MyHeritage Now Acquires Geni and Gets 25 M $ in Investor Capital

It’s not been all that long ago that I was writing about MyHeritage’s acquisition of WorldVitalRecords. I was excited about that merger, which has proved to be a good move for both MyHeritage as well as WorldVitalRecords. The headquarters of MyHeritage and WorldVitalRecords were worlds apart – with MyHeritage based near Tel Aviv, Israel, and WorldVitalRecords being in Orem, Utah.

Now MyHeritage has acquired the Los Angeles, California based This acquisition made a lot of sense, as Geni comes with a user base of 7 million registered users (as compared to the 65 million users of MyHeritage), who have uploaded more than 135 million profiles to the website (as compared to about 1.35 billion on MyHeritage). As you can see, MyHeritage was by far the larger operation of the two. However, Geni was a popular U.S. operation with an interesting pedigree of its own. Geni was founded by none other than David Sacks – the guy who is said to be behind the enormous success of PayPal. Sacks is also the founder and CEO of Yammer. He will now join the MyHeritage Board of Directors.

I see this acquisition as a win for the genealogy community. MyHeritage is reporting that users of both MyHeritage and Geni will now receive matches with the family trees of the other website, and MyHeritage’s Smart Matching and Record Matching technologies will benefit the users, who will get access to historical records not accessible before at Being one of the “old timers” of the commercial genealogy community, I still think it’s important that the folks who run these large genealogy powerhouses also now a bit about the hobby itself – and that they just might be putting all these efforts into something that they are passionate about – not just for the money, but for love of family and community. I see the MyHeritage purchase of Geni as fitting into this mold. MyHeritage CEO, Gilad Japhet, started his operation by building a family tree program to fit his own needs, as at the time he couldn’t find a program that he felt did the job. It’s nice to know that we’ve got a genealogist running what’s now become a multinational family history company.

25 Million Dollars in New Venture Capital
I got a note this morning from Daniel Horowitz this morning stating that they have raised $25 million to boost MyHeritage’s operations in the years ahead and allow MyHeritage continue to grow and provide better services to their users. The funding round was led by Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), along with existing investors Index Ventures, and Accel Partners. This will have a positive effect on all the MyHeritage operations, including WorldVital Records, here in Utah.

I think it’s been a good week for genealogy!

By the way, I just ran a WorldVitalRecords promotion on GenealogyBlog, as well as in Genealogy Newsline. It ended Tuesday night. In light of this new good news about MyHeritage, I made a few calls today and got permission to re-up the WVR Promotion and run it again through Friday night, midnight MDT, November 30. It’s a great deal at ony $69 for 14 months – less than 1/2 the normal cost. Click here to learn more. And yes, I have an affiliate relationship with WorldVitalRecords. I’ve worked with them in one way or another since their founding, and plan to continue to do so.

Click here to read more about the acquisition at the MyHeritage Blog.

Holiday Savings Now! on WorldVitalRecords Subscriptions A Company

Happy Holidays to our
GenealogyBlog Readers

Dear GenealogyBlog Reader,

I am so excited to tell you that we have arranged

a great Holiday Special for all GenealogyBlog readers.

This holiday season you can get a great deal on WorldVitalRecords –

a deal that can save you over 50% off a yearly subscription!

When doing my personal research, I often turn to WorldVitalRecords to find everything from Newspapers and Obituaries to Census Records, Cemetery Records and much more. When I research I know that I am not finished until I have searched the databases of WorldVitalRecords.

A short time ago, WorldVitalRecords was acquired by, and I now recommend their services more than ever before. And today (November 28), I find that MyHeritage just got 25 million dollars in new funding, and they also acquired the popular website. So WorldVitalRecords is on the path to only get better and better!

WorldVitalRecords is a great resource for finding genealogy records for your family.

Do you already have a WorldVitalRecords subscription? Purchase at this GREAT price and 14 months will be added to your current membership.

Leland K Meitzler

Editor &Publisher

For a limited time WorldVitalRecords is offering a special discount (53% Off) on its annual membership.

