center and will Outsource All Calls to Another Company

Ancestry.com has announced the company will close its Orem, Utah, call center, lay off all the call center employees, and transfer all future calls to an outside customer contact business. The change is expected to take place in the fourth quarter of 2018.

The change will affect less than 100 local employees, according to an Ancestry.com spokesperson. Most of the individuals will be able to move into other roles at Ancestry, or with the new call center partner which is also located in Utah. The positions will all remain in the United States.

Details may be found in an article by Karissa Neely in the Daily Herald web site at: https://tinyurl.com/ycocyuem.

 

Findmypast and Living DNA Announce a Partnership

The following announcement was written by Findmypast and Living DNA:

  • The two leading British companies are creating a new DNA experience focused on uncovering British & Irish roots
  • New service will be launched in Fall 2018
  • Living DNA tests now available at Findmypast  

Thursday July 19th: Leading British and Irish family history website, Findmypast, has today announced a new partnership with the providers of the world’s most advanced DNA test, Living DNA.

Together, the two British companies are creating a new DNA experience that is designed to help customers explore their British and Irish roots. This new experience will combine cutting-edge science with traditional family history research methods, allowing families to discover more about their past and present.

The Largest Private Historical Archive in the USA of 4.5 Million Photos, Drawings, Engravings and More is For Sale

I doubt if many private individuals can afford this but a genealogy society, historical society, or perhaps a company that offers historical information on the World Wide Web might be very interested. The historical D. Jay Culver collection, valued at $163.2 million, is offered for $15 million.

According to the announcement from the company handling the sale:

“This unique collection, including more than 4.5 million photographs, plates, line drawings, prints, engravings, playbills and other historical art, delivers a solid opportunity for substantial estimated return on investment. For example, the value of less than one percent of the collection exceeds the asking price of $15 million.

Ancestor Network Appointed by National Library of Ireland to Provide Genealogy Advisory Service

The following announcement was written by Ancestor Network Ltd. of Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Tuesday, 1 May 2018 – Following a competitive public tender process, Ancestor Network Ltd has been awarded the contract to support and assist the genealogy advisory service with the National Library of Ireland in 2018.

This is the 7th consecutive year that the National Library of Ireland has selected Ancestor Network to provide this unique genealogy service.

Ancestry Names Margo Georgiadis Chief Executive Officer

The following announcement was written by Ancestry.com:

Appointment Concludes Six-Month Global Search

Interim CEO Howard Hochhauser to Return to Role as CFO and COO

LEHI, Utah and SAN FRANCISCO — April 19, 2018 — Ancestry, the global leader in family history and consumer genomics, today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Margo Georgiadis as Chief Executive Officer and member of the Board of Directors. Georgiadis will join the company on May 10, 2018. Most recently Georgiadis served as Chief Executive Officer of Mattel, Inc. and prior to that as President, Americas, at Google Inc. Georgiadis will succeed Howard Hochhauser, who has served as interim CEO since October 2017 while the Board conducted a comprehensive six-month search for a permanent CEO. Hochhauser will return to his role as Ancestry’s CFO and COO.

“I am thrilled to join Ancestry at a dynamic period of accelerated growth and innovation,” said Georgiadis. “Ancestry is incredibly well-positioned for continued success and rapid expansion, as millions of consumers around the world embark on their journey of self-discovery with us. I am excited to help realize Ancestry’s mission to connect the world and enhance our consumers’ understanding of who they are and where they come from. In partnership with the world-class Ancestry team, together we will seek to drive the company to new heights.”

A New Partnership is Announced: Ontario Genealogical Society and the NextGen Genealogy Network

The following announcement was written by the NextGen Genealogy Network and the Ontario Genealogical Society:

The NextGen Genealogy Network (NGGN) and the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS) are pleased to announce a new partnership. OGS is providing NGGN with financial support, together with promotional support in the OGS weekly online newsletter, eWeekly, together with an information page on the OGS website.

NGGN, a United States based 501(c)(3) Charitable Organization was founded in 2013 to create a community for young genealogists. Building connections and fostering engagement among young genealogists eighteen to fifty, NGGN strives to build connections between generations, and welcomes the friendship, mentorship, and support of our fellow genealogists of all ages.

Findmypast Acquires Genealogy Startup Twile – Winner of Two RootsTech Innovation Awards

I have written often in the past about Findmypast and several times about Twile. It is nice to learn of this “marriage.” Here is a major announcement made at RootsTech today, written by Findmypast:

Leading British family history website, Findmypast, has announced their acquisition of genealogy startup Twile, creators of the visual family history timeline and winner of two RootsTech innovation awards.

