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Ancestry.com and Footnote.com

Several weeks ago Footnote.com (as part of iArchives) agreed to be acquired by Ancestry.com and that transaction has officially closed. As we join forces with Ancestry.com there is a huge opportunity to leverage each other’s strengths and move even faster towards our goals. You may be curious about how this deal affects members of Footnote.com? The plan is to continue to run Footnote.com the way we have always run Footnote.com—continuing to do what we believe is best for our brand, our customers, and our business.

Now that the deal is officially closed we are excited to leverage some of Ancestry.com’s resources and expertise to take Footnote.com to the next level. It has been exciting to see Footnote.com grow over the past 4 years. Footnote.com started with only 5 million historical documents and today we have nearly 70 million searchable documents, over 1 million members, nearly 100,000 Footnote Pages, and over half million annotations added. We couldn’t have done it without our members and the great team at Footnote.com and we are excited for Ancestry.com’s support in the next chapter.

Footnote.com – a subsidiary of Ancestry.com

46 Comments

  1. I hope this doesn’t mean we’ll have to pay an additional membership to Ancestry.com.

  2. And when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints releases all of their microfilm digitally on the internet; for free? Then what will you do.

  3. I have a subscription to both, does it mean I still have to pay for both?

  4. Brian – they’ll still have the digital scans of the National Archives microfilm, much of which was never available outside of Archives I in Washington, DC.

    Not to mention scans of documents that were *never* microfilmed.

    Glad to hear that the plans are to continue to operate Footnote.com in the same manner, as a site independent from Ancestry.com.

  5. I am member of both sites. I’m just hoping that Footnote prices don’t go sky high for membership like Ancestry.
    Are they thinking of makeing a combo payment If you want access to both sites?
    Or would they offer a discount if your a member of both sites when it somes time for renewing?

  6. I am sorry to see this. Your company is far too good to be bought out by a group that is only in it for the $$$$ Wish you would have stayed independent. I enjoy your site.

  7. I was going to join footnote, but since you are now part of Ancestry, there is no reason.

  8. I hate to see you sell out. Ancestry has taken over site after site and continually raise their rates. They now charge exorbitant fees for their sites. If your rates go up equal to Ancestry i certainly won’t renew.

  9. When I found out several weeks back that footnote sold to ancestry.com, I canceled my subscription. I love footnote, and it was always my “go to” place on the internet. Say what they want, the prices will go up and there will be some other unacceptable requirement now that ancestry has ownership. Sad really. I can’t even afford ancestry.com.

  10. I have a subscription to Ancestry but also have used Footnote extensively. Footnote was available through the Army Library system to those that have access to the system. As soon as the acquisition was announced, access to Footnote was evidently pulled, or so it seems. (No one that I’ve contacted at Footnote knew anything about the access, or why it was removed.)

    I am very disappointed that the access was dropped, as are others that have been made aware of the fact. Access to Footnote by our military seems like a small perk that could be (and, note, WAS) available to them.

  11. I am in agreement with the latter members of Footnote.com

    The acquisition is bad business for members who enjoyed the access Footnote.com afforded the curious without annual membership & controversy. Ancestry.com should change there name to Hijack-u.com (due to numerous member complaints).

    To Brian.
    I could be wrong. To my understanding, Footnote.com is in a 5 year agreement with NARA. Afterward, the information will be at no cost! (To be continued…maybe).

  12. Add me to the disappointed crowd — love Footnote, but Ancestry is awful and pricey.

  13. Ditto, Erika and others. I’ve dropped Ancestry as it is too expensive and their Search doesn’t filter correctly by years wanted. I may not continue my Footnote subscription either if Ancestry changes it or makes it more expensive. I live miles from any Library, so a subscription is worth it, but only if it stays reasonable for my fixed income.

  14. Footnote has been my “God send”..ancestry has nothing compared to what Footnote does. I use both but 95% of the time my time and research is at Footnote. Footnote is #1

  15. The language in the announcement is very ambiguous. Why didn’t they tell members peior to sell? Yuck.

  16. I too am cancelling – when I can get to the “change auto payments screen” – - which will not come up. Two years ago
    I cancelled my membership with Ancestry.com when they automatically “raised” my autopay amount – - without any notification to me. Then said “we can take any amount we want” – from my bank account – I think not! They wouldn’t give me their account so I could reciprocate their attitutde . . so cancel now and if you can’t get to the screen to do so – then call your bank and have them refuse the transaction. Do not click on the upgrade now button !

  17. It is sad to see a reputable site be gobbled up by a behemoth that is only looking out for profit. I joined footnote.com because it was not ancestry.com.

