Thursday, May 17, 2007

Paul Allen and World Vital Records

Off and on over the past year I've been reading Paul Allen's blog. In case you aren't aware of it, he was one of the founders of Ancestry.com, which he left five years ago, and he is the driving force behind World Vital Records.

It's kind of interesting to get a 'behind the scenes' view of starting a company, though I'll admit it can be a bit dry reading at times! Still, the insights provided are enlightening. His announcement of the World Vital Records Partnerships shows his enthusiasm for what he is doing and how he hopes to help improve the world of genealogy research. These partnerships should help increase traffic to the Family History Centers and will make more records accessible to more people than ever before.

His blog deals for the most part with the business aspect of genealogy and with business in general, so it's not a "genealogy" blog (posts that are categorized as "genealogy" can be found here).

As stated in a previous post, these are indeed exciting times for genealogists and family researchers! However, I feel that the news of this "explosion" in genealogy resources to come must be tempered somewhat with caution. It's going to take time and not all records will be available (at least, not in my lifetime). It's just not feasible when you consider how many records there are and the various kinds of records that are kept. We also need to keep in mind that that is a business and though the motives and intent may be good, the bottom line will be profit. That is probably what is driving 'The Generations Network' to make the decisions they have in the recent past. We need to be optimistic and hope that these new companies and partnerships will keep the needs and desires of their customers in mind - accessible records at a relatively low cost. Collaboration is good, competition is better. I applaud Paul Allen and World Vital Records for their partnership with FamilySearch and all of the other companies that have announced partnerships in the last few days and am very much looking forward to using all these resources.

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