About World Vital Records, Inc.
Founded in 2006, by Paul Allen and several key members of the original ancestry.com team, World Vital Records, Inc. provides affordable genealogy databases and family history networking tools to a worldwide audience.
"I started ancestry.com with my best friend back in 1996. Over the next few years I saw it grow into the largest genealogy company in the world. Because of some internal decisions made by our investors I felt the company changed directions from our original intentions, and I left the company,” said Paul Allen, CEO, World Vital Records.
After leaving ancestry.com, Allen still felt the need to bring families together and to do it in a way that was affordable to families. These desires brought Allen back to the genealogical field.
Before founding World Vital Records, Inc. Allen started Provo Labs, Inc. an incubator fund of seed capital for emerging companies, or a “think tank.” Some of the first employees at Provo Labs were Richard Stauffer, former ancestry content processing developer, and John Ivie, data compiler for the first three billion records at ancestry. These two programmers played a vital role in building the foundation of ancestry.com. David Lifferth, content engineer, also began to work at Provo Labs and later Allen selected him as the new president of World Vital Records, Inc. World Vital Records’ management team has more than 30 years of combined experience as pioneers in the online genealogy industry.
Once Allen became the CEO for World Vital Records, he set a goal to acquire 10 percent of the market share in the genealogy space by the year 2012 OR he set a goal to become the number two genealogy company on the Web. One of the main strategies Allen set to achieve this goal was to partner with as many companies as possible to acquire content, while sharing revenues and royalties with these content providers. In September 2007, DearMYRTLE wrote, “With all the partnering, special offers, combined sign-ups and such, WVR clearly wins the award for the most prolific agreement-signing genealogy website of the year.”
On October 4, 2006, World Vital Records sold its first membership subscription with 21 online databases. Currently World Vital Records has more than 16,000 subscribers with more than 3,000 databases containing more than half a billion online names and records.
Everton Publishers was the first company to partner with World Vital Records. As part of the partnership, all of Everton’s content including the Genealogical Helper and Everton’s Pedigree Files and Family Group Sheets became available at World Vital Records. In May, 2007, World Vital Records held the first genealogical press release during the 2007 National Genealogical Society (NGS) conference. During the conference, World Vital Records announced its partnerships with FamilySearch, Quintin Publications, and The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. (www.EllisIsland.org).
World Vital Records has also partnered with companies such as SmallTownPapers®, NewspaperARCHIVE, Find A Grave, and Allcensus, to bring birth, marriage, death, military, census, and parish records online.
“This time around with our new company, we are trying to make sure every employee at World Vital Records understands our mission to use technology to connect families to their ancestors and to each other,” Allen said. “We have excellent investors who believe in our mission, and we intend to partner with hundreds of societies, archives, and libraries to make wonderful genealogical content available at an affordable price.”
World Vital Records adds content daily. Some of its most popular databases include Everton’s Genealogical Helper and Family Group Sheets and Pedigree Files, and the World War II Army Enlistment Records. The Social Security Death Index (SSDI), the Ellis Island Passenger Arrival Records, Find A Grave death records, and SmallTownPapers® newspaper collection are free to access and frequently viewed.
World Vital Records exists to meet the needs of its subscribers. Its business model includes a customer focus that is responsive to industry needs. World Vital Records sends out surveys to its members on a regular basis to find ways to improve the site. Recently it was named by Family Tree Magazine, America's largest-circulation genealogy magazine, as one of the 101 Best Family History Web Sites.
“I am very pleasantly impressed by what I have seen so far, and have signed up for a subscription. What clinched it for me was doing a search for my Polish family name and being amazed to find a reference to my mid-nineteenth century great-great grandparents in an obscure digitized Polish book, which I would never, never have found any other way,” said Natalie Lamb, World Vital Records, Inc. subscriber, Berkshire, England.
World Vital Records is also making significant investments in servers, storage capacity, and data processing equipment in order to create a great product for consumers. Each week World Vital Records sends out a newsletter containing upcoming databases, industry news, genealogical tips, articles on recent databases, and more.
World Vital Records has currently built 48 international communities. Each free community page has a search engine that allows users to search the best genealogical Web sites in English, as well as the native language.
“Our primary goal at World Vital Records is to help people find information about their ancestors that they need. If they can’t find it on our site, we will direct them to wherever that information may be located,” Lifferth said.
World Vital Records recently built FamilyLink.com, a free social network for genealogists and families, which is currently in beta. At FamilyLink.com individuals can upload their family tree and their GEDCOM files, send messages to genealogists in more than 20 countries, upload photos of their favorite ancestors, and connect with more than 15,000 genealogists and family historians in more than 1,600 places.
