Friday, April 29, 2011

POP!!! Wall Street Sez: We Can Haz Genealogy!

Everybody in “professional” or “really, really serious” genealogy has been speculating whether the popularity of the TV series “Who Do You Think You Are” will do much to bring more people into the "big tent" that is genealogy.

After all, in addition to the TV show, there are those nearly ubiquitous commercials from suggesting that you don’t even have to know what you’re looking for.  You can just go to, sign up, and start to find stuff.  Great stuff, too, they say!  It’s so easy, just like the stars do it on TV.

Just look for the family trees with little green leaves and – bingo – you can haz ur genealogy!

Well, apparently in answer to the “bring more people into the big tent” question, the answer is a resounding “yes”.

How do we know?  Because the common stock of (ACOM) just popped this morning, Spindletop-like, following the release of their latest financial report with future earnings estimates. 

Ancestry’s first quarter profits (that’s actual profits, not revenues) were a whopping $9 million dollars – double the previous estimates and significantly higher (in a statistically-significantly kind of way) than those folks on “The Street” thought they would be.  The company now estimates its annual revenues this year to be $100 million dollars.

[6:24 PM CORRECTION:  I typed too fast - the company estimate of annual revenues is $395 - 400 million.  The $100 million figure is just for the second quarter estimate. Still...]

That’s a lotta dollars.

So, the market went a little bit crazy and the stock went up (wait, let’s see;  hmmm, okay…) 34.4 percent as of 2:04 PM today.  Of course, that won’t be the final number (these things fluctuate… oops – now it’s 40.5% as of 2:12PM). For every buck investors had in Ancestry stock yesterday afternoon when the market closed, they now have about 40 cents more (oh, wait…it slipped back a little bit…it’s now a 36.8 percent gain…no, now it’s 39.74%...

The folks on Wall Street seem to think that more and more people will continue to buy more and more of what Ancestry sells.  Now, the question is, will they like what they see and will they stay inside the big tent that is genealogy?

Time will tell.

Is it really important that they stay in the tent?

Actually, yes, because for each newly converted genealogist, that’s another voice to join the rest of us to speak out against the closing of libraries and archives, to lobby for open records and to make a loud and forceful noise about the importance of preserving our collective heritage.

As organized religions have known for thousands of years, the newly converted often make the best proselytizers.

(ACOM stock’s up 40.11% at 2:36PM, Friday, April 29, 2011…no, wait...38.12% at 2:52 PM...)

UPDATE: FINAL MARKET CLOSE:  $45.70, up 42.55%!

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