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Mundia is an interesting story. Although it is ranked #24 on our Top 100 List, family tree websites have proliferated over the internet since Mundia was initially launched. Mundia also indirectly competes with other Ancestry offerings, such as the main Ancestry.com website and Family Tree Maker software. Finally, there are now much larger competitors in the space, such as MyHeritage. It is possible that over the next couple of years a trend could develop where a few of the smaller family tree websites could be shut down or incorporated into some of the larger offerings in this space. Mundia could be an example of this trend.

As Thomas MacEntee mentioned in his blog post, senior management at Ancestry held a conference call with several prominent US bloggers to discuss these recent changes. Naturally as a free and independent voice in the field of genealogy, we were not invited (Ancestry doesn’t even acknowledge our emails). The analysis in this article is our own.

MyFamily was a social network website designed to allow families to connect and communicate with each other. It initially launched in late 1998/early 1999. It required a subscription. Since MyFamily first launched, Facebook has grown immensely in popularity. It is also free and much more powerful. Basically, MyFamily outlived its usefulness.

MyCanvas is a website that makes photo books and calendars. Lots of websites do that. There was nothing unique about this website.

Ancestry’s decision to discontinue their Y-DNA and mtDNA tests is a bit of a different issue. As the high-profile DNA testing website 23AndMe found out the hard way several months ago (when they were shut down by the US government), there is a line between offering ethnicity DNA tests and DNA tests that can be construed as medical tests. DNA tests that drift into the medical field require medical licences and a much much higher standard of care. Ancestry has decided to not go down this path, so they will no longer offer such tests.

This overall announcement from Ancestry has to be put into a broader, long-term perspective. Ancestry grew to become the dominant company in the field of genealogy by a combination of buying out successful competitors (like it did recently with Find A Grave, see Ancestry.com Buys Find A Grave) and internally building new products.

Every few years, Ancestry trims the family tree. This recent announcement from Ancestry is simply the latest in a long cycle of the company buying, building, rationalizing and (where necessary) purging websites and products.

Originally published June 2014

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