This is our seventh and largest acquisition so far and the two Websites are joining the MyHeritage family. The exciting news was released on Techcrunch and announced by us in a press release that you can read here. We will soon be sending a personal email to our users about it.
Here is some information about this news and its importance to the users and the genealogy world:
What got MyHeritage interested in FamilyLink?
FamilyLink has been one of the major players in the family history space and we've been tracking it since 2006. As you can see in this much cited list of the most popular genealogy websites worldwide:
their two websites FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com have been ranked as the #8 and #30 most popular websites in 2011. That's substantial.
MyHeritage.com itself is #2 on the list, and obviously growing in strength through this acquisition.
FamilyLink was particularly interesting for MyHeritage, because it has a major asset that we lacked: historical records. Billions of them. Historical records are the natural companion for family trees, which are our specialty.
Together users will enjoy automatic matches with this historical content. As an example, FamilyLink allowed you to manually search the world's largest collection of historical newspapers. But on MyHeritage.com, you won't have to search manually. Our users have already uploaded 21 million family trees, with almost one billion profiles, so we intend to automatically search, on behalf of each of our users, for relevant mentions of his/her ancestors in newspapers in the last 300 years. Then just show the best results we discovered. The same of course with all the historical content records. This is family history at its best. Effortless, Educating, Enjoyable and Easy to share with family.
What will happen with the FamilyLink employees?
All employees who were working on the FamilyLink genealogy business are continuing with MyHeritage. We are very happy with this, as they are a super talented team. They have many skills that we were looking for, such as expertise in obtaining and managing billions of historical records. As you can see from the photo below, the FamilyLink employees are also very happy to be joining the MyHeritage family. Paul Allen, the founder of FamilyLink.com, will not be continuing with MyHeritage. Paul Brockbank, the CEO of FamilyLink.com, will help us with the transition and later join the MyHeritage advisory board. We will keep the same office of FamilyLink and it will become the first MyHeritage office in the USA, in Provo, Utah.
Who's on the new MyHeritage USA team?
We're proud to introduce our great new team. From left to right: Standing in top row: John, Justin, Paul H., Ricky, Richard, Spencer, David, Mark. Sitting in bottom row: Christine, Paul B., Lindsey, Tara. Plus Julie who missed the photo shoot!
Why is the first U.S. office going to be in Utah?
Utah is one of the best places to be in the family history world. Salt Lake City, with the Family History Library of the LDS, is considered by many to be the genealogy capital of the world.
There may be more interest and passion in genealogy in Utah, per capita, than anywhere else in the world. Israel, where the MyHeritage headquarters are located, also ranks very high in this regard.
The region of Salt Lake City, Provo and Orem has an abundance of talented engineers who also adore, and often practice, genealogy. There is also a lot of expertise already developed by people who have worked in the past in genealogy companies and in FamilySearch.org, the genealogy website of the Mormon Church. This makes Utah a great place to hire talent for any genealogy company. So it makes a lot of sense for us to have our USA office here.
What is your goal for the company? For customers?
We would like to make MyHeritage the best choice for families all over the world to explore their history and share it. We would like to provide services not just about the past, but also about the present. Building family trees is a very important aspect of this, and historical records are also an essential ingredient. They add color and help understand the past. On top of this family history core, we are adding more services and value for families in layers, using our new Family Graph API. For example, look out for our automatically generated printed family calendars, coming up very soon! In addition, we want to continue and make the experience of using the service simpler and friendlier, and have it work across all devices including mobile phones and tablets. We're striving to make the service appealing for genealogists, but also to family members, including people with little or no interest in family history. We're building a safe online place to keep in touch with family, where privacy is still respected and guarded. Our website is global and operates in 38 languages. A large percentage of our staff is international and we have presence on the ground in multiple countries, with Facebook and Twitter accounts, and daily blogs, in many languages. So we see our service as a global one, and we plan to increase the historical record collections that FamilyLink had, to provide more global coverage. In the long term, naive as it may sound, we'd love for all families of the world to be enjoying our platform.
How much did MyHeritage pay to buy FamilyLink?
Financial specifics cannot be divulged, but we can confirm that this represents our largest acquisition to-date.
Why did the deal not include the We're Related application for Facebook?
The Facebook application called We're Related developed by FamilyLink was not part of the sale, it has been developed by a separate business unit and staff of the sellers, and it will continue to operate independently after the deal, and will not be affiliated with MyHeritage. Neither will be a few other smaller properties of FamilyLink such as an advertising network.
How exactly will this work? Will FamilyLink take the MyHeritage name?
We are retaining the brands FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com but we have added "A MyHeritage company" below them.
To introduce the merger, we have announced that generous discounts will be given on each service, to the existing users of the other. The FamilyLink content will gradually be migrated to MyHeritage as well. Further down the road we anticipate that we will consolidate all the services and content into MyHeritage.
What do MyHeritage users get out of this, how is the integration going to work?
This merger gives MyHeritage complementary assets, to the benefit of existing and new users of MyHeritage. All the content on MyHeritage was, until now, user-contributed family trees and family photos, and all the content on FamilyLink consists of historical records. All the historical records will be gradually added to MyHeritage, adding a lot of value to the users, especially once Smart Matching is expanded to automatically find relevant historical records for users on the people in their family trees. By exploring the historical records, users will be able to shed light on the past and discover much more about their family history.
Will paying subscribers of MyHeritage get access to the FamilyLink data for free?
No, but paying subscribers of MyHeritage will receive higher discounts to FamilyLink subscriptions than anyone else. This is a great time to be a MyHeritage subscriber because of these excellent discounts, and users who are considering to become subscribers are encouraged to do so, as during an introductory period of a few weeks, it will be more affordable to get complementary subscriptions on both MyHeritage and FamilyLink than later on.
What type of historical records does FamilyLink have?
There are many thousands of data collections included on the site and they can be browsed here: http://familylink.com/contentsearch.aspx?placeheader=state They consist of newspapers, birth, marriage, death, census, military, immigration records, historical maps, yearbooks, and many more types of content.
How many historical records does FamilyLink have?
FamilyLink.com has several billion names included on its database within censuses & birth, marriage and death records. The latest count is more than 4 billion names. It also contains the web’s largest newspaper collection, with over 100 million newspapers dating from 1739 to the present day, 8,000 American high school, College and Military Yearbooks, as well as the world’s largest online index of Tombstone inscriptions and Tombstone photographs
What countries are the FamilyLink records relevant for?
The records on FamilyLink are mostly relevant to the USA, UK and Ireland, Canada and Australia. There is also content relevant to more than 50 additional countries, in smaller quantities. Since users who are not currently living in USA, UK and Ireland, Canada or Australia have ancestors who lived in those countries, FamilyLink records can be useful for almost all users worldwide.
Will MyHeritage be adding historical content from other countries?
Yes! This plays an important role in our plans for the future. This is especially the case in countries where MyHeritage is the family history market leader, such as most countries in Europe and South America, and many additional countries.
What's the difference between FamilyLink.com and MyHeritage.com?
FamilyLink.com is a historical content service with vast amounts of data and records on interest and value to those exploring their family roots. MyHeritage.com is an online family network site where people can build and share their family trees, find new relatives and use these links to explore their past. With the purchase of FamilyLink.com and WorldVitalRecords.com, MyHeritage will also start providing historical records.
So is this good news for the genealogy world?