To mark the achievement, Ancestry.com has given Ms. Ocheltree a complimentary lifetime subscription to continue her research in a family history archive that now includes more than 10 billion historic records and images from more than 40 countries, dating back to 1270 A.D.
"Ancestry.com is helping me unravel the secret knots of my family's history and replace a mystery with a provocative possibility," said Ms. Ocheltree. "In Victorian England, my great-grandmother gave birth to my grandmother out of wedlock when she was 25, and no one in my family ever heard her say who the father — my great-grandfather — was. Through Ancestry.com, I discovered my great-grandmother was working as the head housekeeper for a wealthy, landed English family. Was my great-grandfather also in service for that family, or — shades of 'Downton Abbey' or some English romance novel — might I be related to my great-grandmother's wealthy employers? That's what I'm using Ancestry.com to research now."
The company is also awarding a lifetime subscription to its longest-standing active member, Sharon Bowen of Sheboygan, Wis., who has been a subscriber continuously since 1997. Ms. Bowen joined Ancestry.com after learning that her husband, Floyd Bowen, was related to Moses Carver, a white farmer who raised the pioneering African-American scientist George Washington Carver after slavery was abolished, encouraging the younger Carver's intellectual pursuits.
"We are grateful to all our subscribers for helping us reach the milestone of two million active subscribers, and for challenging us to continuously improve our service," said Tim Sullivan, President and CEO of Ancestry.com. "When Ancestry.com began more than 15 years ago, our goal was to make family history research accessible to — and fun for — everyone. Our reaching two million active subscribers is just the latest step in the public's growing interest in discovering more about themselves by preserving and sharing their family history on a global basis."
Since Ms. Bowen of Sheboygan began her subscription to Ancestry.com nearly 15 years ago, the site has grown from 472 million static, text-only records — a variety of vital records, family and local histories that were originally sold on CDs — to more than 10 billion online searchable documents and images, including prison logs, ship manifests, historic newspapers and yearbook photos.
Ancestry.com members search the site's collection of historical records to find documents and photos that capture their family story. They then create profiles for each individual they identify in their family tree, share memories, upload photos and images, record and archive conversations and interviews, and invite family members to do the same. They can also connect with other members and, often, discover living relatives they hadn't known about before. Ancestry.com offers a variety of subscription plans, starting at $12.95 a month.
Other interesting Ancestry.com factoids:
- Over 6,000,000,000: The number of connections Ancestry.com subscribers have made between their trees and other subscribers' trees since this feature was added to the site in early 2008.
- 3,500,000: Average number of searches conducted daily on Ancestry.com.
- 1,578,421: The most records attached by a subscriber, Bonnie Myers of Lynden, Wash., to a single Ancestry.com tree.
- 404,611: The number of "nodes" or branches on the largest subscriber-created Ancestry.com tree. The subscriber, Paul Rhetts, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has used Ancestry.com to trace his family history back 20 generations on each side.
Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq:ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with 2 million paying subscribers. More than 10 billion records have been added to the site in the past 15 years. Ancestry users have created more than 34 million family trees containing approximately 4 billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site, Ancestry.com offers several localized Web sites designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.