World Vital Records, Inc. is thrilled to celebrate its one-year anniversary!
Where We Have Been, and Where We Are Going at World Vital Records, Inc.
Founded in 2006, by Paul Allen and several key members of the original Ancestry.com team, World Vital Records, Inc. provides affordable genealogy databases and family history networking tools to a worldwide audience.
“I started Ancestry.com back in 1996. Over the next few years I saw it grow into the largest genealogy company in the world. Because of some internal decisions made by our investors I felt the company changed directions from our original intentions, and I left the company in 2002,” said Paul Allen, CEO, World Vital Records, Inc.
After leaving Ancestry.com, Allen still felt the need to bring families together and to do it in a way that was affordable to families. These desires brought Allen back to the genealogical field. In 2006 he started World Vital Records. Some of the first employees were Richard Stauffer, former Ancestry content processing developer, and John Ivie, data compiler for the first three billion records at Ancestry. These two programmers played a vital role in building the foundation of Ancestry.com. David Lifferth, content engineer, also began to work at World Vital Records and later Allen selected him as the new president of World Vital Records, Inc. World Vital Records’ management team has more than 30 years of combined experience as pioneers in the online genealogy industry.
One of the main strategies Allen set was to partner with as many companies as possible to acquire content, while sharing revenues and royalties with these content providers. In September 2007, DearMYRTLE wrote, “With all the partnering, special offers, combined sign-ups and such, WVR clearly wins the award for the most prolific agreement-signing genealogy website of the year.”
On October 4, 2006, World Vital Records sold its first membership subscription with 21 online databases. Currently World Vital Records has tens of thousands of subscribers with thousands of databases containing more than half a billion online names and records.
Everton Publishers was the first company to partner with World Vital Records. As part of the partnership, all of Everton’s content including the Genealogical Helper and Everton’s Pedigree Files and Family Group Sheets became available at World Vital Records. In May, 2007, World Vital Records held the first genealogical press release during the 2007 National Genealogical Society (NGS) Conference. During the conference, World Vital Records announced its partnerships with FamilySearch, Quintin Publications, and The Statue of Liberty Foundation/Ellis Island.org.
World Vital Records has also partnered with companies such as SmallTownPapers®, Accessible Archives, NewspaperARCHIVE, Find A Grave, and Allcensus, to bring birth, marriage, death, military, census, and parish records online.
“This time around with our new company, we are trying to make sure every employee at World Vital Records understands our mission to use technology to connect families to their ancestors and to each other,” Allen said. “We have excellent investors who believe in our mission, and we intend to partner with hundreds of societies, archives, and libraries to make wonderful genealogical content available at an affordable price.”
World Vital Records adds content daily. Some of its most popular databases include Everton’s Genealogical Helper and Family Group Sheets and Pedigree Files, and the World War II Army Enlistment Records. The Social Security Death Index (SSDI), the Ellis Island Passenger Arrival Records, Find A Grave death records, and SmallTownPapers® newspaper collection are free to access and frequently viewed. Each week World Vital Records sends out a newsletter containing upcoming databases, industry news, genealogical tips, articles on recent databases, and more.
World Vital Records exists to meet the needs of its subscribers. Its business model includes a customer focus that is responsive to industry needs. World Vital Records sends out surveys to its members on a regular basis to find ways to improve the site. Recently it was named by Family Tree Magazine, America’s largest-circulation genealogy magazine, as one of the 101 Best Family History Web Sites.
“I am very pleasantly impressed by what I have seen so far, and have signed up for a subscription. What clinched it for me was doing a search for my Polish family name and being amazed to find a reference to my mid-nineteenth century great-great grandparents in an obscure digitized Polish book, which I would never, never have found any other way,” said Natalie Lamb, World Vital Records, Inc. subscriber, Berkshire, England.
World Vital Records has currently built 48 international communities. Each free community page has a search engine that allows users to search the best genealogical Web sites in English, as well as the native language.
“Our primary goal at World Vital Records is to help people find information about their ancestors that they need. If they can’t find it on our site, we will direct them to wherever that information may be located,” Lifferth said.
World Vital Records recently built FamilyLink.com, a free social network for genealogists and families, which is currently in beta. At FamilyLink.com individuals can upload their family tree and their GEDCOM files, send messages to genealogists in more than 20 countries, upload photos of their favorite ancestors, and connect with more than 15,000 genealogists and family historians in more than 1,600 places.