Act Fast – this special
ends at midnight MST, November 30.

“I can now dive in and continue building this line with this powerful tool”
Thomas MacEntee –

Founder of

WorldVitalRecords provides you with:

  • New: MyHeritage Family Trees – 795 Million Records
  • New: All 1940 US Census images
  • New: 1940 US Census Index – now in progress
  • New: Over 500 Million UK Records

More than 4 billion historical names

• Birth, marriage, and death records

• Millions of newspapers dating back to 1739

• Millions of tombstone photos

• Hundreds of exclusive online databases

• Vital Records from 16 countries

• Social Security Death Index

• Thousands of yearbooks

• Millions more added each month


For a limited time,

Genealogy Newsline readers can join WorldVitalRecords for only $69.95 for a one-year
subscription PLUS two extra months for free, making it 14 months of
access if you purchase before Midnight MST November 30, 2012. That’s a savings of more
than $79!

This exclusive, limited time offer will expire on Friday night midnight MST, November 30. there will be no more extensions!
Don’t miss your chance to get this low price on this wonderful resource!

Click here to
join WorldVitalRecords today for only $69.95!


Using the MyHeritage Family Trees Now Found on the World Vital Records Site

I’ve had a membership to since the beginning of that website. I went to work for Everton’s in 2006, and they had a relationship with World Vital Records, allowing WVR to scan books and magazines in the Everton collection to be posted on the World Vital Records site. In all the time I worked as the editor of the Genealogical Helper (2006-2009), I watched millions of records being posted at the site, including some of my own, without ever seeming to achieve it’s goals and promise to become the #2 genealogy site on the web. I was laid off at Everton’s in early 2009, and continued to watch the WVR progress. They developed valuable relationships – with affiliate access to newspapers, gravestone data, and the like. But honestly, in comparing WVR to sites like Ancestry, GenealogyBank, and many others I had my doubts about whether the company had a chance of making the big time. Then two things happened. They hired a go-getter by the name of Mark Olsen who had previously worked for He used his expertise to help stabilize their cash flow, and added a professionalism I was pleased to see. Then the company was purchased by – a highly successful genealogy website based in Israel. The merging of the two companies was a genealogy marriage made in heaven. MyHeritage had huge family trees, many with European, as well as American connections and World Vital Records had data (books and electronic databases).

This morning I decided I’d check out the MyHeritage Family Trees which are now available at After searching for new information on my Titus line, and coming up empty, I switched to looking for new data on my Keelers. I searched only within the Trees – searching for databases and vital records information I didn’t already now about. Sure enough, I immediately found data about my 4th great grandmother, Dinah Keeler – most of which I didn’t already have. Some isn’t sourced, but other items are. Beside that, I have the contact information of the folks that posted the data. One of the features of the Trees is that off to the right hand side, there is a column that says something like: “More Records for Dinah Keeler.” In this case it stated that there were 3 birth, marriage, and death records I could check out. Clicking on the link, I found a copy of the marriage of Dinah Keeler to my fourth great-grandfather, the so-called James Canfield (and that’s another story). I didn’t have this document, and it gave me the marriage date that I didn’t have previously. Now I’ve got a lot more data to prove, cousins to contact, and other sources to look at. One of the MyHeritage Trees also led me to extensive data and more trees located at I’ve certainly got my work cut out for me, thank to my search on this morning.

Major Changes in the 1940 Census Indexed States!

