Solveig and I have started a new non-profit organization: the Foundation for On-Line Genealogy. We launched WeRelate.org in 2005. WeRelate.org is now the world's largest genealogy wiki.

It's been great fun to develop WeRelate.org. We hope other people interested in family history research find it useful. You can learn more about it from our homepages on WeRelate: Dallan and Solveig.

You can reach me at dallan@quass.org.

Causes I Support


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Research Interests

Over the past 10 years I've been interested in many research areas, including databases for semi-structured data, data warehousing, and extracting information from the Web.


Personal Data

If you want to see the most recent stuff, go to the bottom of the page

I attended high school in Dawson, a terrific farming community (population 1700) in rural Minnesota. I was very fortunate to have Samuel Olsen as a high-school teacher, who introduced me to computers in 1977. At that time we had a 10 character per second teletype machine that could be used to dial up a mainframe in Minneapolis. Persistent storage was on paper-tape, since disk space on the mainframe was limited. Because there wasn't much else to do in a small town, I ended up spending a lot of time in the computer lab learning to enjoy working with computers.

After high school I attended Brigham Young University, where I received bachelor's and master's degrees in Computer Science. While there I worked part-time and then full-time as both a DOS and a mainframe programmer. BYU is a great place to go to school. I met my wife, Solveig, in 1984 while she was working on her J.D. degree

In 1982-1983 I served a volunteer church mission in Phoenix, Arizona. I worked primarily among the Mexican immigrants and I learned rudimentary Spanish along the way.

After graduating from BYU I spent a couple of years working as a contract programmer (on mainframes!) because the money was good. In 1991 I left contracting and joined WordPerfect. In 1994 I finally realized that my true love is doing research and solving hard problems, so I left WordPerfect to pursue a PhD at Stanford University.

At Stanford I was part of the Stanford University Database Group. Jennifer Widom was my advisor. The database group is an absolutely amazing group of people, both faculty and students. Junglee (a pioneering web-based information-extraction company that was eventually acquired by Amazon) and Google were started by people who were members of the group while I was there. I highly recommend it.

In 1996, some fellow students and I co-founded Junglee. Trying to finish a PhD as well as help start a company was probably the most difficult time in my life, but I'm glad to have been involved (and I'm glad Jennifer was patient with me!). It helped me realize that working on cool technology in a startup environment can be one of the most fun things on earth.

In 1997 I finished the PhD and accepted a position at Brigham Young University. But the startup atmosphere called me back and in 1999 I co-founded became CTO of another web-based information extraction company called WhizBang. Andrew McCallum and Tom Mitchell started and led our Pittsburgh office. WhizBang developed Flipdog.com, which was sold to Monster.com in 2001, where you can still search hundreds of thousands of job postings automatically extracted from tens of thousands of corporate websites. Unfortunately, WhizBang shut it's doors in 2002. We had great people and incredible technology, but we weren't able to figure out how to make enough money on our technology during the economic downturn of 2001 - 2002.

Now I work full-time on WeRelate, helping people find and share information about their ancestors on the Web.