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Founded1996; 24 years ago (1996)
FoundersPaul Brent Allen
Dan Taggart
HeadquartersLehi, Utah
Key people
Margo Georgiadis (CEO)[1]
Howard Hochhauser (CFO/COO, acting CEO)[2]
RevenueUS$683.1 million (2015)
Owner LLC is a privately held online company based in Lehi, Utah. The largest for-profit genealogy company in the world, it operates a network of genealogical, historical records, and related genetic genealogy websites.

As of November 2018, the company claimed to provide access to approximately 10 billion historical records, to have 3 million paying subscribers, and to have sold 18[4] million DNA kits to customers.[]


In 1990, Paul Brent Allen[5] and Dan Taggart, two Brigham Young University graduates, founded Infobases and began offering Latter-day Saints (LDS) publications on floppy disks. In 1988, Allen had worked at Folio Corporation, founded by his brother Curt and his brother-in-law Brad Pelo.

Infobases' first products were floppy disks and compact disks sold from the back seat of the founders' car. In 1994, Infobases was named among Inc. magazine's 500 fastest-growing companies.[6] Their first offering on CD was the LDS Collectors Edition, released in April 1995, selling for $299.95,[7] which was offered in an online version in August 1995.[8] Ancestry officially went online with the launch of in 1996.[9]

On January 1, 1997, Infobases' parent company, Western Standard Publishing, purchased Ancestry, Inc.,[10] publisher of Ancestry magazine and genealogy books. Western Standard Publishing's CEO was Joseph A. Cannon, one of the principal owners of Geneva Steel.[11]

In July 1997, Allen and Taggart purchased Western Standard's interest in Ancestry, Inc. At the time, Brad Pelo was president and CEO of Infobases, and president of Western Standard. Less than six months earlier, he had been president of Folio Corporation, whose digital technology Infobases was using. In March 1997, Folio was sold to Open Market for $45 million.[12] The first public evidence of the change in ownership of Ancestry magazine came with the July/August 1997 issue, which showed a newly reorganized Ancestry, Inc., as its publisher. That issue's masthead also included the first use of the web address.

More growth for Infobases occurred in July 1997, when Ancestry, Inc. purchased Bookcraft, Inc., a publisher of books written by leaders and officers of the LDS Church.[13][14] Infobases had published many of Bookcraft's books as part of its LDS Collector's Library. Pelo also announced that Ancestry's product line would be greatly expanded in both CDs and online. Alan Ashton, a longtime investor in Infobases and founder of WordPerfect, was its chairman of the board.

Allen and Taggart began running Ancestry, Inc. independently from Infobases in July 1997, and began creating one of the largest online subscription-based genealogy database services.[15]

In April 1999, to better focus on its and Internet businesses, Infobases sold the Bookcraft brand name and its catalog of print books to its major competitor in the LDS book market, Deseret Book. Included in the sale were the rights to Infobases' LDS Collectors Library on CD. A year earlier, Deseret Book had released a competing product called GospeLink, and the two products were combined as a single product by Deseret Book.[16][17]

The website launched in December 1998, with additional free sites beginning in March 1999.[18] The site generated one million registered users within its first 140 days.[15] The company raised more than US$90 million in venture capital from investors[15] and changed its name on November 17, 1999, from, Inc. to, Inc. Its three Internet genealogy sites were then called,, and[19] Sales were about US$62 million for 2002 and US$99 million for 2003.[20]

Former headquarters in Provo, Utah

In March 2004, the company, which had outgrown its call center in Orem, Utah, opened a new call center, which accommodates about 700 agents at a time, in Provo.[21]Heritage Makers was acquired by in September 2005.[22]

While the company had been offering free access to at LDS Family History Centers, that service was terminated on March 17, 2007, because the company and the LDS Church were unable to reach a mutually agreeable licensing agreement. In 2010, Ancestry restored access to its site at Family History Centers.[]

In 2010, Ancestry sold its book publishing assets to Turner Publishing Company.[23] became a publicly traded company on NASDAQ (symbol: ACOM) on November 5, 2009, with an initial public offering of 7.4 million shares priced at $13.50 per share, underwritten by Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Jefferies & Company, Piper Jaffray, and BMO Capital Markets.[24]

In 2010, expanded its domestic operations with the opening of an office in San Francisco, California, staffed with brand new engineering, product, and marketing teams geared toward developing some of Ancestry's cutting-edge technology and services. In 2011, Ancestry launched an Android and iOS app.[25][26]

In December 2011, moved the Social Security Death Index search behind a paywall and stopped displaying the Social Security information of people who had died within the past 10 years, because of identity theft concerns.[27]

In March 2012, acquired the collection of DNA assets from GeneTree.[28]

