Founded 1983 (1983)
Founder John Sittner
Headquarters Lehi, Utah, U.S.
Key people
Tim Sullivan (President/CEO)[1] Howard Hochauser (CFO/COO)[2] Ken Chahine (EVP/GM, AncestryDNA)[3]Dr. Cathy Petti (Chief Health Officer)
  • AncestryDNA
  • Family Tree Maker
  • AncestryHealth
  • software
Revenue US$683.1 million (2015)
Owner Permira and co-investors
Number of employees
Over 1,000 worldwide (2016)
Website LLC is a privately held Internet company based in Lehi, Utah, United States. The largest for-profit genealogy company in the world, it operates a network of genealogical and historical record websites focused on the United States and nine foreign countries, develops and markets genealogical software, and offers a wide array of genealogical related services.[4] As of June 2014, the company provided access to approximately 16 billion historical records and had over 2 million paying subscribers. User-generated content tallies to more than 70 million family trees, and subscribers have added more than 200 million photographs, scanned documents, and written stories.[5]

Ancestry's brands include Ancestry, AncestryDNA, AncestryHealth, AncestryProGenealogists,, Family Tree Maker, Find a Grave, Fold3,, and Rootsweb.[6]

Under its subsidiaries, operates foreign sites that provide access to services and records specific to other countries in the languages of those countries. These include Australia, Canada, and several countries in Europe (covered by Ancestry Information Operations Company).[7]


Infobases, Inc. former headquarters in Provo, Utah

In 1990, Paul B. Allen[8] 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 chose to use the Folio infobase technology, which Allen was familiar with, as the basis for their products.

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.[9] Their first offering on CD was the LDS Collectors Edition, released in April 1995, selling for $299.95,[10] which was offered in an online version in August 1995.[11] Ancestry officially went online with the launched in 1996.[12]

Founded in 1983 by John Sittner as a genealogy newsletter, Ancestry magazine was launched in January 1994. On January 1, 1997, Infobases' parent company, Western Standard Publishing, purchased Ancestry, Inc.,[13] publisher of Ancestry magazine and genealogy books. Western Standard Publishing's CEO was Joe Cannon, one of the principal owners of Geneva Steel.[14]

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.[15] 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.[16][17] 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.[18]

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.[19][20]

The website launched in December 1998, with additional free sites beginning in March 1999.[21] The site generated one million registered users within its first 140 days.[18] The company raised more than US$90 million in venture capital from investors[18] and changed its name on November 17, 1999 from, Inc. to, Inc. Its three Internet genaealogy sites were then called,, and[22] Sales were about US$62 million for 2002 and US$99 million for 2003.[23]

In March 2004, the company, which had otgrown its call center in Orem, Utah, opened a new call center, which accommodates about 700 agents at a time, in Provo.[24] Heritage Makers was acquired by in September 2005,[25] and sold a year later in August 2006. The website was opened on 24 January 2006.[26] In March 2006, MyFamily opened a new office in Bellevue, Washington, as part of the MyFamily business unit.[27] Encounter Technologies was acquired in April 2006.[28]

The Generations Network logo (2007–2009)

On December 19, 2006, the company changed its name to "The Generations Network."[29] While the company had been offering free access to at LDS Family History Centers, that service was terminated on 17 March 2007, because TGN 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.

The logo (2009-2015)

On July 6, 2009, the company changed its name to "".[30]

In 2010, Ancestry sold its book publishing assets to Turner Publishing Company.[31] In the same year, discontinued the publication of Ancestry Magazine, after 25 years of publication,[32] and Genealogical Computing.[33] 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.[34][35] continued its partnership with NBC for the second season of the Who Do You Think You Are? television series in 2011.[36]

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.[37][38]

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.[39]

In March 2012, acquired the collection of DNA assets from GeneTree.[40]

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.[41][42]

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.[43][44] At the same time, purchased a photo digitization and sharing service called 1000Memories.[45]

In September 2013, announced its acquisition of Find a Grave.[46] A month later, the company announced it had purchased the family history records of the South African genealogy website Ancestry24, which ceased operating in February 2013.[47][48]

