Archive for August, 2006

First 5,000 World Vital Records Subscribers Get 2 Years for the Price of 1!!!

Friday, August 25th, 2006

It’s true. On October 4, World Vital Records will be launching its subscription model. Before I go any further, I want to say that World Vital Records will always have free content on its site. However, when we launch our subscription with a billion records, a new world of content will be available. We are going to start selling subscriptions when we attend The Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference (FGS) next week. We are really excited about this conference. We are going to be sharing a booth with one of our partners, Everton Publishing.

Here’s our special subscription offer: The first 5,000 people who purchase a subscription to World Vital Records will receive two years for the price of 1! That’s right, it’s a two for one offer!!!. The cost for the subscription will only be $49.95, that’s less than $1 per week! As I have researched the genealogy market, I have seen yearly subscriptions that cost more than $300 per year, so I think $49.95 for two years is an incredible price. When Paul Allen, our CEO, told us about his vision for World Vital Records, he explained to us that he wanted to keep subscription prices low and affordable. In essence, he doesn’t want people to be restricted from finding their ancestors because they can’t afford it. Paul is a man of integrity and has kept his word.

We hope to see you all at the FGS Conference August 30-September 2. We will be selling our subscription online in September if you can’t be at the conference, but still wish to purchase a subscription.

Family History: An Industry Full of “Lovecats”

Monday, August 21st, 2006

Milton Mayeroff said, “Love is the selfless promotion of the growth of the other.” This thought ties directly to one of the books that Paul Allen, CEO, World Vital Records, recommends that all of his employees read: Love is the Killer App. This book is about becoming a “lovecat” in which you freely share your knowledge, networks, and compassion with others, without expecting anything in return. I think this is an excellent concept that really changes people for the better.

Paul expressed his passion for the ideas in this book by saying,

This book has changed my life more than any other business book that I have ever read. Tim Sanders is my hero: he has finally helped me to feel completely whole as a business person. He has taught me how to find joy and happiness at work as well as in my personal life. There are three keys. First, gain abundant knowledge (mostly through reading and marking up great books) and share it freely with everyone who needs it. Second, build your network and share it freely with everyone who needs to know someone you know. And third, show love and compassion in the workplace. Treat people with respect. Look them in the eyes. Shake hands warmly. Genuinely care about others. I have tried to follow Sander’s advice since my friend Jim Ericson recommended this book to me and I read it intensely. I gave away 10 copies of this book in April and will continue to recommend this book and give copies away to people I meet whose lives I hope to touch in a positive way. Highly Recommended!”

One thing I love about the family history industry is that people who perform this work have already latched onto these ideas about love, sharing, and caring. They are willing to share their genealogy and family history knowledge with others and do it without expecting anything in return. When I attended the Genealogy and Family History Conference at BYU, Elder Marlin K. Jensen, a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church Historian and Recorder and Executive Director of the Family and Church History Department, gave the keynote address and discussed this very topic. He said the following:

Equally important is for you actively to seek out opportunities to share with others what you have learned and to assist them to master the basic technological and genealogical skills. I know in today’s world those who possess something of worth, tend to guard it carefully. They seek copyright, patent, and other legal protections and often attempt to profit financially from their knowledge or skills. Remember, however, that in the gospel of Jesus Christ to truly possess something, we have to share it with others. Becoming a friend, a mentor, a guide or in family history parlance, a consultant, for someone navigating the shoals of family history research for the first time is a Christian act indeed.”

I’m grateful to be working for and within an industry that is full of “lovecats”. I know that if we all adopt a similar attitude of sharing knowledge, networks, and compassion we will be able to connect more individuals to their families and move this great work forward.

Colorado Bliss: 128,309 New Records

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

If you have ancestors from Colorado, you are going to love some of the new data sets, totaling 128,309 records, that we have launched this past week and will launch this week. Some of these records include the following: Colorado Land Registration Receipts (1913-1919), Colorado State Penitentiary Index (1871-1973), Colorado Mothers’ Compensation (1913-1935), Colorado Federal Census Index (1870), Colorado Old Age Pension (1933-1936), and the Colorado Civilian Corp.