In September 2012, expanded its international operations with the opening of its European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland. The Dublin office includes a new call centre for international customers, as well as product, marketing, and engineering teams.[29][30]

In October 2012, agreed to be acquired by a private equity group consisting of Permira Advisers LLP, members of's management team, including CEO Tim Sullivan and CFO Howard Hochhauser, and Spectrum Equity, for $32 per share or around $1.6 billion.[31] At the same time, purchased a photo digitization and sharing service called 1000Memories.[32]

On July 16, 2015, Ancestry launched AncestryHealth, and announced the appointment of Cathy A. Petti as its Chief Health Officer.[33] That year, Ancestry partnered with the Google subsidiary, Calico, to focus on longevity research and therapeutics, in an effort to investigate human heredity of lifespan.[34][35]

In April 2016, GIC Private Limited (a sovereign wealth fund owned by the Government of Singapore) and Silver Lake (a private equity fund manager) bought equity stakes in[36] The estimated market value of in 2017 was more than $3 billion.[37]

In November 2018, Ancestry claimed to have over 10 billion digitised records and over three million paying customers.[38]


AncestryDNA is a subsidiary of Ancestry LLC. AncestryDNA offers a direct-to-consumer genealogical DNA test.[39] Consumers provide a sample of their DNA to the company for analysis. AncestryDNA then uses DNA sequences to infer family relationships with other Ancestry DNA users and to provide what it calls an "ethnicity estimate". Previously, also offered paternal Y-chromosome DNA and maternal mitochondrial DNA tests, but those were discontinued in June 2014.[40] The company describes the technical process of testing in a scientific white paper. In July 2020, the company claimed that their database contained 18<> million completed DNA kits bought by customers.[41][38][42]

Ancestry DNA is commonly used for donor conceived persons to find their biological siblings and in some cases their sperm or egg donor.[43]

The testing itself is performed by Quest Diagnostics.[44]


On September 30, 2013, announced its acquisition of Find a Grave. Site editor Jim Tipton said of the purchase that had "been linking and driving traffic to the site for several years. Burial information is a wonderful source for people researching their family history". launched a mobile app in March 2014.[45]

In 2012, Ancestry spun off its digitized online newspaper components into a standalone service, Before the launch, acquired the following newspaper-oriented components, including scanning and digital technologies and posting on the web:[clarification needed]

  • iArchives, Inc. (and its service) was acquired in 2010 for 1.022 million common stock shares. The purchase brought in assets including processes for digitalizing documents on microfilm.[46][47] Footnote would be rebranded Fold3 in 2011.[48]
  • was bought for $100 million in 2012.[49] As of June 23, 2019, the archive claimed its index comprised online newspapers dating from 1700 worldwide, covering 12,100+ newspapers and a total of more than 509 million pages.[50]

The website's principal competitor is which claims it has online newspapers dating from 1607 worldwide, and its index in June 2018 includes 9,829 newspapers.[51] Both websites have similar models for increasing their databases: striking deals with libraries, publishers and historical organizations to scan the publications for free to include in their database. Some participants see the process of free scanning as an easier, cheaper and quicker way to get their publications online than working through the U.S. government-operated National Digital Newspaper Program.[52][53]

In January-April 2020, the website was one of the most popular and reliable sources in English Wikipedia.[54][55]


RootsWeb, acquired by Ancestry in June 2000, is a free genealogy community that uses online forums, mailing lists, and other resources to help people research their family history. Users can upload GEDCOM files of their information for others to search at the WorldConnect portion of the site. Trees uploaded to WorldConnect are searchable at both the RootsWeb and Ancestry websites.

On December 20, 2017, a file containing 300,000 RootsWeb user names, passwords, and email addresses was exposed to the internet. The 300,000 records were from RootsWeb surname list service with 55,000 of those records were also login credentials.[56]

Past products

  • Ancestry Family Tree, Ancestral Quest by Incline Software, licensed by in 2001 and branded for their use as Ancestry Family Tree. Available for free from from 2001 to 2003.[57]
  • Family Origins[58][59][60]
  • Family Tree Maker, sold in 2017.
  • -, which maintains a genealogy research website, was acquired by in 2003.[61]
  • Generations Family Tree (originally called "Reunion for Windows")[62]
  • - allowed members to create private family, or group, websites. In May 2010, MyFamily closed its Bellevue, Washington, development office, effectively letting its entire staff go since none of the staff accepted an offer to move to Provo. Ancestry shut down on September 5, 2014.[63] At the time of the shutdown, MyFamily had not resolved discontent with the downloading process, which consisted of capturing miscellaneous uncatalogued photos, with alphanumeric names and no data attached, and various calendar documents, thus leaving behind the associated data, File Cabinet documents, family recipes, and all other information.[64]
  • ROOTS software series by CommSoft[65][66] was one of the first publishers of series of genealogy software programs, created in the 1980s, and available until 1997. Commsoft released the following: ROOTS89 for the Heath H-8 series of personal computers; ROOTS/M for the CP/M operating system; and ROOTS II for MS-DOS, followed by ROOTS III and ROOTS IV; and ROOTS V for Windows along with Visual ROOTS for Microsoft Windows.
  • Ultimate Family Tree (UFT)[65][67]


