Archive for July, 2006

BYU Family History and Genealogy Conference Starts Tomorrow

Monday, July 31st, 2006

We are really excited to attend the 38th annual BYU Genealogy and Family History
tomorrow in Provo, Utah. This year’s theme is: Strengthening Ties That Bind Families Together Forever. The conference lasts from August 1-4. More than 100 classes will be offered at the conference on various topics, such as: Beginning Family History, Family History Center Support, Computers, Europe/Nordic Research, British Research, U.S. Research, Methodology, and Publishing Family Histories. Keynote speakers include Elder Marlin K. Jensen, executive director of the LDS Church and Family History Department, as well as Jay L.Verkler, associate managing director of the LDS Family and Church History Department.

Stop by our booth to enter our drawing, pick up one of our latest newsletters, learn about our photo contest, and share with us your thoughts about genealogy.

Go to for additional information about the conference. We hope to see you there. Adds 1 Million New Records This Week

Friday, July 28th, 2006

This week we added 1 million new records to our site! This launch includes the following datasets: 857,135 Maine marriage records; 106,512 Texas marriage records from 1966; 126,355 Louisiana land records; and 36,106 influential names from the Wikipedia, starting with the letters I-Q for a total of 1,126,108 records.

According to David Lifferth, Senior Content Engineer at, approximately 110,000 people have had articles written about them in the Wikipedia. These people constitute some of the most influential people in the history of the world.

Check it out on our site. Here are a few URL’s containing links to Martin Luther King, Albert Einstein, and Robert Schumann (composer).

Martin Luther King:

Albert Einstein:

Robert Shumann:

We are pretty excited about this launch and will be adding content on a continual basis. If you are interested in receiving updates on our newest data sets and features, send an email to

24th of July Parade Experience

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006 experienced its first parade yesterday in Logan, Utah. It was a great experience. There were several thousand people in attendance at the parade, and it was really neat to hear the reactions people had to our tagline that said, “Building the #2 Genealogy Site.” Here are a few pictures from the parade.

Jared McKenzie ties the banner to his pickup, in preparation for the big 24th of July parade.

Shown from left to right: Amy Rhoads, Director of Research and Development and Community Building; Jared McKenzie, Parade Driver, fan; Whitney Ransom, Director of Corporate Communications

Shown from left to right: Darla Seamons, Director of Content Acquisition; Jared McKenzie; Yvette Arts, Executive Vice President

During the parade, several members of our team passed out flyers about our Web site. We also announced a contest we are having. Here are the details:

Pioneering into the Future Contest

Show your pioneer spirit and break new ground by uploading a photo at You will receive one entry for every old photo (before 1950) you upload to from July 25-until midnight on August 25. (There is no limitation on the number of photos an individual can submit.) Winner will receive a gift certificate to have 25 scanned photos for FREE and will be notified on August 26.

Check out the rest of the contest details at this URL:

We are excited to receive these photos, which of course, will remain in our free section, visible to anyone who wishes to view them.

3 Exciting News Items For The Day

Tuesday, July 18th, 2006

Today is the big day for our first newsletter launch! Hooray! Just to give you a sneak preview, some of the items we will be talking about will include a section on what you can expect at, the meaning of the word “vital” in our company name, a section about some of the databases we have launched, as well as the datasets we will launch the rest of the week. We have also highlighted what you can do with geocoded SSDI data. I better stop before I share everything that will be in the newsletter. Look for it later today on our Web site. If you prefer, you can also sign up to receive it by sending an email to <>.

The second piece of exciting news is that tomorrow will be switching over to a different management system. This statement means a lot to our programmers, and to users, well, check out our site tomorrow, and also read our blog in which we will talk about the new functionality.

Last, but certainly not least, we launched the Florida land records dataset today, containing 81,560 records. What is the importance of these land records? One reason is that they can be useful to researchers in helping them place an individual in a certain time and place, connecting them with families and neighborhoods. It also provides additional context into the life of your ancestor. That’s right, one land record could help you determine the history of the area in which your family lived (perhaps even the exact house), the neighbors that lived nearby, as well as the stores where they shopped. Land records certainly provide rich information that can be vital to your genealogy.

Nearly 40,000 Records of Famous and Influential People to Search and Discover at

Monday, July 17th, 2006

We are launching a really “famous” database today at Yes, today you will actually be able to search for records on influential people such as Benjamin Franklin, Emily Dickinson, and Albert Einstein. This new database includes nearly 40,000 records of famous people who have pages in the Wikipedia. Perhaps you’re counting the number of famous people, and you’re thinking, “Certainly there must be more than
40, 000 records in the Wiki.” Of course there are. Today we are just launching records for famous people whose first names begin with the letters A-H. (We’ll launch I-Q this Friday, and R-Z on July 27.)

While we’re on the topic of notable people we should remember, next Monday we will be at the 24th of July parade, in Logan Utah, celebrating our pioneer heritage. We can’t wait to get our handcart ready, announce a new data set, and share our theme: “ Pioneering into the Future”. We hope to see you there!

Why travel to Logan for the Pioneer Day Celebration? Here are a couple of reasons.