  18. Yes this acquisition by Ancestry was a major disappointment. Wish it was Footnote purchasing Ancestry instead. Ancestry has quite a dysfunctional search engines too. And yes they do not reply to almost any inquiry I have. They could do better than they do with their fees but chose not to. I have found Footnote to be so much better and hope Ancestry does not raise its fees just because they chose to buy Footnote, but I won’t hold my breathe. For some of you genealogists out there, how about helping the LDS church by becoming an indexer and getting the FREE genealogy online!

  19. I subscribed to footnote BEFORE it was bought out by Ancestry. When the year term expires, how will a renewel be done? Through Footnote with its separate rate? OR: Through Ancestry with an additional rate? Need answer.

  20. Thanks to everyone for your comments, kind words and straight talk. We hope you’ll continue to let us know what you think, here or on the contact page as we continue trying to make Footnote a better place for you to do your research.

    Here’s the official line on the plans for the future of Footnote:
    “Footnote is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Ancestry.com but will continue to operate as a separate company. Footnote.com and Ancestry.com operate as separate websites with separate content and separate subscriptions. We are working on some special Footnote deals for Ancestry subscribers and will be rolling them out in the near future.”

    We can’t speculate much more than that. Ancestry is a publicly traded company and we have to be careful about “forward looking” information (Ivory, this is also the answer to your question about why we didn’t let members know prior to the acquisition–it would have been illegal), but we look forward to working with Ancestry to find ways to improve the value of Footnote.

    To address a couple of specific questions posted here,
    Sherri, the discontinued access at the Army Library is unrelated to the acquisition. The army subscribed to Footnote through EBSCO, our partner for institutional/library subscriptions and decided not to renew their subscription. We were sad to hear about it.

    Elizabeth, renewals of Footnote subscriptions will continue to be handled by Footnote and will only apply to Footnote.

    Thanks again for all your feedback. We hope you’ll hang with us through this transition and let us know what we can do to make Footnote more useful to you. If you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

  21. I hate that you have sold out to Ancestry – they gobbled up the only good site left to search for informarion, sorry you felt you could not make a go of it on your own, Footnote has changed already – not easy to search already I am having difficulty finding information I have easily found previously, such as records for a Confederate in Mississippi there was 33 or 34 pages of his records, now I am unable to locate any of his papers….when my subscription is up in 2 years I will not be re-newing.
    Totally disgusted with Footnote!!! which was a GREAT site now is a poor source to search, so, can you convince me otherwise??????

  22. The news that footnote has been gobbled up by ancestry.com is VERY disappointing. I subscribed to footnote.com because it was NOT owned by Ancestry.com. Their history of lapping up every family history site, profiting from content from individuals and then not giving a hoot about the accuracy of the information they distribute is extremely distressing. I am sorry to hear that footnote.com has decided to follow this trend.

    I will now reconsider my footnote subscription status and will no longer upload any personal content. Pardon me while I go and delete the information I have contributed to date. Thanks for teaching me that freely contributing to ANY family history site is an exercise in futility that will only profit the owners of Ancestry.com.

  23. Pingback: Ancestry.com and Footnote.com | News On Trend

  24. thank you Peter, for your thoughtful response to your customers’ concerns. i am a long-time user of Ancestry.com and have only dabbled in Footnote.com (thus far it hasn’t been as useful to me). i do look forward to the “special Footnote deals for Ancestry subscribers” you mention… between this and the obvious love of Footnote as a resource your regular users have, i will be taking a closer look at what you offer.

  25. What is all the beef about, I have been with Ancestry.com for many years. It is a tool for research as is Footnote.com which I have. Genealogy is my only hobby and both are great to assist in my research. I go other places on the Web, so should you.

  26. i just recently discovered your site so far so good.

  27. why did Foootnote bill me after I called to cancel another year of your “services”? I hope ancestry’s good information remains the same and that the billing department gets better. I wasted too much time trying to cancel Footnote. After all that I am still billed and have to waste more time trying to speak with someone again to try to cancel your incorrect billing.

  28. Why do people complain about the costs of these sites, i.e., Ancestry, Footnote, Find My Past, etc.? If you would only sit down and figure out how much it would cost to travel to all the places they give you access to you would see that your money is well spent here. The less than $500 a year I spend is thousands of dollars less that I would spend visiting the countries of my ancestors.

    Through these sites I have found ancestors and documents all over the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, England, Scotland, Germany etc etc etc.

    As a retiree on a fixed income, I could not even have afforded the trips to all the US and Canadian places. I do try to go to some closeby areas just to see the land where my ancestors trod, but those outlaying places, especially overseas, are way out of my reach.

    Stop complaining folks. It’s our money that enables these companies to hire people to go to those areas, digitize and index the records, and put them on their site for our enjoyment and pleasure.

    They do a good job for our few bucks.

    Peggy

  29. Thanks, Peter, for your explanation of all the changes. If Ancestry.com is to benefit from Footnote.com, what are Footnote subscribers’ benefits from Ancestry.com?

