The Lightening Talks of the BYU Family History Technology Workshop #Genealogy

The Lightening Talks just finished here at the BYU Family History Technology Workshop. Presenters had about two minutes to tell us what they were working on in the tech field. Wow! What a fascinating session. Following are the sessions given, with my notes. It’s not a perfect listing, in that I could not always get presenters names. But it’s a list of new and upcoming apps (broadly put) I’m sure I will refer back to a lot.

Ancestorcloud – Wesley Eames
Put a request for out there and collaborate with others. Coming later in the year.

Historylines – Jeff Haddon
A site to take an existing tree, and figure out what an ancestor’s life was like, using historical events. Plots lifespans of the family on the map and describes peoples lifestyles, Editable.

Request research to be done, anywhere in the world. Onsite people can bid on a micro-task doing research.

Per Trees – Charles Glancy
Improve edits on Family Tree. Declare persons and relationships in a Watch List. You are made a reviewer for all changes

Generasi – Jed Wood
Time” is typically missing in family tree views. A timeline is added to the view on the side of the page, which covers several generations.

Soal – Sounds of a Lifetime – Nathan Brakke
Photos don’t tell the whole story. No voice lasts forever. Record the sounds. This can be shared via twitter, facebook, etc.

Poppy Prose – Ian Davis Ian was next to me at the table.
A story-centered approach to family history. A team of writers help users to write their story.

Family Feats – Aaron Shelley
Feat focuses – like immigration, military service, pioneers, etc. These items are added to Family Tree.

GenMarketplace – Matthew Faulconer
Identifies research opportunities – jobs are posted with changeable – rather silent auction style prices.

Historic Journals – Doug Kennard
Has an archive where people can share. Also has Mormon databases.

Family History Technology Lab – Dan Rodriewicz
Automatically finds ancestors and relatives

Relative Finder – connect instantly, share resources – coming soon.

Scanstone – Glen Chidester
Seeks to automate extracting the data from headstones. Starts with the smartphone. Take a picture, process, recognize the text with a live look-up Teh program then transcribes the data and looks to see if it’s in Find-A-Grave.

One Page Genealogy – Jessie Young
Print your entire family tree on one page. User customizable – can be downloaded as a pdf for printing.

Robert Ball – Where Am I From?
Charts where the family is from generation by generation – page by page – you can see what percentage of a nationality you are quickly. Shows historically correct historical boundaries.

Joel Thornton with FamilySearch
A New Relationship viewer for FamilyTree
also – Viewing Closest Relatives in the MyRelatives View in FamilySearch and Family Tree.

Timeline Enhanced Portrait Charts
Joohan Lee – from Korea
Traditional Fan Chart has text only.
Shows different pictures by generation, using a slider. Associates pictures with names. Easily used on an Android.
Using data from the FamilySearch website. Ios and Windows versions.

Virtual Pedigree – Curtis Widdington
A program the collapses and expands the pedigree as one looks at it.

Grandma’s Pie
Uses FamilySearch Family Tree. It makes an interactive pie showing where the family is from.

Auto-zoning newspaper articles for OCR systems – Alan Cannaday, FamilySearch
Remove clutter
Post-clutter removal
Remove noise
Word Zoning is then done, then article zoneing, making corrected zones so the OCR can be done better.

Record Linkage Confidence Through Top Match Score Analysis – Peter Ivie, University of Notre Dame
The program scores data-matches automatically.

3-D Graph Cut:Extending Min-Cut Segmentation to Handle Overlap of Cursive Handwriting in Tabular Documents – Brian Davis
Dual assignment segmentation. Be able to separate overlapping letters.

Eight Semifinalists Announced for the Annual Innovator Challenge


RootsTech has announced the eight semifinalists in the annual Innovator Challenge. Out of 51 entries, eight were selected by a panel of independent judges to move forward.

According to the FamilySearch Blog, they are:

Argus Search
Google-like full text search in historic and handwritten documents without prior referencing.