Both and have made major progress this week in posting of Indexes to the 1940 Census. The following info includes indexes that are currently being posted the night of Thursday, June 28-Friday June 29, 2012. – As of tonight (Thursday-Friday June 28-29) the following sites can be searched by name at

  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Maine
  • Nevada
  • and New York

NEW! Ancestry is the only site that has the District of Columbia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee indexes available. The 1940 New York images and Index are available free of charge to New York State residents. The 1940 census records will remain searchable for freethrough 2013 at Indexes to the following states are posting the night of Thursday, June 28 at

  • Colorado – NEW
  • Ohio – NEW
  • Pennsylvania – NEW
  • Tennessee – NEW
  • Vermont – NEW
  • Virginia – NEW

These states will join the collection with the above four other searchable states and Washington D.C. (ME, NV, DE, NY). These ten states (and D.C.) make up more than 39 million records of the 132 million total records to be completed later this year. These records remain searchable for free through 2013 at

The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project

The free, searchable database from the coalition of:

Those organizations cooperating in the Census Community Project have the following censuses indexed as of June 28, 2012. I’ve linked these to, but you can also find them at, and

Note that as of today, Minnesota, and Rhode Island are 100% indexed, while New York and Missouri are 99% indexed, and Arkansas is 95% indexed by the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project, but the indexes are posted yet. – and have part of Rhode Island and the state of New York indexed. & Acquired by

I’ve known for some time now that FamilyLink, and it’s subsidiary, had been sold. As a data provider, I was asked to sign paperwork allowing my data to transfer, and keep my mouth shut. However, I didn’t know who bought the company. I just got a call from one of my friends at FamilyLink who let me know that the acquisition announcement had just gone out on Techcrunch, and I could pass the word on to you folks.

I’m excited about the acquisition. The Israeli company, MyHeritage, has a huge following – especially in Europe – and the principles of the company are folks that I’ve grown to like and admire. Following is the news release:

Israeli company MyHeritage, which operates a huge family-based social network has acquired FamilyLink, the developer behind family history
content sites and

While financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed, this is MyHeritage’s seventh and largest acquisition since 2007. Past acquisitions include Germany’s OSN, Poland’s, Dutch Family Network ZOOOF and most recently BackupMyTree.

MyHeritage has a simple goal: to help people discover who they are related to and help maintain these connections. The company’s Smart Matching technology takes data entered in and matches info with other family trees and data that people have entered in to the site to find relatives and explore their family history.

The site also offers a private home on the web for exploring family history and keeping in touch; allowing users to create their own family website, share pictures and videos, organize family events, create family trees and discover ancestors and long-lost relatives.

Backed by Accel and Index Ventures, boasts an international registered member base of 60 million users, offers its services in 38 languages, and is home to more than 900 million profiles and 21 million family trees. And the company is profitable.

For the company, Utah-based FamilyLink furthers MyHeritage’s presence in the US.>, and boosts MyHeritage’s offering to families with the addition of a database of more than 3 billion historical records.

Founded in 2006, both and are subscription services which provide access to a huge database of historical content, covering several billion individuals within census, birth, marriage and death records, as well as the web’s largest archive of historical newspapers.

With offices and staff in Europe, Australia and Israel; MyHeritage will now be adding its first US-based office in Utah, the home of

As MyHeritage founder and CEO Gilad Japhet says, “We’ll be able to find your mother’s yearbook, your great- grandfather’s will and your ancestor’s immigration record…We’ll do that on a massive, global scale, as we live in a world
that is smaller and more tightly connected than ever before”.

The CEO of, Paul Brockbank, previously CEO of Logoworks and GM of Hewlett Packard Web Print Solutions, will later join the MyHeritage advisory board. founder Paul Allen, previously a co-founder of, will not be part of the merger with MyHeritage.

MyHeritage faces competition from the less social, which is more US focused. But most people’s deep family trees span languages and borders. And while MyHeritage has a big global audience, FamilyLink should help the company broaden its user base in the U.S.

