Business News

MyHeritage Announces an Update to the Theory of Family Relativity™

MyHeritage just refreshed all the data for the Theory of Family Relativity™, a method by which the company identifies probable relatives of yours, often people you may never heard of previously. The announcement states:

“With this exciting update, you’ll get new and updated theories that explain how you and your DNA Matches may be related. This much-anticipated update may provide you with answers about relationships that have baffled you, as well as offer new insights about your ancestors and family relationships.

KinCrawler.com Has Been Shut Down

KinCrawler was a web crawler/search engine that worked in a similar method as Google but with one major difference: KinCrawler was constantly crawling the web looking for any pages that pertain solely to genealogy. (I described KinCrawler’s operation earlier this year at: https://blog.eogn.com/2019/02/21/new-genealogy-search-engine-at-kincrawler-com/. Sadly, the web site has now been taken offline.

Anthony Marshall, the owner and creator of KinCrawler.com wrote:

How 23andMe Will Mine its Giant DNA Database for Health and Wealth

Since the launch of DNA testing service 23andMe, around 10 million people have spit a half-teaspoon of saliva into a 23andMe plastic tube and mailed it in to get their ancestry or health-risk results. Nearly 5 million customers did so last year alone, generating an estimated $475 million in revenue for the company, which has yet to turn a profit. It’s also made CEO Anne Wojcicki (No. 33 on this year’s list of Richest Self-Made Women) worth an estimated $690 million, almost entirely from her roughly 30% stake in 23andMe, which is valued at $2.5 billion by investors.

While it might make interesting cocktail conversation to reveal that you are 5% Scandinavian and have a genetic disposition to sneeze in the sun, 23andMe’s ambitions are much grander.

National Geographic Society’s Genographic DNA Project to Shut Down

The National Geographic Society’s Genographic Project is shutting down. The project’s web site at https://genographic.nationalgeographic.com/ states:

Genographic Project Update

The Genographic Project was launched in 2005 as a research project in collaboration with scientists and universities around the world with a goal of revealing patterns of human migration. Since then, nearly 1 million people have participated in The Genographic Project through National Geographic’s “Geno” DNA Ancestry kits. The public participation phase of this research project is ending and, as a result, effective May 31, 2019, Geno 2.0 DNA Ancestry kits are no longer available for purchase. If you have already purchased a kit, you may still send it in for processing in accordance with the Terms and Conditions of sale.

National Library of Ireland Genealogy Service 2019

The following announcement was written by Ancestor Network Ltd:

Dublin, Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Ancestor Network Ltd has been awarded the contract to support and assist the genealogy advisory service at the National Library of Ireland in 2019, following a public tender competition.

This is the 8th consecutive year that the National Library of Ireland has selected Ancestor Network to provide this unique genealogy advisory service. It is also the tenth anniversary of the founding of Ancestor Network Ltd in May 2009.

Prediction: The Dead Will Take Over Facebook in the Next 50 Years

An interesting article by Charlie Osborne in the ZDNet web site says that “Analysis suggests that the deceased will soon outnumber the living on the network.”

“An analysis of Facebook user levels in 2018 was conducted, in which the research team estimate at least 1.4 billion current users will die before 2100. Based on this estimate, memorial accounts could outstrip active ones by 2070.

Ancestry’s IPO Talk Shows How Consumer DNA Testing Has Matured

Anastasia Ustinova is a freelance business writer based in Seattle who often writes about business news. She has now written about Ancestry.com’s rumored future IPO, focusing on the popularity of home DNA kits that enable consumers to uncover secrets of their ancestry and health risks.

Ustinova sees good financial news in Ancestry.com‘s future. She writes, “Direct-to-consumer DNA testing sales are projected to reach $310 million by 2022 from $99 million in 2017, according to market researcher Kalorama Information.”

She also has a short quote from me in her article.

You can read Anastasia Ustinova’s article in the Karma Network web site at: http://bit.ly/2Duxm4L.

Ancestry Reportedly is Preparing for a Second IPO as DNA-Test Industry Booms

Ancestry.com LLC is readying an initial public offering (IPO), according to people familiar with the matter, preparing to take advantage of growing consumer interest in DNA tests and investors’ appetite for new health and technology stocks.

It would not be Ancestry’s first time in the stock market. The company, which also hosts online repositories of family trees and historical documents, first went public in 2009, trading under the ticker ACOM after raising $100 million.

It was taken private again in 2012 in a $1.6 billion buyout led by private equity firm Permira Advisers.