The acquisition reflects Findmypast’s drive to innovate and enhance customers’ family history experience by providing them with new ways to share their family stories.

Twile enables family historians to create interactive timelines with their family memories and set them against the context of world history. Twile provides new and engaging ways of telling your family’s story via beautiful infographics and other visualizations.

MyHeritage on BBC World News

MyHeritage’s Founder and CEO, Gilad Japhet, visited the BBC’s London studio to speak to Aaron Heslehurst and Talking Business, BBC World News’ flagship business show. They spoke about MyHeritage DNA and the future of genetic genealogy. Japhet also talked about the growth of MyHeritage and the growth of DNA as a genealogy tool.

You can watch the interview on YouTube at https://youtu.be/WBWE9saXOD0 or in the video player below.

Canadian Military Looking for DNA and Burial Experts to Help ID Missing War Dead

The Canadian Department of National Defence is seeking forensic DNA experts and funeral organizers to help its efforts to recover, identify and arrange burials for Canada’s nearly 28,000 missing war dead. The prospective group of anthropologists, archaeologists and genealogists would help the department’s Casualty Identification Program analyze DNA from the remains of formerly missing Canadian servicemen discovered around the world.

The program has been identifying and organizing burials for Canada’s formerly missing war dead since 2007. Bidding on the new contract closes March 12.

Details may be found at: http://bit.ly/2EOgdEM.

Your Family History Magazine is Going Out of Business

Your Family History Magazine has been a printed magazine produced in the U.K. for the past 15 years. Sadly, it is no more. According to the magazine’s web site at https://subscribe.yourfamilyhistorymag.co.uk/yourfamilyhistory:

“After 15 years at the forefront of genealogy advice, Your Family History is saying farewell. Issue 192 (out in mid-February) will be the last issue you will receive – and, once again, it will be packed with useful information on how to get the most out of your research. As a loyal subscriber, we thank you for your support and wish you all the very best in your family history adventure.”

Looking for Help in the Heredis Booth at RootsTech

Heredis is a very popular genealogy program for Windows, Macintosh, iPad, iPhone, and Android. At least, it is popular in Europe and in many other places although I don’t hear as much about it in North America. The folks who produce Heredis are working to change that. They plan to have an exhibit booth at RootsTech 2018 in Salt Lake City to demonstrate Heredis to everyone there. However, they are looking for some help in that booth. Are you interested?

Comment from Dick Eastman: I have used Heredis a lot and am very impressed with the propgram. It certainly is competitive with the other leading genealogy programs of today and I can see why it is so popular in many different countries. To see my past articles about Heredis, start at https://duckduckgo.com/?q=site%3Aeogn.com+heredis&t=hg&ia=web.

The following announcement was written by the folks who produce Heredis:

CompuServe’s Forums Are Closing On December 15

Sad news: the CompuServe forums are closing down. Admittedly, they have been declining for years and the end always appeared to be inevitable. Still, it is sad news when it the shutdown is finally announced. Many online genealogists got their start on CompuServe’s Genealogy Forum.

You can read more about the closure of CompuServe’s forums at: http://bit.ly/2zKhN5T.

I feel especially saddened as I was the one who founded the Genealogy Forum on CompuServe in 1988. It was my first entry into online publishing and running a discussion board. While CompuServe canceled my contract years ago and I moved on to other things, I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the Genealogy Forum on CompuServe.

Legacy Tree Genealogists Honored as One of Utah’s 100 Fastest-Growing Companies

The following announcement was written by Legacy Tree Genealogists:

Legacy Tree Genealogists announced today it was named to the 2017 Utah 100, MountainWest Capital Network (MWCN)’s annual list of the 100 fastest-growing companies in Utah. The company was honored at the 23rd annual Utah 100 Awards program, held at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City.

Legacy Tree Genealogists Honored as MWCN Utah100 fastest growing companies in Utah“We are excited to receive this recognition,” said Jessica Taylor, founder and president of Legacy Tree Genealogists. “This growth wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of each member of our team and their commitment to provide consistently high-quality research for our clients.”

Ancestry Delays IPO

This sounds like a ping-pong game. Ancestry first went public in 2009 on the NASDAQ Exchange with the ticker ACOM in a $100 million IPO. The company later went private through a $1.6 billion private equity acquisition in 2012 and was valued at $2.6 billion in an investment round last year. In June of this year, Ancestry said it had filed paperwork to go public once again.