A Look at Some Central & South American Records at FamilySearch

In our discussions on research topics, we so often spend a great deal of time focusing on our ancestors who have come to the United States from the East or the West. But what about those who came from the South? Fortunately, FamilySearch has not forgotten about them. While availability of European and U.S. records have been easier to access and index in the past, FamilySearch has made great efforts to include those vital records accessible from Central and South American countries. This includes the Caribbean. Here is just a short list of indexed records which have been made available this year for free at FamilySearch:

Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965, 125,830 records as of 17 Sep 2011
Argentina, National Census, 1895; 3,888,939 records as of 6 Sep 2011
Nicaragua, Civil Registration; 363,085 records as of 16 Aug 2011
Peru, Civil Registration, 1874-1978; 163,944 records as of 16 Aug 2011
Jamaica, Civil Birth Registration; 1,528,614 records as of 13 Apr 2011
Costa Rica Church Records, 1595-1992; 1,380,256 records as of 8 Apr 2011

With so many people vying to get into the U.S., and with a hot-potato topic like illegal immigration seemingly in the news every other day or so, its easy to forget people actually immigrate to countries other than our own. Brazil and Argentina saw mass migrations of Europeans during the great wars. Some of these individuals and families, or their descendants, later immigrated into the U.S. Immigration records from foreign countries may just come in handy to your research.

Other records, both browsable images as well as indexed, have been added over the past couple of years. There are millions of available records, most belonging to someone’s ancestor, just waiting to be found.

George W. Meitzler Commits Suicide by Shooting Himself

While searching for Meitzler information at the WorldVitalRecords website today, I ran across a newspaper item about a bank cashier by the name of George W. Meitzler who went home and shot himself while the bank examiner was auditing accounts at the Union Central Bank in May, Idaho. This all took place in 1921 – nearly 90 years ago, so the incident has been long-forgotten. I knew Meitzler lived in Idaho, and I have an old Idaho postcard around the house somewhere whose photographer was George W. Meitzler. But until today I didn’t know about this guy’s sudden death.

The newspaper item reads as follows: “Mackay, Idaho, Aug 27 – George W. Meitzler, cashier at the Union Central bank in May, committed suicide Thursday morning by shooting himself at his home at May. Mr. Meitzler went to the bank that morning, opened up and received the state bank examiner. A few minutes thereafter he excused himself and went home, saying that he would be back in a few minutes, and after an hour or so a messenger was sent to the house and discovered the body in the basement. Mr. Meitzler left no word and there can be no cause ascribed for his act. The bank examiner found the affairs at the bank in perfect shape.” See the Original Newspaper at

George was from a different line of Meitzlers than my family, having been born in Indiana 24 November of 1860 or 1861 (conflicting information). According to the 1900, 1910, and 1920 census, his wife’s name was Uma. According to his death record, found at, George died on the 24th of August, 1921, and was buried in the Salmon, Idaho Cemetery on the 26th. His father was John Meitzler, born in Germany, and his mother was Mamie Landers who was born in Kentucky.

The website has thousands of databases, including newspapers from the NewspaperARCHIVES website. This item on George W. Meitzler was a particularly interesting clipping that I wouldn’t have run across if I hadn’t done a quick search. According to the WVR website, the collection from contains select newspapers from 1759 to 1923. Currently online 1890 – 1891, 1892 – 1893, 1894 – 1895, 1896 – 1897, 1898 – 1899, 1900 – 1901, 1902 – 1903, 1904 – 1905, 1906 – 1907, 1921 – 1922 and 1923. is currently running a special on memberships – . You might want to check it out. I have an affiliate relationship with, and have for many years. In fact, they have a lot of my data on their website.

World Vital Records is Three Years Old

October 1, 2009 marked the 3rd anniversary for World Vital Records. The brainchild of genealogy entrepreneur, Paul Allen (the World Vital Recordslesser), the site is currently boasting 1.4 billion names in over 12,000 databases – all available online at Initially, they made a commitment to add one genealogical database every business day. However, according to their Family History Bulletin of October 9, over the last year, they have averaged over 20 genealogical databases added each business day. I’m sure their many agreements with various genealogical publishers have strengthened that effort.

World Vital Records Extends their Free Access Through August 18

I got a note last night that has extended the free access to their website through August 18. Although the banner at the top of this website still says August 11-13, it’s actually extended through the 18th. Click on it and try out World Vital Records at no charge. No credit card entry is required. Opens Site Allowing for Free Public Access to More Than One Billion Family History Records With the Addition of the Largest Number of Records to be Released in a Single Day Since the Site Launched in 2006

The following was written by FamilyLink staff. It’s a heck of a deal. Click on the graphic to check it out!