Find experts for your specific family history needs with Dutch auction pricing.
An instant biography for any ancestor: Explore the lifestyles, places and events that impacted their lives.

Legacy Stories
Your stories making history.

Where Everyone Makes History.

Bring your family history to life with interactive stories that let your family discover their ancestors.

The easiest way to record your family stories.

Personalized health through genealogy, health histories, & genetics to help families minimize risks & live well.

These above 8 semifinalists are competing for 4 final spots to be judged during the live Innovator Showdown at RootsTech.

$25,000 is to be awarded among the finalists.

Read all the details about the competition at the FamilySearch Blog.

Family Chronicle Gets a Name Change


According to Ed Zapletal, my friend, and the publisher at Moorshead Magazines Ltd., the venerable Family Chronicle Magazine is getting a name change. Beginning with the March/April 2015 edition, the magazine is titled Your Genealogy Today. The magazine website will also be changing to as of March 1.

The thinking behind changing the name was simply to refresh and renew the magazine, complete with new titling and several new columns. The magazine will continue to be printed in paper and pdf format, as well as app editions for mobile reading.

The new columns will be entitled:

  • Genealogy Tourism
  • DNA and Your Genealogy
  • Advice from the Pros

Subscribers don’t need to do anything. Family Chronicle subscriptions will be converted to Your Genealogy Today subs. The magazine will continue to be a bimonthy, with six issues printed per year.


I plan to do more writing writing for the magazine this year, so watch for articles under my name.

For more information, check out their website.

Virtual PMC 2015 Registration Now Open

The following is from APG:

Registration is now open for the 2015 Virtual Professional Management Conference at

The largest Virtual PMC to date offers TWO full days — that’s 9 total sessions — of PMC’s must-have instruction streamed live to your computer or mobile device. Choose from the full Virtual PMC line up, one-day only, or individual sessions. All registrations include 3-month’s access to recordings of the same sessions!


Thursday, 8 January 2015

  • 10:45-11:45am MST — Taxes and the Professional Genealogist, James M. Beidler
  • 1:15-2:15pm MST — Finding the Law, Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL
  • 3:00-4:00pm MST — Mind Maps for Genealogy, Ron Arons, MBA
  • 4:15-5:15pm MST– DNA and Genealogical Proof, Angie Bush, MS

Friday, 9 January 2015

  • 8:15-9:15am MST — Get Paid for Your Passion: Setting Fees, Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL
  • 9:30-10:30am MST — Finding Your Niche: Matching Passion, Professionalism & Pecuniary Interest, James M. Beidler
  • 10:45-11:45am MST — How to Have Difficult Conversations with Clients and Colleagues, Christina Grover
  • 1:15-2:15pm MST — Time Management: Successfully Balancing the Demands of Our Many “Clients,” Angela Packer McGhie
  • 3:00-5:15pm MST — Genealogy Professionals Needed: Help Adoptees Discover their Genealogical Roots with DNA (workshop), CeCe Moore

Visit for class descriptions and speaker bios.

Register now for Virtual PMC 2015 at

Create a Virtual PMC package to meet your development needs! Choose from full-conference or single-day options or select only the individual sessions that you want to view. You will receive access to the live streaming of the sessions you register for as well as 3-months’ access to recordings of those same session. (Recordings will be available online beginning 5 February 2015.)

The Virtual PMC 2015 registration packages are:

Full VPMC — Thursday and Friday
Gives you access to all 9 Virtual PMC classes streamed live on Thursday 8 January 2015 and Friday 9 January 2015, a downloadable PDF of the full conference syllabus, and 3 months of access to recordings of all 9 sessions.

Thursday Only
Get access to the 4 Virtual PMC classes streamed live on Thursday 8 January 2015, a downloadable PDF of the full conference syllabus, and 3 months of access to recordings of all 4 sessions.

