Tim Sullivan, President and CEO of Ancestry.com spoke as one of the two keynote speakers on the second day of RootsTech 2013. He began his comments by focusing on the need for the professional genealogists to be patient with and see the value of working with beginner genealogists. He mentioned that the beginner can often provide valuable information and insights to help the professional create a more accurate family pedigree. “The key,” said Sullivan, “is to collaborate with each other.” Both the professional and the novice have something to contribute to each other’s success in piecing together one’s family history.
Sullivan encouraged those who begin using Ancestry.com to make their family tree public. If you already have your tree on the Ancestry website and you’ve listed it as a private pedigree, then it’s an easy matter to make it public. Sullivan suggested that by making one’s pedigree public, it encourages useful collaboration. The public display of one’s pedigree allows others, both family and non-family members to view what you currently have. Viewers can then provide you with added documentation or provide useful documentation and suggestions for changes to make your pedigree more accurate. The key with collaboration is to be open minded and willing to see what others have to offer.
What is Ancestry.com doing to encourage this collaborative effort? They are creating a single location on their website where uses can post their pedigrees so that experts and beginners can work together to create a more complete and more accurate pedigree. Ancestry.com is also working hard to provide as many digitized records as possible so that users can use original documents to document their genealogies.
Sullivan announced some exciting new products and services as well. They include:
- The new iOS app version 4.1 for iPhones and iPads. This came about partially because 1/3 of all registrants came from some kind of mobile device. The need is there and their audience is including more of the younger genealogists who are making full use of such technology.
- Ancestry’s DNA service is cheaper. Ancestry.com is now offering its DNA research services for $99. This is available for subscribers and non-subscribers alike.
- New content. Over the next 5 years Ancestry.com has committed to spending $100 million dollars to digitizing and indexing new content.
- Continued collaboration between Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. Ancestry.com and FamilySearch will work together to capture 140 million pages of U.S. probate records. This will include images and indexes. It will create a national registry of wills, letters of administration and other probate records that will span from 1800-1930. This is a 3 year project.
The audience was excited about all the new and exciting changes coming to Ancestry.com.