That hasn't stopped Ancestry from acquiring a company that catches their eye.
"We cheer on anyone who is trying to find a unique niche in the family history space," Sullivan said. "Footnote was a great example of a company that was really focused on a particular positioning and niche, and we like that. We've increased the size of the team, digitizing more content, investing in the product and we're growing subscribers because we feel like it's a great complementary offering to the core ancestry experience."
Increased demand has also enticed new companies to enter the space, bringing more competition.
Archives.com, a division of Redwood City, California-based Inflection LLC, launched in January 2010. The company recently added more than 500 million names through U.S. Census Record indexes in a partnership with FamilySearch. The site has 1.61 billion records. By comparison, Ancestry has more than 7 billion and FamilySearch has 1.5 billion.
Archives charges $39.95 per year for an account. Ancestry's paid service charges $155.40 for an annual account. FamilySearch doesn't charge.
"Our mission in this space is to make family history simple and affordable," said Matthew Monahan, CEO and co-founder of Inflection, which owns Archives. "Learning about your family history and doing genealogy in the past was very time intensive."
Regardless of how big the market has already grown, analysts believe there is still That leaves room for expansion.
"The vast majority of records are still offline," said Justin Patterson, an analyst for Morgan Keegan. "Until that scenario changes, this is likely still a growth market."
FamilySearch's name indexing taps 125,000 volunteers illustrating increased social enthusiasm in the space. With its volunteer force, records are indexed 40 times faster than before, said Verkler.
Some of this growth also comes from consumer contributions, which is an approach family history companies are taking. Ancestry notifies users when others share or update possible relatives on the site.
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