Friday Only
Access to the 5 Virtual PMC classes streamed live on Friday 9 January 2015, a downloadable PDF of the full conference syllabus, and 3 months of access to recordings of all 5 sessions.

DNA Bundle
Gives you access to Angie Bush’s “DNA and Genealogical Proof” on Thursday, January 8, and CeCe Moore’s “Genealogy Professionals Needed: Help Adoptees Discover Their Genealogical Roots with DNA” workshop on Friday, January 9, syllabus materials for both presentations, and 3 months of access to the recordings of the 2 sessions.

Live Streaming of Individual Sessions
Receive access to the live stream of a specific individual session, syllabus materials for the individual session, and 3 months of access to the recording of the individual session.

PMC Digital Syllabus
You can also purchase a downloadable version of the PMC 2015 Syllabus. The syllabus is available only with a purchase of a VPMC session or bundle. Some VPMC registrations include a full digital syllabus, see descriptions above. Please note that download is not immediate, a link will be sent to you via email.

Register for Virtual PMC today at

Virtual PMC registration is a benefit of APG membership and is open only to members of the Association of Professional Genealogists. Virtual PMC registration closes 6 January 2015.

Click here to learn more about APG membership and to apply online. I’ve been a member for over 30 years, and recommend it to my readers.

Dutch Citizen Helps Overseas Chinese Locate their Ancestry


The following excerpt is from an article written by Liu Zhihua, and posted in the October 18, 2014 edition of

A Dutch citizen eager to trace back his family history now helps many overseas Chinese do the same, Liu Zhihua reports.

Huihan Lie, a 36-year-old Dutch citizen, never expected he would someday make a profession out of helping fellow overseas Chinese find their roots through jiapu or “ancestry book,” when he first visited China in 2004.

Jiapu, also called zupu in Chinese, are records that are kept by clans of their lineage and histories. Lie didn’t know much about jiapu until he came to China.

Read the full article. First Quarter 2014 Financials Reported

PROVO, Utah, April 30, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — LLC, the world’s largest online family history resource, reported financial results today for the first quarter ended March 31, 2014.

“We had a solid first quarter financially, highlighted by the momentum from our AncestryDNA product, which is starting to have a positive impact on our revenue,” said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of “We are confident in our positioning for the long-term as we continue to invest in talent, technology and product enhancements that we believe will broaden the appeal of our service to new generations of users in existing and new markets.”

First Quarter 2014 Financial Highlights
Total revenues and non–GAAP revenues1 for the first quarter 2014 were each $153.6 million. Non-GAAP revenues increased 13.8% from $135.0 million in the first quarter of 2013 driven by growth in revenues from the Company’s core branded websites, AncestryDNA, and

Net loss for the first quarter of 2014 was $(2.4) million compared to net loss of $(21.4) million in the first quarter of 2013.

Adjusted EBITDA2 for the first quarter of 2014 was $49.0 million, unchanged from $49.0 million in the first quarter of 2013. Adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended March 31, 2014 includes $0.9 million of professional service fees related to litigation and costs associated with the return of capital transaction declared in February 2014 by our parent. For the three months ended March 31, 2013, adjusted EBITDA includes $1.1 million of professional services related to litigation and costs associated with reorganizing our corporate structure.

Free cash flow3 totaled $32.2 million for the first quarter of 2014, compared to $50.7 million for first quarter of 2013.

Cash and cash equivalents totaled $121.5 million as of March 31, 2014.

Obligations under long-term debt4 totaled $912.7 million as of March 31, 2014. Updates

Subscribers — Subscribers of websites totaled approximately 2,161,000 as of March 31, 2014, compared to 2,140,000 as of year end 2013.