After the arrest of the accused Golden State Killer, and 23andMe made a data policy stating that they would not allow their DNA profiles to be used for crime solving absent a valid legal process such as a search warrent, as they believe it violates users' privacy.[68][69]

See also


  1. ^ "Ancestry Names Margo Georgiadis Chief Executive Officer".
  2. ^ Goodman, Wes. "GIC and Silver Lake Invest in U.S. Genealogy Company Ancestry". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ "NaviSite". Santa Cruz Sentinel. May 9, 1999. p. D3. Retrieved 2017 – via
  4. ^ n3kglv1tg2
  5. ^ not to be confused with Microsoft cofounder Paul Gardner Allen
  6. ^ Walker, Joseph (June 11, 2000). "Backing into a lucrative business". Deseret News. Retrieved 2017.
  7. ^ "Let a mouse guide your scripture search". Deseret News. April 3, 1995.
  8. ^ "LDS Materials Available Online". Deseret News. August 3, 1995.
  9. ^ "Ancestry Moves Further into Consumer Genetics". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 2016.
  10. ^ "About Western Standard Publishing". Archived from the original on June 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  11. ^ "Genealogy business booms as boomers seek out roots". Deseret News. April 5, 1997.
  12. ^ "Western Standard sells interest in business magazine to Utah County man". Deseret News. June 4, 1997.
  13. ^ "Infobases acquires LDS publishing house". Deseret News. July 1, 1997.
  14. ^ "Happily joined". Deseret News. April 5, 1998.
  15. ^ a b c "Infobase Ventures Portfolio Companies". Infobase Ventures. Archived from the original on May 28, 2007. Retrieved 2008.
  16. ^ "Deseret Book parent announces plans to acquire Bookcraft". Deseret News. February 9, 1999.
  17. ^ "Acquisition of Bookcraft finalized". Deseret News. April 1, 1999.
  18. ^ " begins offering free sites". March 11, 1999. Archived from the original on November 16, 2006. Retrieved 2006.
  19. ^ ", Inc. Changes Corporate Name to, Inc". November 17, 1999.
  20. ^ Paul Allen (May 20, 2006). "My Companies: A Chronological View of My Entrepreneurial Endeavors". Archived from the original on April 18, 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  21. ^ "MyFamily growing in Utah". Deseret News. April 13, 2004. Archived from the original on April 21, 2008. Retrieved 2008.
  22. ^ ", Inc. Acquires Heritage Makers". PR Newswire. September 21, 2005. Archived from the original on January 27, 2006. Retrieved 2008.
  23. ^ Jim Milliot, "Turner Publishing Buys Ancestry Publishing Assets," Publishers Weekly, March 23, 2010.
  24. ^ " explores an IPO". Retrieved 2011.
  25. ^ " updates app with iPad optimization". Macworld. Retrieved 2016.
  26. ^ "Ancestry app is the perfect companion for researching family tree history". AndroidTapp. March 5, 2012. Retrieved 2016.
  27. ^ Sterman, Joce (December 14, 2011). "Website stops displaying Social Security numbers for recently dead". ABC2. Archived from the original on January 10, 2012. Retrieved 2011.
  28. ^ buys GeneTree and launches new service Accessed January 24, 2013
  29. ^ Kennedy, John Fintan (July 11, 2012). " to create 50 new jobs at international HQ in Dublin". Silicon Republic. Retrieved 2013.'s Dublin employees will include staff working within management and finance functions, as well as website developers and member service agents.
  30. ^ Flanagan, Peter (October 23, 2012). "Genealogy giant sold for EUR1.2bn months after Dublin move". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2013. It set up in Ireland last year but in July confirmed it would open its European headquarters on Sir John Rogerson's Quay in Dublin, and started taking on around 35 staff from September.
  31. ^ " Acquired by Private Equity Group for $1.6 Billion". The Descrier. Retrieved 2012.
  32. ^ " Acquires Photo Digitization And Sharing Service 1000memories". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012.
  33. ^ " launches health website, positions itself as budding 23andMe competitor". MobiHealthNews. July 16, 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  34. ^ Ramsey, Lydia (July 22, 2015). "Google is on a mission to figure out how and why we age". Business Insider. Retrieved 2018.
  35. ^ Bergen, Mark (July 26, 2015). "The Long Game: Google-Backed Calico Partners With Ancestry to Beat the Specter of Aging". Recode. Retrieved 2016.