The Colorado Civilian Corp. was one of several federal relief programs which sought to alleviate distress caused by the massive unemployment of the 1930’s. The program achieved this through the establishment of camps where young men worked on forest and conservation projects throughout the country. Colorado had numerous Colorado Civilian Corp. camps throughout its undeveloped and forested land.

The Colorado Civilian Corp. was open to young men primarily between the ages of 17 and 23 whose families were in special need. The enrollees had to agree to allot the majority of their pay to their families. The usual enrollment was for a six month term while the maximum term of service was two years.”

—-Colorado State Archives: CCC in Colorado.

The Colorado State Penitentiary Records are also interesting. When you go to, you can see the name, inmate prison number, and the admittance date. FYI: Records for inmates #12494-12760 are actually missing, but if you are interested in obtaining those records, you can contact the Colorado State Archives Record of Convicts.

New tombstone feature at to help people locate burial locations of loved ones

Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

This past week we talked to nearly 400 people at the BYU Family History and Genealogy Conference. We really enjoyed telling everyone about one of our new features. Now, when you look at one of our death records, you will also see tombstone icons that are placed on a Google map.

The tombstones represent cemeteries that are located near the place where the individual died. I think this is a great resource because it gives people extra information as to where the individual may have been buried.

Here is how it works:

  1. Go to
  2. Fill in at least one of the fields labeled Surname, Given, Date, or State and click Find.
  3. Next, click on the record that you wish to view.
  4. You will be directed to a full-record page view, in which you will see a Google map, with the cemeteries located nearby.

Try it out. Use this new feature to discover where your ancestors are buried. Recognizes Urgent Need for International Records

Tuesday, August 8th, 2006

When talking to people this past weekend at the BYU Genealogy and Family Conference, I noticed that many of them were very anxious to receive records from Italy, Germany, Africa, Mexico, and various locations in Asia.

In fact one person I was talking to said that she had already found all of her ancestors in the United States and was simply waiting to get more information on some of her ancestors in Holland. Others would stop by our booth and say, “Do you have any records from Scotland?” We were really excited to hear this excitement for international records and also recognize that these resources are scarce and the need for these records to be available is great.

With the name World Vital Records, we intend to have data sets from all over the world! Of course we are not there yet, but I just want to make everyone aware that are plans are to acquire international records.

Day 2: BYU Family History and Genealogy Conference

Tuesday, August 1st, 2006

We are here having a great time at the BYU Family History and Genealogy Conference. We are sitting in the vendor section surrounded by several great companies:, Family History Live On Line,, and Acentra. takes your pictures and stories and combines them into a “biography”-style documentary and artistic book. They can also do videos. I have looked at several of these books, as well as one of their videos and the quality is really high. They capture the things that matter most to people, including their values and family, and important experiences that have happened in an individual’s life. Tom Taylor is the owner of this company, which he has been operating for 12 years. He definitely has a passion for helping people celebrate and commemorate their lives.

Pictures and Stories

The next company is Family History Live Online. The owner of this company is Robert “Tex” Crawford. He has been sharing fun stories and experiences with us since we set foot at the conference. Family History Live Online provides live support for people who need assistance while they are doing their genealogy. Their tagline is “Taking the Mystery out of Family History.”

Family History Live On Line

Across from our booth is If you have a fear of writing, Robert Paxton and his team at can help. Robert provides tools to help people write their family histories, as well as complete writing services. They can pull a family history together in just a few weeks.


Acentra is a new company that is simply awesome. They take images, documents, videos, cassettes, and convert them to a digital format. They say that it takes a consumer approximately 45 seconds to scan a single-sided standard document or photo. Acentra claims to be able to scan a double-sided standard document or photo in 1 second! That’s pretty fast!