Content – The Company added more than one billion new records during the quarter. New records include the first wave of collections made available through our collaboration with FamilySearch. When fully published in the second quarter, these collections will provide more than 1 billion digitized and indexed records containing birth, marriage, death, census and church records from 67 countries. Other new collections added in Q1 included:
New York City Vital Records Index (1866-1948) — 10.6 million records
Fremantle, Western Australia, Passenger Lists (1897-1963) — 3.6 million records
Massachusetts State Census (1855 and 1865) — 2.4 million records
England & Wales, Prerogative Court of Canterbury Wills (1384-1858) — 1.0 million records
Updated Search Experience — The Company consolidated the search experience into one simple interface for users and introduced new features like search sliders that quickly modify results or the “category + exact” mode, to help customers improve their search experience overall.

AncestryDNA Highlights
Database — Surpassed 400,000 database sample mark in Q2 2014 (cumulative since May 2012).

Hints — Improved the DNA hints system to show where a common ancestor is shared among a customer’s DNA matches. Overall, AncestryDNA has found 2.7 million DNA hints based on the current trees that are linked to DNA results and this number will grow as more people take the test.

Sharing — Launched a feature that allows DNA customers to share their ethnicity results with family and friends via email.

Region Descriptions — Updated region descriptions to better tell the story behind how each region’s history and culture support the genetic uniqueness identified for the region. Each region now includes photos and maps to visually communicate the message.

Spit Kit — Created a new DNA collection kit that includes a new mechanism for gathering the saliva sample, new instructions and packaging, and required updates to the DNA activation flow and lab procedures. The new spit kit also increases the success rate of the testing process.

International Highlights
Launch of iOS and Android app in Spanish to serve Mexico. Mexican customers will now be able build their family trees in Spanish and purchase a World Deluxe subscription in-app through the iTunes and Google stores. The mobile app is the first foray for Ancestry into Mexico, with a full site soon to follow.

Archives Highlights
New Features — Launched new “Found a Match” feature to provide a way for users to keep track of the hints that might be the ancestor they are looking for. Now users can label results as “Found it,” “Maybe,” or “Not it.” Also, launched new “Show More” feature with census records the enables users to scan through the records more efficiently see who else is in the household to determine if they found the right person.

New Content — Launched eight new vital records collections, with more than 10 million records in total. Included in this release are Georgia Births and Christenings, Idaho Deaths and Burials, Idaho Select Marriages, Indiana Births and Christenings, Indiana Marriage Index, Iowa Select Deaths and Burials, Iowa Select Marriages, and Montana Marriage Index.

Find A Grave Highlights
Find A Grave has reached a total of 114 million memorials and 90 million photos. In March, Ancestry launched the Find A Grave iOS app to help users on-the-go find grave memorials and cemetery information, add new memorials, take headstone photos, and make photo requests from the Find A Grave community..

1 Non-GAAP revenues are defined as the revenues that would have been recognized, except for the write-down of deferred revenue to fair value as a result of the application of purchase accounting for the acquisition of Inc. by a company controlled by Permira funds and co-investors (the “Transaction”).
2 Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income (loss) plus non-cash adjustments to revenue from purchase accounting, interest expense, net; other (income) expense; income tax expense (benefit); and non-cash charges including depreciation, amortization, and stock-based compensation expense.
3 Free cash flow subtracts from adjusted EBITDA capitalization of content databases, purchases of property and equipment and cash received (paid) for income taxes and interest.
4 This amount does not include $400.0 million in senior unsecured PIK notes issued by our parent company, Holdings LLC. While not required, LLC intends to make dividends to its parent in order to fund cash interest payments of these notes. LLC Reports Fourth Quarter & Full Year 2013 Financial Results

The following is from the website:

2013 Total Non-GAAP Revenue $561.5 million, Up 15% Year-Over-Year – 2013 Adjusted EBITDA $211.6 million, Up 18% Year-Over-Year

PROVO, Utah, Feb. 20, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — LLC reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2013. Financial performance for the periods was consistent with the preliminary results reported by the Company on January 29, 2014.