Now Tim Sullivan has announced he is stepping down from the Ancestry CEO position and will instead become Chairman of the Board. (See the announcement published yesterday in this newsletter at http://bit.ly/2w5Xq4g.) In a related move, Sullivan also said that the recently-announced IPO will now be delayed.

The assumption can be made that the Board of Directors decided to wait until a new CEO is named and then will let him or her drive the IPO effort.

Huge Changes in the Genealogy Businesses

In a strange coincidence, two of the larger providers of genealogy information have announced new CEOs this morning:

Ancestry CEO Tim Sullivan is stepping down to become Chairman of the Board and is being replaced temporarily by the company’s CFO/COO Howard Hochhauser. The Ancestry Board of Directors is conducting an external search for CEO candidates.

FindmyPast has been operating for some time with an interim CEO but has now announced the appointment of Tamsin Todd to guide the company into the future. Former interim CEO, Jay Verkler, has been appointed Chairman of the Board.

What does this mean to the genealogy business and to individual genealogists? I have no idea. My crystal ball was sent out for polishing some time ago. However, I suspect there will be very few changes in the immediate future, to be followed by some major shifts in business plans and operations in 2018 and beyond. I would not be surprised to read about future acquisitions, mergers, and cooperative partnerships amongst the 4 or 5 largest players in this industry.

This should be fun to watch!

Findmypast Appoints Tamsin Todd as CEO

The following announcement was written by FindMyPast:

Findmypast strengthens its management team with two key appointments – Tamsin Todd, an experienced digital and ecommerce leader, takes over as CEO and Jay Verkler, former interim CEO, has been appointed Chairman of the Board

London, September 12th 2017

Findmypast has named Tamsin Todd as new CEO. Tamsin has worked in the travel, retail and technology sectors, and brings a track record of leading successful growth businesses. She spent the early part of her career at Amazon and then Microsoft, where she led the introduction of ecommerce and search products into UK and Europe. This was followed by stints as Head of Ecommerce at Betfair, and Managing Director of TUI-owned Crystal Ski Holidays. She joins Findmypast from Addison Lee, where she was Chief Customer Officer of Europe’s largest car service company. Tamsin lives in London with her family, and is Digital Trustee of the Imperial War Museums.

Ancestry CEO Tim Sullivan Stepping Down; Will Transition to Chairman

Major news within the genealogy business community! The following announcement was released this morning by Ancestry:

Company CFO/COO Howard Hochhauser Named Interim CEO

LEHI, Utah, Sept. 12, 2017 — Ancestry today announced that, after twelve years of leading the company, Chief Executive Officer, Tim Sullivan is stepping down and will transition to Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors, effective October 1. In his time as CEO, Sullivan has built the company into the recognized world leader in family history, overseen its transformation into the world’s largest consumer genomics provider, and grown revenues to what is expected to be in excess of $1 billion for the full year 2017. Howard Hochhauser, the company’s Chief Financial Officer since 2009 and Chief Operating Officer since 2012, will assume the role of interim CEO as the company conducts a search for a permanent replacement.

MyHeritage Acquires the Legacy Family Tree Software and Webinar Platform

Major news in the genealogy software marketplace! MyHeritage has acquired Millennia Corporation, makers of the popular Legacy Family Tree genealogy desktop software and well-attended genealogy webinar platform, Legacy Family Tree Webinars.

The following is a quote from the MyHeritage Blog:

We’re delighted to announce today that we’ve acquired Millennia Corporation, makers of the popular Legacy Family Tree genealogy desktop software and well-attended genealogy webinar platform, Legacy Family Tree Webinars. This is our 9th acquisition to date. We consider Legacy’s products to be highly complementary to our wide range of features and services. The acquisition will introduce MyHeritage users to Legacy’s valuable genealogical webinars, and will also provide Legacy’s hundreds of thousands of users with improved resources and access to new services.

Legacy’s webinars, which have been around since 2010, have become the most popular source of education in the genealogy industry. Viewers enjoy talks accompanied by presentations and tutorials on a wide variety of genealogy content from the comfort of their own homes while learning from speakers who are leaders in their field, such as Judy G. Russell, Blaine Bettinger, Lisa Louise Cooke, and Thomas MacEntee. Topics include genealogical research methodology, DNA, historical records, and more. The webinars will continue to feature diverse and high-quality educational content. The webinar platform will also enjoy infrastructure upgrades to support larger audiences.

Ancestry Appoints Evan Wittenberg as Chief People Officer

The following announcement was written by the folks at Ancestry.com:

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.”