Meet The World Vital Records, Inc. Team
Paul Allen, CEO
Allen has made substantial contributions to the field of genealogy. He co-founded ancestry.com in 1997 and was its first CEO. He also served in several major roles, including VP Marketing, before leaving the company in 2002.
Allen is currently the CEO of World Vital Records, Inc., with a goal to provide access to billions of high quality records from all around the world to people who are doing genealogy and family history research. World Vital Records, Inc. also recently launched FamilyLink.com a free, social network for genealogists and families.
He also recently received the Utah Genealogical Association (UGA) Fellow award at the 2007 UGA Annual Genealogical Conference held in Salt Lake City.
Allen has been an entrepreneur since 1990 when he co-founded Infobases with Dan Taggart. Infobases was a successful CD-ROM publisher of religious and educational CD ROMs that made the Inc. 500 in 1996.
John Ivie, Senior Content Engineer
When John Ivie, senior content engineer at World Vital Records, left his last job at a genealogical company, his tasks were re-assigned to 14 people. John has set a standard for all who work at World Vital Records: Do the work of at least 10 people in whatever job capacity you hold. Ivie has prepped data for more than 10,000+ databases, and billions of records. He even launched 1,000 databases in one day!
After Ivie graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, he was hired to do technical support for Infobases, Incorporated. Ivie was also one of the first individuals to get involved with genealogy/family history work at ancestry.com. During the years he worked for ancestry, he helped to make billions of records, and thousands of databases available to the public.
Brad Pace, VP Development
Brad Pace is a man of many talents. He is currently the VP of Development. He has a variety of experience ranging from Web design and development to Internet marketing and product management. He also specializes in search engine optimization, search engine strategies, online advertising, and pay per click advertising.
Pace was the first front end web developer and designer for MyFamily.com before it was launched. In fact, he created the user interface for many of the tools on the site that are still being used today. He has a great sense for design and usability. Pace loves Web development and Internet marketing and the challenge that comes with optimizing every aspect of doing business online to achieve success.
Pace has an Electrical Engineering degree from the University of Utah. He and his wife Becki have four children.
Richard Stauffer, Senior Programmer
Richard Stauffer is a man of many talents and has worked in software development for more than 15 years. He has worked at ancestry.com, MyFamily.com, Infobases, RetroLink Associates, and 10x Marketing. While at ancestry, Richard was the architect and senior developer behind ancestry.com's search engine that handles millions of visitors each month and searches several billion names. Stauffer also spent several years developing custom interfaces for searching many CD-ROM products for InfoBases, Inc. He has also written dozens of software applications and has built search engines for CD-ROM products, TV set-top boxes, and the Internet.
Richard worked for Ameritech Library Systems for four years. In 1993, he received a degree in Computer Science from Brigham Young University. He gained an extensive background in library programming services by working with libraries all over the world. He also started his own company, Stauffer Consulting, designed to create custom software for everything from rodeos to the legal profession.
Scott Spencer, Call Center Manager
When Scott Spencer was hired as World Vital Records, Inc.’s first Call Center Manager in July 2007, he brought a wealth of talent, experience, knowledge, and enthusiasm with him. As Call Center Manger at World Vital Records, Spencer is responsible for inbound and outbound sales, recruiting, hiring, and training individuals to sell products offered at World Vital Records.
Before coming to World Vital Records, Spencer worked at TGN Call Center where he managed the inbound sales and support department for Genealogy.com. Later he was the quality manager over TGN’s Call Center, and then the assistant operation manager of inbound support. Scott worked in supporting the inbound operation. During his time at TGN, Spencer led many key projects that impacted the growth and success of TGN’s Member Services, including a paid research hotline for genealogists. Prior to working at TGN Call Center, je was the operations manager at Pitney Bowes for their American Express account in Salt Lake City.
Jason, McGowan, Product Manager
Jason McGowan is from Alberta, Canada, although his roots are from England. He is currently the product manager and creator of Familylink.com, which has more than 15, 000 users, and has been with this project from its inception to its launch. Recently McGowan built several Facebook applications.
McGowan has had a variety of business and technical experience ranging from judging the Miss National American Miss pageant to owning several businesses, such as byu.com and ldsstock.com.
At the age of 16, he managed a restaurant, which consequently provided him with the opportunity to be on a cooking show for six episodes where he was the assistant to the chef. He is also the former owner of ElderMissionary.com and SisterMissionary.com. Jason served an LDS mission to Las Vegas He is the second youngest of seven children.