“2013 was a successful year for We delivered strong financial performance highlighted by improved profit margins and growth in cash flows,” said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of “We have a busy 2014 planned as we position the company to capitalize on its long-term growth opportunities. Key areas of activity and investment include areas such as product development initiatives; international expansion; our exclusive agreement with FamilySearch; and the continued growth of our popular AncestryDNA product, among others. We enjoy a solid foundation from which to pursue these initiatives, with a total subscriber base of more than 2.7 million across all websites and a profitable and healthy business model.”

Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013 Financial Highlights1

  • Total revenues for the fourth quarter and full year 2013 were $145.0 million and $540.4 million, respectively.
  • Non-GAAP revenues2 for the fourth quarter of 2013 were $145.9 million, an increase of 10.8% over $131.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. For the full year 2013, total non-GAAP revenues were $561.5 million, an increase of 15.1% over the full year 2012, driven by growth in revenues from the Company’s core branded websites, and AncestryDNA.
  • Net loss for the fourth quarter of 2013 was $(23.3) million compared to net loss of $(60.3) million in the fourth quarter of 2012. For the full year 2013, net loss was $(79.7) million compared to a net loss of $(1.9) million for the full year 2012.
  • Adjusted EBITDA3 for the fourth quarter of 2013 was $53.6 million, compared to $50.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. Adjusted EBITDA margin for the fourth quarter of 2013 was 36.7%, compared to 38.2% in the fourth quarter of 2012. For the full year 2013, adjusted EBITDA was $211.6 million, compared to $178.8 million for the full year 2012. Adjusted EBITDA margin for the full year 2013 was 37.7%, compared to 36.7% for the full year 2012. The quarter and year-to-date periods included $2.0 and $5.6 million, respectively, of general legal and professional fees related to litigation, establishing the Company’s new corporate structure, registering the 2020 notes with the SEC and the dividend declared in September 2013 by the Company’s owners, and costs related to the settlement of litigation.
  • Free cash flow4 totaled $132.9 million for the full year 2013 compared to $106.0 million for the full year 2012.
  • Cash and cash equivalents totaled $86.6 million as of December 31, 2013.
  • Obligations under long-term debt5 totaled $906.4 million as of December 31, 2013.

Recent Business Highlights

  • Subscribers of websites totaled approximately 2,140,000 as of December 31, 2013, a 6.2% increase over the end of the fourth quarter of 2012 and a 1.6% decrease from the end of the third quarter of 2013.
  • The Company ended the year with approximately 12.7 billion records, having added more than 1.2 billion new records in 2013. New collections added in Q4 included:
  • — West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962 — 22.6 million records
    — Surrey, England, Electoral Registers, 1918-1945 — 10.5 million records
    — Ireland Census, 1901 & 1911 — 8.7 million records
    — Netherlands Death Records, 1779-2013 — 3.5 million records
    — Texas Birth and Death Certificates, 1903-1982 — 6.9 million records
    — U.S. School Catalogs, 1756-1935 — 5.3 million records
    — Associated Press Card Index, 1905-2001 — 2.6 million records

  • User-generated content on continued to grow significantly during the year, and at year-end more than 3.1 billion records had been attached to our users’ family members, including 191 million uploaded photos and more than 16 million uploaded stories.
  • Since launching in May 2012, AncestryDNA now has a database of more than 300,000 DNA samples, delivering an average of 50 fourth cousin DNA matches per customer.
  • The Ancestry app has been downloaded more than 10 million times across the Android and iOS platforms; additionally, our redesigned iOS app includes new features and other social capabilities.

1. Fourth quarter and full year 2012 results reflect the combined periods preceding and succeeding the acquisition of Inc. by a company controlled by Permira funds and co-investors (the “Transaction”). The Transaction was consummated on December 28, 2012.

2. Non-GAAP revenues are defined as the revenues that would have been recognized, except for the write-down of deferred revenue to fair value as a result of the application of purchase accounting for the Transaction. Non-GAAP revenues is calculated as total revenues plus the effects of non-cash adjustments to revenue from purchase accounting.

