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FamilySearch and Ancestry.com Team to Publish New Images and Enhanced Indexes to the U.S. Censuses

New 1900 Census Images Now Available on Ancestry.com; Volunteer Indexers Sought to Improve the 1920 U.S. Census Index

SALT LAKE CITY, 21 July 2008—Ancestry.com and FamilySearch, the two largest online family history resources, announced today they will exchange records and resources to make more historical records available online. The first project is a joint initiative to significantly enhance the online U.S. Federal Census Collection (1790 to 1930). The original census records are among the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).

FamilySearch is digitally converting master microfilm copies of the original U.S. Federal Censuses from 1790 through 1930 and, under this agreement, will give these improved images to Ancestry.com. All census images and indexes will be available on Ancestry.com for subscribers. As projects are completed, images will be available for free in NARA reading rooms and FamilySearch’s 4,500 Family History Centers.

Ancestry.com, which currently offers indexes and images to the entire publicly available U.S. Federal Census Collection, will give FamilySearch copies of its existing census indexes. Through its online indexing system and community of volunteer indexers, FamilySearch is already indexing select censuses. FamilySearch will merge the Ancestry.com indexes with the new FamilySearch indexes to create enhanced census indexes, which will be added to both sites. Indexes to the enhanced censuses will be free on Ancestry.com for a limited time as they are completed. Indexes will also be available for free on FamilySearch.org.

Allen Weinstein, the Archivist of the United States, welcomed this agreement as a significant benefit for researchers. He remarked that, “Census records are among the most important documents the American people have to trace their genealogy and know their family history. Having two of our partners working together to enhance the indexes and images of these essential documents will enable an unprecedented level of access and understanding.”

The first census exchanged is the 1900 U.S. Census. FamilySearch completed a 1900 index in addition to Ancestry.com’s original. In the new index, FamilySearch added several new fields of searchable data, such as birth month and birth year, so individuals can search for ancestors more easily. The two indexes will be merged into an enhanced index, available on both sites. The new 1900 census images are now available on Ancestry.com. The enhanced 1900 index will be available for free for a limited time at Ancestry.com and ongoing at FamilySearch.org. 

Ancestry.com will also provide FamilySearch its original 1920 U.S. Census index. Using the Ancestry.com index as a first transcription, FamilySearch will create a new second index with added fields and arbitrate any discrepancies between the two indexes. The 1920 project is currently in progress. Individuals interested in helping create the improved index can volunteer at FamilySearch.org. Once completed, the enhanced 1920 index will be available on both sites and will link back to images on Ancestry.com.

The 1850 through 1870 (partial) and 1880 and 1900 U.S. Censuses can be searched currently at FamilySearch.org; all publicly available U.S. Censuses are already available on Ancestry.com.

Tim Sullivan, president and CEO of The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of Ancestry.com, said, “This collaboration represents a significant step forward in making family history research more accessible. The enhanced U.S. Federal Census Collection that will become available through this agreement is a gold mine for family history researchers, and we look forward to collaborating with FamilySearch in identifying other opportunities to help people discover their roots.”

“The U.S. Censuses are arguably the most important collection of U.S. genealogical records. FamilySearch is excited to see the complete, improved indexes of these collections freely available online over the next two years. And we look forward to working with Ancestry.com to enhance access to additional, significant collections in the future,” said Jay Verkler, Managing Director for FamilySearch.

FamilySearch & partners to broaden British census access

Online Volunteer Indexers Sought to Improve Select Collections

SALT LAKE CITY, 21 July 2008—FamilySearch announced today that it is joining forces with findmypast.com, The Origins Network, and Intelligent Image Management—companies that specialize in providing online access to British family history resources—to make significant British historical record collections more broadly available online. The first joint initiative seeks to publish online indexes to censuses for England and Wales from 1841 to 1901. The 1841 and 1861 Census indexes are the first targeted under the agreement and are accessible now at FamilySearch.org and findmypast.com.