Press Release: Bode Forensic Genealogy Service (FGS)

The following announcement was written by the Bode Forensic Genealogy Service:

Bode Technology’s Forensic Genealogy Service, an offering to law enforcement investigators and crime laboratories, combines advanced DNA testing and genealogy to develop ancestral relationships between samples and deliver leads.

The FGS program is a logical expansion of its service offerings to support the law enforcement community. By incorporating Bode’s accredited forensic laboratory, accredited clinical testing laboratories, and board certified and experienced genealogists, Bode has developed a high-quality, turn-key solution for our clients from sample submission through confirmation testing.

F+W Media, Citing Debt, Decline, And Mismanagement, Files For Bankruptcy Protection

F+W Media is a publisher of many popular magazines, books, digital products, videos and other content. Within the genealogy community, the company is best known as the producer of Family Tree Magazine, Family Tree University and the Family Tree website. Sadly, F+W Media filed for bankruptcy protection a few days ago.

Facing near-term liquidity issues with only about $2.5 million in cash available and $105.2 million in outstanding debt, F+W Media filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the federal bankruptcy code, citing in various documents a perfect storm of secular industry decline, poor investments, and even mismanagement.

NOTE: Family Tree Magazine published by F+W Media in the U.S. should not be confused with a magazine of the same name published in England by Warners Group Publications Plc. (See https://www.family-tree.co.uk/ for the “other” Family Tree Magazine.) The two magazines may share a name but nothing else. They are owned and published by totally different companies.

23andMe is Looking to Expand to Millions More Users with a New Genetic DNA Report on Diabetes

One in three people is at risk for diabetes. So 23andMe set out to develop the first direct-to-consumer genetic test to assess whether its users have a higher likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form of the disease. The company has been around for more than a decade, but said its new diabetes report is the first of its kind.

The company is upgrading its $99 and up at-home DNA test to include a report on diabetes, with an explanation on both the genetic and lifestyle factors that influence who’s likely to get the disease in their lifetimes.

MyHeritage Extends DNA Quest Initiative to Help More Adoptees Reunite with Their Birth Families

The following announcement was written by MyHeritage:

MyHeritage pledges 5,000 additional free DNA kits for global distribution to eligible participants, following the success of the first phase of its pro bono initiative

TEL AVIV, Israel & LEHI, Utah–MyHeritage, the leading global service for family history and DNA testing, announced today that it is extending DNA Quest, its pro bono initiative to reunite adoptees with their birth families through at-home DNA testing. The first phase of DNA Quest was launched in March 2018 and offered 15,000 free DNA kits to adoptees and those seeking to reunite with family members who were placed for adoption. This resulted in many successful reunions. Due to the large number of applicants, a waiting list of several thousand people was established after registration closed in May 2018. The next phase of DNA Quest announced today re-opens applications on the project website (www.dnaquest.org) and will offer an additional 5,000 free DNA kits to eligible applicants from all countries. Preference is given to applicants who are unable to afford genetic testing.

MyHeritage helps people find their relatives using its DNA Matching technology. The MyHeritage DNA database is one of the fastest-growing in the industry and currently numbers 2.5 million people, including people who tested on MyHeritage and others who uploaded the results of their DNA test for free from other providers. Numerous participants have already reconnected with long-lost family and others have obtained vital clues to assist them in their search. New discoveries continue to emerge, offering participants newfound hope of reuniting with their long-lost loved ones. The search for biological family, especially for birth parents, is time sensitive, as each year older relatives pass away.

London FamilySearch Centre at The National Archives will Close Permanently on Saturday, 23 March 2019

Advances in technology and rising expenses of doing things “the old way” apparently have caught up with FamilySearch, just like it has everywhere else. For the past few years, FamilySearch has maintained the London FamilySearch Centre (including volunteers who helped patrons with the many microfilms and computers in the Centre) at The National Archives in London, England. Now that Centre is being closed.

The following is the announcement from FamilySearch:

Advances in technology mean that FamilySearch can now provide its free services to
visitors at The National Archives more flexibly. Many records can now be accessed at
home, in one of our local Family History Centres, or in a FamilySearch Affiliate Library.

The National Archives has agreed to become a FamilySearch Affiliate Library, meaning
that access to all digitised records on FamilySearch will continue on PCs located in the
reading rooms. Visitors will need a FREE FamilySearch account to access records and
self-help guides will be available. You will notice little difference, other than that our
volunteer workers will no longer be present to provide 1 to 1 assistance.