3. Adjusted EBITDA is defined as net income (loss) plus non-cash purchase accounting adjustments to revenue, interest expense, net; other (income) expense; income tax expense (benefit); non-cash charges including depreciation, amortization, and stock-based compensation expense; and expenses associated with the Transaction.

4. Free cash flow subtracts from adjusted EBITDA capitalization of content databases, purchases of property and equipment and cash received (paid) for income taxes and interest.

5. This amount does not include $400.0 million in senior unsecured PIK notes issued by our parent company, Holdings LLC as of the date of this release. While not required, LLC intends to make dividends to our parent in order to fund cash interest payments of these notes.

The entire thing goes on and on… To read it all, click here.

A NEW FREE Online Genealogy Magazine

The premier issue of ‘Going In-Depth’ was introduced to subscribers on February 15, 2013. The online genealogy magazine contains over 70 pages of columns, articles, and free resources. New issues are planned for the 15th of each month. Subscriptions are FREE, so follow my example and subscribe now! The publication is edited by a team of folks at The In-Depth Genealogist – Jennifer Alford, Jen Baldwin, Stephanie Pitcher Fishman, and Terri O’Connell.

As a long-term genealogy magazine editor, I know how much work goes into publishing genealogy magazines. This one is online, so that takes away some of the difficulties, but I’m sure there are others because it IS an online magazine.

The current issue is 72 pages, and I found it to be an interesting read. A number of my friends contributed articles.

Following is the Table of Contents for the Premier Issue:

7 – Tracing Blue and Gray; Take a Civil War Rod Trip, by Cindy Freed
11 – My Twisted Roots; Welcome to My Twisted Roots by Andrea Johnson Beck
14 – Remember the Ladies; Three Websites for Researching Female Ancestors, by Gena Philibert-Ortega
20 – The Heritage Tourist; Freedoms Frontier: National Heritage Area, by Dr. Bill Smith
24 – Timeless Territories; Deeds: How to Get a Copy, by Michelle Goodrum
27 – Gen Ed; Genealogy Conferences Want Your!, by Shelly Bishop
30 – The Society Pages; Beginning the Process, by Shannon Combs Bennett
33 – Letting Go of My Ancestors, by Thomas McEntee
37 – Jewish Genealogy; Starting as a Pisher in Slovakia, by Jennifer Alford
40 – Preserving the Past; Shopping for those Bookshelf Basics, by Pat Biallas
44 – Ask Ephraim
50 – Deep into DNA; Get Your DNA to the Top of the Charts, by Mike Maglio
58 – The Emerald Isle; Great Insights from Petty Sources: The Petty Sessions Court Records, by Jim Ryan
61 – Dear Readers
63 – Family Atlas; Welcome to Texas, by Jen Baldwin
67 – Across the Pond; Introducing – Across the Pond, by Julie Goucher
71 – MIAA; Missing in Action Ancestors

Click on the illustration to read the current issue, and to subscribe.

Judge Will Not Block Buy-Out Vote

The following excerpt is from an article published in the December 19, 2012 edition of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Provo-based complied Wednesday with the order of a Delaware judge and filed additional information ahead of a Dec. 27 stockholder vote on the $1.6 billion acquisition of the genealogy website by a group led by European private equity firm Permira Advisers.

Chancellor Leo Strine Jr. earlier this week ordered that shareholders be told about the reluctance of the company’s financial adviser to issue an opinion on the fairness of the deal based on May financial projections. Shareholders also must be told about a deal-protection measure put into place after Permira submitted its winning bid that prevented other bidders from submitting a better offer, the judge said.

Neither of those details was included in the proxy statement sent to shareholders of the Utah company. But on Wednesday, the company filed the additional information with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

After the suit was filed, the company’s general counsel sent potential bidders a letter that clears the way for them to offer higher bids if they so chose, the company said in its SEC filing.

