Does it feel like Ancestry.com’s been on a shopping spree, with this year’s acquisitions of Swedish records site Genline, research firm ProGenealogists, and now iArchives, parent company of historical records subscription service Footnote?
iArchives started in 1994 and provides document digitization services to libraries, universities, archives and newspapers across the country. Footnote launched in January 2007 as a way to bring that content to home users.
We suspect that even more than the Footnote website, Ancestry.com values the relationships and contracts that iArchives has already established with record-holding institutions. That would make it easier for Ancestry.com to negotiate content digitization agreements.
We love that when it launched, Footnote provided something different for genealogists at a time when online genealogical innovation seemed to have stalled. Footnote’s search interface, records viewer, social networking options and emphasis on history in addition to genealogy still distinguish it from other genealogy database sites.
We just hope Footnote doesn’t turn into another Genealogy.com, a site Ancestry.com purchased in 2003 and still maintains, but has allowed to languish while it pours resources into the stronger Ancestry.com site. We’re also curious how this acquisition will affect another Ancestry.com competitor, Archives.com, which offers Footnote’s census indexes to its subscribers.
The genealogy of the genealogy industry does seem to always lead to Ancestry.com. Rather than a long explanation, here’s a quick sketch of the acquisitions and major content partnerships I could think of (Ancestry.com has formed content partnerships with many organizations; I listed only two).