First of all, Logan has a great parade and a variety of festivities (fireworks, fun run, rodeo, sports tournaments, etc.). The parade will include everything from horse-drawn wagons and buggies to floats and fancy cars from commercial, community, civic, and non-profit organizations.

Second, after the parade, we are going to visit our friends at Everton Publishing.

Finally, I am from Preston, Idaho (Napoleon Dynamite territory), and we may just have to take a little tour to see if Napoleon and Pedro are also celebrating Pioneer Day.


Thursday, July 13th, 2006

I have been working in the public relations industry for a few years and have learned that when you make a mistake, it’s best to take full responsibility for it and take the necessary actions to rectify the problem.

With that introduction, we would like to make an official statement to a comment we received in regards to our blog yesterday. The comment said “Please use accurate numbers.” (View the supporting blog to the comment.)

First of all, our intent was not to deceive. We misstated one sentence which said, “And just in case you wanted to know, our average reach this week has been 27 million viewers.” The sentence should have been written as follows: “And just in case you wanted to know, our average reach this week has been 27 PER million viewers.” We had an internal misunderstanding on this number and apologize for this error. In an effort to show that we were not trying to mislead anyone, we actually included a statement about our reach, and supported it with an explanation from Alexa on the definition of reach. Again, we were not trying to inflate our numbers. We want to provide clear and honest information.

The blogger also made a comment that a great deal of our traffic is going to our development site. We believe that this is partly because Paul Allen, our CEO, as well as several others, actually included a link to our development site in one of their blogs before we actually switched to the live site. These numbers represents these individuals who are following those links to our site, as well as the developers who are actually using the site. Yes, knowledge of our development site is public. People are excited about genealogy and often go there to see some of the databases we are adding. We are okay with this. We want people to have an awareness of what we are doing as well as an excitement to tell their friends and family members.

We thank this individual for correcting us and for giving us a reason to look more closely at our numbers before we report them.

What have we been up to at

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

We’re happy that people are coming to and appreciate the feedback we have received. Although we are a small genealogy player at the moment, we are steadily adding content.

Since July 5, we have added 77 million 358, 000 records to Here is the breakdown:

Today, we are launching 260, 000 Alabama Land records.

Yesterday we launched 98,000 pre-1908 Ohio land records. These records document the transfer of land ownership from the federal government to individuals.

The day of our launch we added 77 million records, including the SSDI. All of these records are geocoded, allowing users to visually see the city and neighboring counties on a map where their ancestors lived.

According to Alexa rankings, our reach per million users today was 20 million, and our three month change in our reach is 740 percent. And just in case you wanted to know, our average reach this week has been 27 million viewers.

How are these rankings calculated? Alexa calculates reach by expressing it as a percentage of all Internet users who visit a particular site. Alexa computes the average weekly reach and compares it with the average reach during previous weeks for each Internet site.

Reach measures the number of users. Reach is typically expressed as the percentage of all Internet users who visit a given site. So, for example, if a site like has a reach of 28%, this means that if you took random samples of one million Internet users, you would on average find that 280,000 of them visit Alexa expresses reach as number of users per million. Alexa’s one-week and three-month average reach are measures of daily reach, averaged over the specified time period. The reach rank is a ranking of all sites based solely on their reach. The three-month changes are determined by comparing a site’s current reach and reach rank with its values from three months ago. – Alexa

Our Story

Monday, July 3rd, 2006

At, we recognize that data sets, pedigree charts, and family trees are important aspects of genealogy, but we also realize that family history is really about connecting lives and sharing memories. From the moment you land on our page, we want you to have comfortable, productive and rewarding experience. Our number one goal is to provide you with the information you need. We are committed to serving you. If we don’t have what you are looking for, we will direct you to the best places we know to help you make those essential connections.

Perhaps you have heard that Paul Allen, our CEO, is the founder of and Why is he aiming to build the number two genealogy site in the World? Having a great love for family history, and an awareness of the field, he recognizes that there are many genealogists with needs that are not being met. One of his motives for building this site is simply because he feels compelled to build a genealogy company and community that is easy to access, affordable, and full of resources and services that assist individuals as they search for their loved ones.

Paul is not new to the world of genealogy. In 1997, he and Dan Taggart founded, whose mission was to “digitize the genealogical records of all nations” and make them accessible on the World Wide Web. In 1998, they launched, an online network that connects families with their ancestors and with one another. Within a few months of the launch, had more than 1 million registered users and was considered one of the fastest-growing community web sites of all time. In fact, it was designated the Viral Marketing Company of the Year in 2000 by Technology Marketing magazine. Today, owns a network of web sites including,, and is considered an IPO candidate by Fortune magazine and other industry observers. Paul left the company in 2002 to pursue other entrepreneurial ventures. As a shareholder, he hopes that will reach its full potential, but believes that competition spurs innovation and will make the industry healthier.

At our goal is to provide you with record databases from all over the world, geocoded data, references to top genealogical resources, a blog planet, podcasts, videocasts, Webinars, expert advice, training, and user-generated content. We’re moving as fast as we can to build this genealogy community with resources and services that people really need. We invite you to participate with us as we collaborate with partners and affiliates all over the world to bring you all the information you need in one central location.