Last week DC Thomson Family History, the organization that owns findmypast.com, acquired Mocavo. This seems like an excellent step forward for both of the companies.
DC Thomson has an excellent collection of records and has been a significant player in the commercial genealogical world for many years. They have strong expertise inside their organization and have been investing in a number of markets. They began in the United Kingdom, but have steadily added records in British related markets for years. The have one of the strongest relationships with The National Archive of the United Kingdom of any commercial entity and it has created unique market positions for them as they have published many record sets first, from The National Archive. Findmypast is also unique in the genealogical market in allowing customers options for purchasing access. They have the traditional subscription model, but also have used a pay per view for rich indexes and images to allow a “try before you buy” approach. This has been very successful for them in the UK and adjacent markets.
Last year DC Thomson recruited new leadership for findmypast and the new CEO, Annelies van den Belt, has brought a new vibrance and energy to the company. She made changes in their technology team and their customer experience team and began to make strategic changes in their approach to the brands owned by DC Thomson in the family history and adjacent spaces. They launched a major initiative to bring together the variety of sites they operated onto one platform to make them more customer responsive and more nimble. They have taken some criticism for their initial changes to their record search experience, but the foundational work they have done, that users cannot easily see, will likely pay dividends into the future. The new platform should allow them to bring more content and experiences to their users more quickly.
Mocavo began in 2010 and have positioned themselves over the years as Google for genealogy. They have received many accolades from genealogists for the quality of their search and other technology. They have been in a start up mode with limited capital and have had steady, but modest growth in the content area over the years. They have done an outstanding job at SEO and marketing in general and have built a loyal following in the genealogical community.
To me, this combination of talents is a perfect match and will allow findmypast to have a team in the United States to facilitate growth. Findmypast was a part of the group of companies, with FamilySearch, who indexed the 1940 census and in addition to their outstanding British, Irish, and Australian collections they have a quite strong US collection.
Findmypast will bring depth, stable finances, a strong record base, and a good organizational foundation. Mocavo will bring strong innovation, good US knowledge, and strong marketing. I have not often seen a better synergy of strengths between two organizations. I look forward to seeing the innovation and leadership this new team can bring to all of us as we search for our ancestors.