Thursday, August 23, 2007

MyHeritage acquires Pearl Street Software

Renee Zamora was the first blog post I saw about the acquisition of Pearl Street Software by MyHeritage. Her news-filled post is here, including a Question and Answer letter from Paul Shaw, the President of PSS.

This acquisition makes, IMHO, MyHeritage a major player in the genealogy database world, because it has acquired:

* the GenCircles user-contributed databases (160 million names) - and it will be FREE. While not as large as the Rootsweb/Ancestry WorldConnect/Ancestry World Tree and the LDS databases, it is a major database containing useful and significant family data.

* the FamilyTreeLegends Record Collection databases (over 400 million records) - and it will be FREE. Many of these records are unique to this web site, and some are provided by other genealogy providers.

* the FamilyTreeLegends genealogy software - and it will be FREE. You can download and use this software - perhaps it is just what you need. Note that I haven't tested it yet, but I will soon!

MyHeritage now claims 17 million members from all over the world, and there are many user-contributed databases accessible on the site, which can be searched by surname and other criteria.

Have you searched the MyHeritage site recently for databases that contain your ancestral names (you do have to register - it's free, and that's why they have so many members!)? They have over 1,100 databases now that they search for your search matches. This search is probably the most comprehensive search site I've found - they list the database, whether it is free or subscription, and how many entries match your search criteria. You can click on the link to the web site listed and see the search matches. It takes a while to search on a surname, but searches on a given name-last name is faster, and provides fewer matches.

So now we have Ancestry, WorldVitalRecords, Footnote, FamilySearch, WeRelate and many other genealogy database sites (both free and commercial) with searchable documents and/or searchable user-contributed family tree data.

Announcements like this one are fantastic for genealogy researchers. Competition is a wonderful thing!

No comments: