The Real Ellis Island Experience

I had a great experience Tuesday at Ellis Island. Hundreds of people gathered on a historic day, April 17th, to celebrate the lives of some of the immigrants to America who came through Ellis Island. We remembered several individuals whose hands helped build America, and whose descendants have contributed so much to this country. April 17, 1907 was the busiest day in the history of Ellis Island, with 11,747 immigrants coming through on a single day.

FamilyLink.com soft launch

I have been in NY and Chicago this week, and haven't found the time to blog about this yet, but our wonderful sleepless team at World Vital Records has quietly opened up FamilyLink.com to the public. We are hoping for a few thousand early users, experienced genealogists primarily, to set up personal profiles, tell us what cities they do research in (and where they live), create some ancestor pages, and most of all, give us lots of feedback about the site features and design.

My European Awakening

I just returned from 7 days in Europe. Thanks to LinkedIn Answers, I probably saved $1,000 on airfare on this trip by taking the advice of some of my connections who are more experienced last-minute travellers. (I've joked that with all this great advice, I could publish an ebook on last minute European travel and probably sell it for $10 on our ebook site.)

Physical Libraries vs Electronic Libraries

The Everton Collection at the Logan Library in Logan, Utah could use more visitors. Last September Leland Meitzler on his excellent genealogyblog broke the following news about one of the largest private genealogical collections in the U.S.:
I really feel that I'm being premature in posting this blog, but since the word is now circulating on the Internet, I'm forced into it. Yes - plans are underway for the Everton library to open in early October. I will announce the actual opening when it happens. The Everton collection, which has been unavailable to the public for over two years now, will be opening soon. Logan Library Director Ron Jenkins has been interviewing potential librarians for the collection - and earlier this month, Jenkins hired Jason Cornelius, who is moving from Salt Lake City to Logan. Cornelius will be a full-time librarian, cataloging and overseeing the daily operations of the collection.

Genealogy in India

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that World Vital Records' India page ranks #3 in MSN for "india genealogy." I'm still trying to convince FundingUniverse.com to roll out 6 regional web sites in India, as suggested by an Indian entrepreneur who explained to me how startup funding might naturally happen in that country. I don't know if I've blogged about it, but 3 years ago I read "India Unbound" by the first venture capitalist in India, Gurcharan Das. It is an absolutely incredible look at the economic revolution that has been occuring in India since 1991. I am very optimistic about the future of India, which will be the world's most populated country by about 2030.

International Genealogy and Search Engine Rankings

For many years I have wanted Ancestry.com to go international, since the world population is more than 20 times larger than the U.S. population. I felt that a Rootsweb-type model could be done in virtually every country of the world, followed at sime time, by an Ancestry-type subscription model. The one (a user generated content model) would lead to the other (a premium database model.) Note: I left the company in February 2002 and have no inside information about the company or its plans.

Ancestry.com “Thrilled” With New Genealogy Startups

The Salt Lake Tribune published this interesting article two days ago:
Utah-based Ancestry.com, with 900,000 subscribers the reigning king of commercial Internet genealogy services, welcomes Geni.com and a spate of other online family history newcomers to its world. "For years, we were the only ones driving growth in this category," said Tim Sullivan, CEO of Generations, which owns Ancestry.com, MyFamily.com and related sites. "So when we see Geni or any number of new genealogy upstarts, we're thrilled," Sullivan said.