Strine, however, declined to block the Dec. 27 vote as requested by dissident shareholders, which attorneys suggested could be affected by higher taxes next year. attorney William Savitt said shareholders “will almost certainly be better off getting their premium money this year rather than next.”

Read the full article.

Details of Shareholder Complaints With Sale to Permira

The following excerpt is from the December 13 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle:

Dec. 12 (Bloomberg) — Inc. executives backed a $1.6 billion buyout by Permira Advisers LLP and dismissed higher bids for the world’s largest family-history website to protect their jobs and get shares in the deal, Ancestry investors said in a court filing.

Timothy Sullivan, Ancestry’s chief executive officer, and another executive supported Permira’s bid after receiving promises they could keep their posts and roll $67 million in Ancestry shares into the newly private company, the Ancestry shareholders said in a sealed Delaware Chancery Court filing reviewed by Bloomberg News.

Sullivan and Howard Hockhauser, Ancestry’s chief financial officer, served as the lead negotiators with bidders seeking to acquire the genealogical research firm, according to the Dec. 7 filing. Sullivan also sits on Ancestry’s board.

Because of their financial stake in Permira’s bid, the executives’ focus was on “obtaining the greatest return on their equity rollover, putting their interests at odds with public shareholders,” the investors said in the filing.

Read the full article.

Thomas MacEntee on Turning Your Genealogy Hobby into a Living

Thomas MacEntee has made his hobby his occupation – and with a lot of hard work, it’s paying off. The following excerpt is from an article in the October 29, 2012 edition of Forbes.

How would you like to turn your hobby into a second career?

That’s exactly what Thomas MacEntee of Chicago, a former tech professional who’s now a genealogist, did after unexpectedly losing his job in 2008. The transformation was neither fast nor easy, but MacEntee, 50, couldn’t be happier.

“I am moving forward all because I took a chance on building a career to help people look backwards,” he told me.

An art history major in college, MacEntee spent decades working as a technology trainer, technical writer, applications analyst and project manager for several large global law firms. But after the last one filed for bankruptcy in 2008, MacEntee found himself reeling from the experience of “being tossed out on my butt.” He decided it was time to shift gears.

Read the full article.

Note that Thomas will be with us during the full week of the Salt Lake Christmas Tour – and will being giving a total of 10 lectures. Preregistration for the Christmas Tour has been extended through Wednesday, October 31. Sign up now and join us in Salt Lake City December 2 through 8.

Shareholders Sue

The following exceprt is from an article posted in the Provo Daily Herald.

PROVO — Just days after Inc. announced it planned to sell to Permira Advisers LLP, a London-based private equity firm, shareholders are suing the world’s largest family history website, saying the company passed over a better offer to buy, thus shortchanging investors.

Bloomberg News reported the lawsuit Friday, which focuses on investor John Heck’s complaint filed in the Delaware Chancery Court in Wilmington, Del.

According to Bloomberg, Heck claims, “The consideration shareholders will receive is inadequate” and they “are being unfairly cashed out” given the company’s recent performance. Heck asked the court to block the buyout as proposed and to consider awarding damages and legal fees.

A Michigan-based pension fund has filed a similar suit over the buyout.

On Monday, Heather Erickson, an spokeswoman said, “On Oct. 26, 2012, we became aware of a putative stockholder class action lawsuit that was filed against and’s board of directors in the Delaware Court of Chancery. The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that the members of the board of directors breached their fiduciary duties in connection with the approval of’s acquisition by Permira. and its directors believe this lawsuit is without merit.”

According to Bloomberg, lawyers for the Pontiac General Employees Retirement System, a Michigan-based pension fund, contend Spectrum Equity Investors, one of’s largest shareholders with 30 percent stake in the company, has used its position to dominate company directors and push the $32-a- share offer.

Court documents state that approximately five of the nine members of the board have ties to Spectrum or senior management.