Available digital records include:

Findmypast Announces Acquisition of RootsFinder, Inc. and the RootsFinder Family Tree Product

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

  • RootsFinder accelerates Findmypast’s development of the Findmypast Tree.
  • Acquisition marks the latest step in Findmypast’s drive to innovate and enhance user discoveries.
  • RootsFinder founder, Dallan Quass, joins the Findmypast team to assist with future integration work and tree development

Leading family history website, Findmypast, has acquired RootsFinder Inc. and their critically acclaimed RootsFinder family tree product, including new features to help customers analyze their DNA results.

The acquisition reflects Findmypast’s drive to innovate and enhance their customer experience by providing users with new ways to curate, share and explore their family history discoveries. 

Bode Technology Announces Forensic Genealogy Service to Law Enforcement Agencies and Crime Laboratories

This won’t help any of us find our ancestors. However, it is interesting to see what other organizations are doing with DNA databases:

LORTON, VA. FEBRUARY 11, 2019 – Bode Technology (Bode), a leading provider of forensic DNA analysis products and services, announced a new forensic genealogy service offering to law enforcement investigators and crime laboratories. Bode’s Forensic Genealogy Service (FGS) combines advanced DNA testing and genealogy to develop ancestral relationships between samples and deliver leads to our clients.

For more than 20 years, Bode has provided forensic DNA testing services for clients across the world to identify perpetrators of crimes, identify the missing and exonerate the innocent. The results are entered into the national DNA database and investigative leads are developed from the matches within the database, however not all samples result in matches.

New Library Director at the Godfrey

The following announcement was written by the Godfrey Memorial Library in Middletown, Connecticut:

January 9, 2019 – The Godfrey Memorial Library is pleased to announce that Carol Ansel has been appointed Library Director as of January 1, 2019.

Carol has been the Reference Librarian at the Library since July 2018. She has over 35 years of experience in various libraries in Connecticut and is a Board member of the Connecticut Library Consortium.

Brightsolid Announces a new CEO and a new CTO

BrightSolid, the parent company of Findmypast, has announced the appointment of two new executives. Elaine Maddison will fill the role of CEO while Bryan Lambe will join the DC Thomson-owned company as CTO.

Bryan Lambe and Elaine Maddison

Former Findmypast CEO, Elaine Van Der Berg, Moves to Amazon Web Services

Elaine Van Der Berg is well-known in the genealogy community as the former CEO of Findmypast. Her friends and acquaintances will be interested to know that she has a new position at Amazon Web Services in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her new role involves assisting European public sector clients.

Elaine has had an international career with Dell, and other technology companies, before returning to Scotland to work as managing director of G2G3, part of Capita, and then at Brightsolid.

Findmypast Partners With Living DNA to Launch the Most Detailed Ancestry Discovery Experience

The following announcement was written by Findmypast:

  • Findmypast, in collaboration with Living DNA, has launched the most advanced biogeographical ancestry discovery experience on the market
  • This British brand partnership uses cutting-edge science to reveal users’ unique British and Irish heritage across 21 regions and is the first to connect DNA to Findmypast’s archive of more than 9 billion historical records
  • Findmypast and Living DNA’s combined service allows users to pinpoint exactly where in the UK their family roots come from and then use the findings to explore their family history in extensive archives
  • Those who have already taken DNA tests can upload their tests here and make discoveries that only Findmypast DNA can provide

Leading British and Irish family history website, Findmypast, has launched their partnership with leading British DNA testing firm, Living DNA, to create a new biogeographical ancestry experience to help family historians explore their worldwide and British and Irish roots.

Available from today, the partnership combines science and history to allow people to explore their past in more depth than ever before possible. It uses Living DNA’s unique test employing cutting-edge science to provide a unique breakdown of 80 global regions, including 21 across Britain and Ireland. Exclusive to Living DNA, this method delivers a level of detail currently unmatched by any other DNA test available on the market.

Valerie Elkins & DearMYRTLE announce a Joint Venture

The following announcement was written by Valerie Elkins and Pat Richley-Erickson:

Valerie & Myrt’s Excellent Genealogy Adventures debuts today

Colorado Springs, CO, Oct 19, 2018 — In anticipation THE Genealogy Show in Birmingham, England, US-based professional researcher and presenter Valerie Elkins joins blogger and webinar host Pat Richley-Erickson, “Myrt” of DearMYRTLE.com, to announce a new partnership.

“Why not make this trip to the UK, a most excellent genealogy adventure? Every genealogist hopes to travel to ancestral homelands. Throw in a genealogy conference and that’s a family historian’s dream come true,” says Valerie.