  36. ^ Or, Amy (April 5, 2016). "Permira trebles money by selling Ancestry stake to Silver Lake, GIC". Financial News. Retrieved 2018.
  37. ^ Porter, Keil; Sherman, Alex (July 19, 2017). " Is Close to Hiring Banks for 2017 IPO". Retrieved 2018.
  38. ^ a b Spatafore, Gina (November 29, 2018). "Ancestry Breaks November Sales Record". Business Wire. Retrieved 2018.
  39. ^ "23andme relaunches its expanded DNA spit tests after FDA-mandated pause". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2016.
  40. ^ " Pulls the Plug on Several Sites". Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  41. ^ Santry, Claire (May 22, 2019). "Ancestry's DNA network reaches 15 million test samples". Irish Genealogy News. Retrieved 2019.
  42. ^ Regalado, Antonio (February 12, 2018). "2017 was the year consumer DNA testing blew up". MIT Technology Review. Retrieved 2018.
  43. ^ Chung, Emily; Glanz, Melanie; Adhopia, Vik (January 25, 2018). "No more Mr. Anonymous for sperm donors - CBC News". CBC.
  44. ^ "AncestryDNA Uses Quest Diagnostics to Sequence DNA | Dark Daily". Retrieved 2018.
  45. ^ "The Ancestry Insider: Releases Find-A-Grave App". Retrieved 2016.
  46. ^ " Inc. Completes Acquisition of iArchives - Business - Press Releases". NBC News. October 21, 2010. Retrieved 2018.
  47. ^ "More on's Acquisition of Footnote". September 23, 2010.
  48. ^ Author Kate Theimer (August 19, 2011). "News: Footnote is now Fold3. Does that make sense to you? Me neither. And we're not alone - ArchivesNext". Retrieved 2018.
  49. ^ " Acquires For $100 Million - TechCrunch". April 25, 2012. Retrieved 2018.
  50. ^ "Home page". Ancestry. Retrieved 2019.
  51. ^ "NewspaperArchive® | Genealogy & Family History Records". Retrieved 2018.
  52. ^ Jim Epstein (May 18, 2014). "A Retiree Digitizes 27 Million Old Newspaper Pages in His Living Room (and Libraries Fight to Catch Up) - Hit & Run". Retrieved 2018.
  53. ^ Epstein, Jim (March 5, 2013). "Amateur Beats Gov't at Digitizing Newspapers: Tom Tryniski's Weird, Wonderful Website". Retrieved 2020.
  54. ^ Lewoniewski, W?odzimierz; W?cel, Krzysztof; Abramowicz, Witold (May 13, 2020). "Modeling Popularity and Reliability of Sources in Multilingual Wikipedia". Information. 11 (5). doi:10.3390/info11050263. Retrieved 2020.
  55. ^ as a source in references of Wikipedia - BestRef
  56. ^ "Exposed File From Ancestry's Contains Data on 300,000 Users". Dark Reading. Retrieved 2017.
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  59. ^ Family Origins Newsletter. Archived from the original on May 29, 2011. Retrieved 2011. "This will probably be the last issue of the Family Origins newsletter (I hear a lot of you saying 'I thought you stopped writing it a long time ago.' <g>). As many of you know, we (FormalSoft) have been working on a new genealogy program called RootsMagic which we released in February 2002. Many of you have been using Family Origins since we first licensed it to Parsons Technology over 12 years ago. You have gone through all the company changes with us (Parsons, Intuit, Broderbund, The Learning Co., Mattel, of January 2003, has discontinued our Family Origins program..."
  60. ^ Powell, Kimberly. "Family Origins Discontinued".
  61. ^ "Acquisition of". April 18, 2003. Archived from the original on April 14, 2006. Retrieved 2006.
  62. ^ " Adds Generations to its Genealogy Software Product Line". June 25, 2002. Archived from the original on December 4, 2008.
  63. ^ Christian, Jon (April 23, 2015). "Deleting the Family Tree". Slate. ISSN 1091-2339. Retrieved 2016.
  64. ^ Christian, Jon (April 23, 2015). "Deleting the Family Tree -- When shuttered its social network for relatives, it erased 10 years' worth of my family's correspondence and memories". Slate. Retrieved 2015.
  65. ^ a b "Ultimate Family Tree (UFT)". Palladium Interactive, Inc. p. 368. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  66. ^ Drake, Herb & Nurse, Howard. "ROOTS". CommSoft.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  67. ^ "About UFT". Archived from the original on June 20, 2002. Retrieved 2002.
  68. ^ Elfin, Dana A. "News: DNA Testing? You Might Want to Wait for More Legal Protection".
  69. ^ "Deleting Consumer DNA from the Internet". Dark Daily.

Further reading

External links

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