Products and services is a subscription-based genealogy research website and DNA product with over 16 billion records online.[49] The majority of records are from the United States, though records are being added for other countries, such as Canada, the UK, and other European countries. Some records are free for anyone to access, but the majority are accessible only by paid subscription.[50]

On June 22, 2006, completed the indexing and scanning of all of the United States Federal Census records from 1790 through 1930.[51][52] was nominated for a 2007 CODiE Award in the "Best Online Consumer Information Service" category.[53]

For genetic genealogy, offers genealogical DNA tests of autosomal DNA, paternal Y-chromosome DNA, and maternal mitochondrial DNA.[54] As of June 2014, has discontinued its paternal Y-chromosome DNA and maternal mitochondrial DNA tests, and only carries an autosomal DNA test.[55]


AncestryDNA is a subsidiary of Ancestry LLC. AncestryDNA uses a simple test to analyze an individual's DNA.[56] AncestryDNA offers the potential of identifying new insights into people's ancient ancestry to help them collaborate with distant cousins and make even more discoveries into their family history.


On July 16, 2015 Ancestry launched AncestryHealth, a generational health database.[57] At the same time, the company also announced the appointment of Dr. Cathy A. Petti, MD as AncestryHealth's Chief Health Officer.[58]

Other sites


On October 22, 2013, purchased Ancestry24, which had ceased operating in February 2013. It was an online archive and research service owned by Media24 that preserved South Africa’s history for future generations in the form of a collection of databases that included millions of records on individuals who have lived in South Africa since the late 1600s. Transcribed from original documents and reliable resources, records included births, baptisms, marriages, deaths, burials, passenger lists and voters lists. It also had an image library of over 33,000 graves.

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.[59][60]


Fold3 is a subscription-based website specializing in historical military records primarily from the United States. It also has a large collection of documents dealing with the United States, city directories, and newspapers. Some record sets are free[61] but the majority are accessible only by paid subscription. The website was originally named and independently owned when it launched in 2007. was acquired by in fall 2010.[62] As part of the acquisition, was later rebranded as Fold3 in an effort to focus on military records. is a genealogy research website with some records not found on, though the total number of records available is smaller. was acquired from A&E Networks by in 2003.[63] allows one to search public records for living people in the United States.[64] allowed members to create private family, or group, websites. Customization was limited. The 1998 version is still available but no further enhancements are planned. After three years of a beta release 2.0, it was running the first non-beta release, " 2.5.3". However, since the architecture was changed so radically from 2.0 to 2.5, internally at MyFamily all references to v2.5 are actually being called v3.0.[65] Users of version 3.0 (aka 2.5) last saw an update to the code in February 2010. Since that date both v1.0 and v3.0 have been 'frozen'.[66] Migration services from v1.0 to v3.0 were stopped on 21 March 2010 with no reason given.[67] Many features of the original version of the site were not ported to release v3.0, although new features such as video support, blog support, social group interface, and unlimited storage were introduced.[68] Also in May 2010, MyFamily closed its Bellevue, Washington, development office, effectively letting its entire staff go since the offer to move to Provo, Utah, was not accepted by any staff. Since the loss of the Washington office, no new features have been added nor have any current problems or bugs been resolved. As of July 2010, free sites on v3.0 were discontinued.[66] Ancestry shut down on September 5, 2014.[69] Members were informed they could download zip files of their data if they desired.[70] At 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.[71] is a subscription-based website launched in November 2012,[72] which provides access to historical newspapers, mostly from the United States, for genealogical and historical research.

Ancestry Academy

Ancestry Academy is a website that offers high-quality video instruction from family history and genealogy experts. Launched in April 2015,[73] it covers a wide range of topics of interest in family history research, including Native American ancestry, online US census research, and DNA testing. New courses are added monthly.


RootsWeb was acquired by in June 2000.[74] RootsWeb is a free genealogy community that uses online forums, mailing lists, and other resources to help people research their family history. Founded in 1993 by Brian Leverich and Karen Isaacson as the Roots Surname List, it is the oldest free online community genealogy research site.[75] 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. is the official research firm.

