Ancestry.com. Sometimes, when you are a small and specialized business like ours, gratitude for the "big guys" doesn't always come easy because they can feel like a fortress in the community. This can make it difficult for smaller businesses to break through into the market. Still, none of us can deny the importance Ancestry plays for all of us and I have felt the need to share some of the things I appreciate about Ancestry's presence in our market.
I think we all learned how much we depend on them, personally and professionally, with the recent shutdown and denial of service attack. It felt like the end of the world and some of us were ready to jump from the rooftops when all of that went down. So, sure, Ancestry feels pretty impenetrable sometimes, but clearly, we all learned how much we want and need them around.
One of my favorite things about Ancestry, from a business perspective, is that they have proven the virtue of being commercial in the genealogy market. They've blazed a pretty wide trail for many of us and shown that capitalism works in this market. Kudos for that.
And a sincere note of gratitude on this list is for the good Ancestry has done for spreading the word about family history to the general, mainstream culture. These folks are definitely the poster face for the genealogy community to the rest of the world and people have turned to researching their personal histories as a result of the advertising Ancestry has done. In the end, isn't that what we as genealogists really want anyway--people to become interested and invested in their family history? I know that is one of my personal passions and I have to give Ancestry some credit here for the role they play in that.
As a little post script, I suppose I should also say that I am particularly grateful that Ancestry has recently shuttered their chart printing business (more on that later). I mean, that is a definite boost for my company, so thank you Ancestry! I'm especially thankful for that business decision. Speaking of which, is anybody in need of a family chart?