In the agreement, FamilySearch, in conjunction with The Origins Network, will provide digital images for the 1851, 1871, and 1881 Censuses. It will also extend the 1871 Census index. Findmypast.com will provide FamilySearch copies of its English and Welsh Census indexes from 1841 to 1901. The Federation of Family History Societies will help complete the index for the 1851 Census.

Initially, users of FamilySearch.org will be able to do a free search by record type, given name, surname, age, gender, place of birth, and relationship to head of household (relationship was not recorded in the 1841 Census). The free search capability at FamilySearch.org will include additional fields of data in the future. Users will be able to search the full indexes and view original images for free at FamilySearch’s 4,500 Family History Centers or for a nominal fee at findmypast.com.

The addition of findmypast.com’s English and Welsh Census Collections to FamilySearch’s online databases will increase the use of the valuable record sets and increase traffic to findmypast.com.

Jay L. Verkler, Managing Director for FamilySearch, said, “The new images and additional information provided by FamilySearch will significantly enhance and improve the overall English and Welsh Census collection. And its addition to FamilySearch.org will increase awareness of the rich Web resources of FamilySearch affiliates and the likelihood of success for FamilySearch.org patrons doing British research.”

Elaine Collins, Commercial Director at findmypast.com, commented, “Findmypast.com is delighted to be working with FamilySearch to launch the British Census Collection online. Censuses are the core building blocks for family historians and genealogists alike, and now, at last, here is the definitive version. This has been a very exciting project for us, and we look forward to collaborating with FamilySearch in the future to bring other important collections to an ever wider international audience.”    

FamilySearch will utilize its impressive online community of volunteer indexers to add more fields of data to select censuses. When finished, the improved census indexes will be available on FamilySearch.org, findmypast.com, and Originsnetwork.com. Individuals interested in volunteering as online indexers for British historical projects can do so at FamilySearch.org.

Ian Galbraith, CEO of The Origins Network and Upal Rahman, President of Intelligent Image Management (IIM) Inc. said, "The FamilySearch England and Wales Census project is clearly a milestone initiative in the history of genealogical research. It heralds a new era of easier accessibility to a mountain (literally!) of genealogical material available hitherto only to the privileged few, if at all. We are delighted to be working with FamilySearch and proud that they have chosen for the FamilySearch Website the 1841 and 1871 UK censuses—the most accurate available—which The Origins Network and IIM jointly developed."

FamilySearch Teams with Findmypast.com to Increase Online Access to British Historical Records

SALT LAKE CITY-FamilySearch announced today it is working with the UK family history Web site www.findmypast.com and The National Archives of the United Kingdom to increase access to select British historical records. The first major projects will provide access to millions of names of deceased British soldiers and seamen from the eighteenth to twentieth century.

Findmypast.com and FamilySearch were recently awarded licenses by The National Archives to digitize and make available both the Chelsea Pensioners retired soldiers records between 1760 and 1914, and the Merchant Seamen's collection of records dating from 1835 to 1941.

Chelsea Pensioners and Militia Records

The three-year project will digitize and index nine million images from the War Office's Royal Hospital Chelsea Soldiers' Service documents dating from 1760 and Militia Attestation Papers documents from 1870, through to 1913.

The records truly bring to life the comings and goings of pensioners (patients) in the Royal Hospital Chelsea, including each ex-serviceman's name, age, birthplace and service history, as well as details of physical appearance, conduct sheet, previous occupation, and in some cases the reason for discharge. After 1883, details of marriages and children may also appear.

Merchant Seamen Records

The Board of Trade's merchant seamen records from the periods 1835 to 1844 and 1918 to 1941 will also be digitized and indexed. When the project is complete, the public will be able to easily search online for the names and date and place of birth of ancestors who served as merchant seamen.

Many of the twentieth century records include portrait photographs of the sailors as well as personal details and summaries of their voyages. The records include people of many nationalities and women's service records.

Nearly a third of UK families have ancestors who served as a merchant seaman, and many Americans have British roots, making this series of records extremely important to genealogists and family historians.