Site users and traffic

In the first quarter of 2012, Ancestry had 1.87 million users.[76] According to Quantcast, as of April 2012, reached a rough estimate of 8.3 – 8.4 million people in the US.[77]

In the second quarter of 2014, Ancestry had 2.11 million users, for a loss of 52,000 subscribers when compared to the first quarter of 2014.[78]

Family Tree Maker

Family Tree Maker (FTM)
Original author(s) Kenneth Lafferty Hess[79]
Developer(s), Inc.. Software MacKiev
Initial release 1989 (1989)[80]
Stable release
2014 (September 10, 2013 (2013-09-10))
Development status Active [81]
Operating system Windows, Mac
Available in English
Type Genealogy software
License Proprietary

Family Tree Maker (FTM) was advertised as "the #1 selling family history software".[82] As with other genealogy software, FTM allowed the researcher to keep track of information collected during research and to create reports, charts, and books containing that information. The software was originally developed by Kenneth Hess of Banner Blue Software,[79] which was purchased by Brøderbund in 1995.[83] It passed through the hands of The Learning Company, Mattel, and others before coming under its current ownership.

A redesigned Family Tree Maker 2008 was released on August 14, 2007.[84] The 2009 version of the program corrected some of the errors and omissions of its predecessor, and introduced a few new features. Family Tree Maker 2010 claimed to further enhance the radical re-design and be more powerful and feature-packed with faster navigation and quicker load times.[85]

A version for the Mac was released in 1997, but due to low market demand was discontinued[86] for over a decade. A new version of Family Tree Maker for Mac was released on November 4, 2010.[87]

Family Tree Maker Version 16 was awarded a CODiE Award in the "Best Consumer Productivity Solution" category in 2006.[88]

On December 8, 2015, announced that it would discontinue Family Tree Maker.[89] The announcement was met by fierce protest from Family Tree Maker users.[90] On February 2, 2016, announced that Software MacKiev, the company that had developed the Mac version of the software for more than six years, would acquire the Family Tree Maker brand, and take over the development and publishing of Mac and Windows editions.[91]

FTM version history

Please press show for more information on past versions.

Past products

Past genealogy programs.

Partnerships is partnered with FamilySearch.[162] is partnered with ProQuest LLC. ProQuest distributes Ancestry Library Edition worldwide to public and academic libraries, K-12 schools, and other institutions.

Ancestry is partnered with Calico, a company focused on longevity research and therapeutics, in an effort to investigate human heredity of lifespan. Together, they evaluate anonymized data from millions of public family trees and a growing database of over one million genetic samples. AncestryDNA and Calico will work together to analyze and investigate the role of genetics and its influences in families experiencing unusual longevity using Ancestry's proprietary databases, tools and algorithms. Calico will then focus its efforts to develop and commercialize any potential therapeutics that emerge from the analysis.[163]

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  149. Family Tree Maker 2010 for mac won't load or continually crashes. What can I do?,
  150. Family Tree Maker 2010 for Mac Version, 22 January 2011,
  151. Family Tree Maker 2012 Is Here!, by Tana L. Pedersen on 29 September 2011, at
  152. Available Now: Family Tree Maker version 2014,
  153. Just Released: Family Tree Maker Mac 3!,
  154. 20 November 2009 RootsMagic Essentials, Modern Software Experience
  155. Family Origins Newsletter, 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...
  156. 1 2 Buys Generations, Dick Eastman Online, 25 July 2002 – Archive,
  157. Family Origins Discontinued, By Kimberly Powell,
  158. Adds Generations to its Genealogy Software Product Line, 25 June 2002, [ Archived December 4, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  159. 1 2 Ultimate Family Tree (UFT), by Palladium Interactive, Inc.
  160. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 20, 2002. Retrieved 2002-06-20.
  161. ROOTS, by CommSoft (Herb Drake/Howard Nurse)
  162. "FamilySearch Partnerships: Some Questions and Answers". FamilySearch Blog. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  163. Bergen, Mark (2015-07-26). "The Long Game: Google-Backed Calico Partners With Ancestry to Beat the Specter of Aging". Recode. Retrieved 2016-05-18.

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