  30. I am totally confused. I joined Thanksgiving day to Footnote for $39.00 and I was already a member of Ancestry. Will they continue both charges? I too am having trouble navigating in footnote. Any suggestions?? Janet Dees

  31. Kathleen,
    That’s a great question. Details about the best ways for the sites to work together are still being worked out. If you have suggestions, we’d love to hear them.

    Janet,
    The plan is to continue to run Footnote as a wholly owned subsidiary of Ancestry. We have started to offer some discounts to current Ancestry subscribers (it sounds like perhaps you got one of those), but the sites will continue to run as separate subscription services.

    If you continue to have trouble navigating Footnote, please contact us and let us know what kinds of problems you are having and we’ll do our best to help.

  32. I am totally confused. I joined Thanksgiving day to Footnote for $39.00 and I was already a member of Ancestry. Will they continue both charges? I too am having trouble navigating in footnote. Any suggestions?? Janet Dees

  33. Wow – I was just reviewing what Footnote offers and by chance happened upon this blog article. Glad I did. I just canceled my Ancestry.com subscription because of their confusing and, IMO, predatory renewal policy. I was looking for a new research home online and Footnote was looking pretty good until I read this. Peter, I imagine that Ancestry.com will soon take over your billing and subscription services? Currently they only have automatic renewal – regardless of pricing changes – and while you can upgrade your subscription to a higher priced plan, you cannot renew at a lower priced plan. I discovered my plan was going to renew at $100 more than the previous year and tried to downgrade to the US plan instead of World. I was told I had to stay at the higher level or cancel. Peter, I now doubt that I will subscribe to Footnote, but either way, please be very honest with your current subscribers as to whether or not your subscription renewal policy will follow that of Ancestry.com from now on. Those customers are your lifeblood and you should be frank and open with them.

    Thank you.

    Jim McGowan

  34. I don’t understand all the fuss. Sure, it would be nice to maintain more competitors, but that’s how real life works.

    If you are serious about genealogy, unless your interests are very geographically limited, you need subscriptions to Ancestry, Footnote, GenealogyBank, and NEHGS and to use the new FamilySearch and all those great public archives that have online content. They each have their advantages and disadvantages, both in terms of features and in content. They each have content the others don’t, so you need them all. And in sum, the subscription prices are very reasonable for any hobby, especially compared to any other method for acquiring the same information.

  35. i really was excited to discover your site and all its records especially the texas birth and death certificates.
    thanks again lisa olson.

  36. I have been member of ancestry.com for many years, although I have a limited income, I still find ancestry resonable priced for what it offers. I just recently discovered footnote.com and find it is very resonably priced and a great compliment to my family research and ancestry. In one days research online with both sites I find Ive actually got my monies worth and then some.

  37. i am really just interested at the moment in us army ww2 info.will i be wasting my time subscribing now?

  38. Thanks for the nice comments Adele, Lisa and Terry.

    Sue, We sure hope subscribing to Footnote is not a waste of your time. We have some great WWII records on the site now and we’re currently adding more. We’ll continue to do our best to make Footnote a valuable resource and hope you will let us know what we can do to make it better for you.

  39. thankyou for your rapid response Peter!i will subscribe as planned on the first.you all seem so helpful and im sure you can help me.i really want to know all i can about my uncle who was kia when he was just 21 years old.thanks again p.s.im the one who needs 1 extra day to get discount!lol.

  40. Is this where ppl come to bitch about ancestry.com? :-P I’ve yet to build up any animosity toward a genealogical site, seems sorta silly.

  41. I am VERY sorry to learn of Footnote.com’s recent acquisition by Ancestry.com. I just found out about Footnote 1/19/2011. It does seem that Ancestry is swallowing up all the research database web sites. Based on their actions to date, I have no doubts that they will be raising their subscripion fees to reflect their near monopoly of the industry.

  42. Your website has a wonderful historical value,
    the large content of original documents of our
    forefathers, which is unmatched, preserved for
    us to re-witness the birth of the greatest nation
    on earth.
    This is visible record of our ancestors’s who
    were unafraid of facing personal loss, and unafraid
    to fight religious oppression taking place in their
    native countries. Thus the importance of this site
    in combination with Ancestry.com. Great acquisition.
    Together they construct a past and immediate past
    for many Early Americans and their descendants.

  43. Pat, we don’t have the Mobile Register. Here’s a link to to all the papers we have in Alabama.

  44. Please tell us what the renewal price will be for ancestry.com members who are also members of footnote.com.
    Thanks

  45. It is exactly what will happen. Ancestry found something else it could charge for. We will have to pay to view actual records on ancestry. It has already happening. I try to look at Civil War compiled service records and I have to join Footnote to see them.

    I am so tired of being nickled and dimed that I am ready to opt out of the whole thing.