Free Site Access 300x250

PROVO, UT, August 11, 2009 –, an online family history resource, today announced the addition of the largest number of records to be released in a single day since the site launched in 2006. To commemorate this milestone, for the first time WorldVitalRecords is offering free public access to its entire online collection of historical and genealogical records beginning August 11 and continuing through August 13, 2009. The public will have unlimited access to more than one billion records in over 11,000 databases from around the world including newspapers, census, birth, marriage, death, immigration and military records; family trees; stories and publications; and yearbooks.

“As a genealogy enthusiast, I’m thrilled that people can go to one place like, try family history research for free and find their parents or grandparents, and see how simple it is to start tracing back and discovering stories that bring family history to life,” said Jim Ericson, Vice-President of Marketing for Family Link. “This is a rare opportunity to delve into the records and discover information about your family and ancestors you may have never known.”

Featured records in this release include:

Historical Newspapers
Through a partnership with Newspaper Archive, WorldVitalRecords is adding access to pages from a variety of newspapers from all over the United States, dating from 1759 through 1923. This collection features images of entire newspapers from the western frontier, the Midwest at the turn of the century, and the long-time standard of our nation’s news, “The New York Times” which includes over 7 million names. Newspaper Archive produces the largest historical newspaper database online, and the collection is fully searchable by keyword and date, and individual pages can be saved or printed.
According to Gena Philibert Ortega, Genealogy Community Director for FamilyLink, “Part of the fun of family history is uncovering details about our ancestors’ daily lives — the events of the day, the goods and the services they bought. Newspapers allow us to better understand our ancestors.”

Immigration Records
Living in a country of immigrants, ship passenger lists and other records documenting immigration can be an essential part in learning more about your family history. It is a thrilling experience to see their names transcribed on paper the day they entered this country through the Port of New York. Browsing and searching these passenger lists is a perfect way for someone to start researching their family history. This record collection provides documentation of over 150,000 passengers who arrived on nearly 8,000 ships at one of the busiest ports in the United States, New York, from 1820-1832.

In partnership with the website, WorldVitalRecords is doubling its collection of digitized yearbooks. This collection features university yearbooks from the late 1800 to mid 1950’s. houses the largest collection of old college yearbooks on the Internet. Universities featured this week include Duke University, University of Oklahoma, Iowa State and the College of William and Mary.

Vital Records, Military Records and Tax Lists
Other records being released on the site include birth, marriage, tax lists, military records, and death records from Maine, North Carolina, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and South Carolina.

Focused on helping users discover and share their family history, WorldVitalRecords adds new records to their online collection everyday.

About is simplifying family history research by providing many easy-to-use tools and resources to discover and connect with others interested in family history. WorldVitalRecords provides access to more than one billion international and U.S. records provides affordable access to genealogy databases and family history tools used by more than 258,000 monthly visitors. The site registers 3.6 million monthly pages views and serves tens of thousands of paying subscribers. With thousands of databases—including birth, death, military, census, and parish records—. makes it easy to fill in missing information in your family tree.
WorldVitalRecords is part of the, Inc. network of family-focused interactive properties including, GenealogyWise, WebTree, WorldHistory, and the We’re Related and My Family applications on Facebook.

World Vital Records Launches Scottish Death Records 1747-1868

Over 13,000 geo-coded Scots deaths records have been posted at the new website. This unique set of Scottish Death Records was extracted from parish records of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Specific parishes include Cockpen, Midlothian; Cranston; Crichton; Dalkeith; Dunfermline, Fife; Edinburgh; Fala; Gladsmuir; Heriot; Humbie; Newbattle; Pencaitland, Midlothian; Prestonpans, East Lothian; Salton; Shotts; Tranent, and East Lothian. The folks at World Vital Records continue to launch new data, almost on a daily basis.