Bloomberg notes that, “at Spectrum’s insistence, Ancestry directors rejected a $35-a-share offer for the genealogy company to back Permira’s $32-a-share bid, the fund’s lawyers said in the complaint.”

Read the full article.

Monahan’s Sales of Just the First of Many?

The following excerpt is from an article posted in the September 14, 2012 San Francisco Business Times.

Brian and Matthew Monahan’s sale of last month was the first $100 million exit for their Redwood City-based company, Inflection LLC. They’re confident it won’t be the last.

While the deal with genealogy giant turned heads, the two young brothers — “chief idea guy” and CEO, respectively — say their profitable, 125-person company is only getting started using its technology for mining public records to spin off businesses. Brian Monahan is 25, and Matthew Monahan is 28.

Read the full article.

Genealogy as a Pastime and Profession

Genealogy as a Pastime and Profession was published initially in 1930. The volume was written by one of the leading genealogists of the era, Donald Lines Jacobus. When the Second Revised Edition was published by Genealogical Publishing Company in 1968, Milton Rubincam wrote the Introduction for the book. The late Mr. Rubincam was one of a very few people who I would put on the same plain within the genealogy profession. He said this about Mr. Jacobus, “… a man who has complete mastery of his subject. He considered genealogy in all of its phases – the use of source materials, the evaluation of evidence, the cultural and sociological aspects, the origin of American colonists, conditions in the genealogical profession, and the compilation of a family history. In spite of all the “how to do it” books that have been published since 1930, Genealogy as a Pastime and Profession tops them all.”

Genealogy as a Pastime and Profession was recommended to me when I first became interested in genealogy. Although Jacobus wrote the volume a full two decades prior to my birth, I found it to be of enormous import to me when I first began work on my own family history – and later as I moved into the world of professional genealogy, as it’s the very foundation of scientific American genealogy.

Following is a listing of the Table of Contents:

  • Introduction by Milton Rubincam
  • Preface to Revised Edition
  • Why This Book?
  • Puritan Peccadilloes
  • Family Pride
  • Genealogical Byways
  • Early Nomenclature
  • Royal Ancestry
  • Genealogy as a Profession
  • To Become a Professional
  • Commercial Firms
  • The Client
  • Source Material – Printed
  • Source Material – Original
  • Case Histories
  • How to Compile a Family History
  • Growth of a Colonial Family
  • Genealogy and Eugenics
  • Genealogy and the Law
  • Dates and the Calendar
  • How to Trace Your Ancestry
  • Appendix
  • Although today we often have the opportunity to use the Internet, as well as Family History Library resources to do much of our research, our research techniques are the same in principal today as they were in the era of Donald Lines Jacobus. For this reason I recommend this classic to anyone seriously interested in doing their family history. If you are thinking of becoming a genealogy professional, it’s required reading.

    I was recently able to obtain a large quantity of this book, and am offering them at a discount to my readers. For more information and/or to purchase a copy of Genealogy as a Pastime and Profession, click on the link. Only $8.96.

    PS: In 1982, I had the distinct pleasure and honor of taking a number of classes at the National Institute for Genealogical Research under the tutelage of Milton Rubincam. During that two-week period, I got to know the man, enjoying a trip to Alexandria where we visited a book store full of old volumes of the type that genealogists love to find. Milton recommended I buy a volume that I still have in my library today. Milton has been gone for years, but he lives on in our memories.

Ancestry Shares Rise on Rumors of Potential Buy-out

The following excerpt is from the August 23, 2012 edition of (ACOM) saw its shares rise nearly 3% Thursday on reports that the family history service is entertaining buyout offers.

Ancestry rejected bids earlier this month from Permira Advisers and TPG Capital as too low, and those private equity firms are now considering whether to increase their offers for the company, Reuters reported Thursday. One bid was for $35 a share, Bloomberg reported. In late afternoon trading, Ancestry, the leading online genealogy research service, was trading at 31.04.

Read the full article.