Digitization partnership

FamilySearch will digitize the records on site at The National Archives, and Findmypast.com will create indexes and transcriptions to enable online patrons to easily search the records and images at both www.findmypast.comand www.familysearch.org.

Elaine Collins, Commercial Director at findmypast.com said, "This is great news for anyone who has hit a brick wall in their family history research. Servicemen and merchant seamen played a hugely important role in the United Kingdom's military, economic and social history. The details included in these two sets of records will open up a wealth of new information about their lives to family history enthusiasts and military historians alike."

Ransom Love, director of Strategic Relationships for FamilySearch, added, "FamilySearch is working with cultural institutions like The National Archives [of the United Kingdom] and genealogy-related companies like FindMyPast.com to preserve and provide access to genealogical records faster, more effectively, and more efficiently. We are excited to begin the Chelsea and Merchant Seaman projects with FindMyPast.com and The National Archive and look forward to more exciting initiatives together in the near future."

Dan Jones, Head of Business Development at The National Archives, said, "Being able to add these popular records to the growing list of The National Archives' resources available digitally is yet more evidence of the importance and effectiveness of forming partnerships across the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. We are very pleased to be able to announce the start of these two exciting projects and the continuation of The National Archives' strong relationship with findmypast.com and FamilySearch."

FamilySearch is a nonprofit organization that maintains the world's largest repository of genealogical resources. Patrons may access resources online at FamilySearch.org or through the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, and over 4,500 family history centers in 70 countries. FamilySearch is a trademark of Intellectual Reserve, Inc. and is registered in the United States of America and other countries.

Family History Library and Major Regional Family History Center Patrons to Receive Free Ancestry.com Access


SALT LAKE CITY, 21 Dec 2007—FamilySearch and The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of Ancestry.com, today announced an agreement that provides free access of Ancestry.com to patrons of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and the 13 largest regional family history centers effective today.

With this new agreement full access will be provided to more than 24,000 Ancestry.com databases and titles and 5 billion names in family history records. In addition to the Family History Library, the following 13 regional family history centers have been licensed to receive access to Ancestry.com:

  • Mesa, Arizona
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Oakland, California
  • Orange, California
  • Sacramento, California
  • San Diego, California
  • Idaho Falls, Idaho
  • Pocatello, Idaho
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Logan, Utah
  • Ogden, Utah
  • St. George, Utah
  • Hyde Park, London, England

“We’re excited for our patrons to receive online access to an expanded collection of family history records on Ancestry.com,” said Don Anderson, director of FamilySearch Support. “Ancestry.com’s indexes and digital images of census, immigration, vital, military and other records, combined with the excellent resources of FamilySearch, will increase the likelihood of success for patrons researching their family history.” The Generations Network and FamilySearch hope to expand access to other family history centers in the future.

FamilySearch patrons at the designated facilities will have access to Ancestry.com’s completely indexed U.S. Federal Census Collection, 1790-1930, and more than 100 million names in passenger lists from 1820-1960, among other U.S. and international record collections. Throughout the past year, Ancestry.com has added indexes to Scotland censuses from 1841-1901, created the largest online collection of military and African American records, and reached more than 4 million user-submitted family trees.

Free access is also available at Brigham Young University Provo, Idaho, and Hawaii campuses, and LDS Business College patrons through a separate agreement with The Generations Network.

“FamilySearch’s Family History Library in Salt Lake City is one of the most important physical centers for family history research in the world, and we are happy that patrons to the Library and these major regional centers will have access to Ancestry.com,” said Tim Sullivan, President and CEO of The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of Ancestry.com. “We’ve enjoyed a ten-year working relationship with FamilySearch, and we look forward to continued collaboration on a number of family history projects.”

For Immediate Release

14 May 2008 

FamilySearch Engages FamilyLink.com, Inc. to Add Functionality and
 Enhancements to Popular Online FamilySearch Catalog


SALT LAKE CITY-FamilyLink.com, Inc. has teamed with FamilySearch to
 improve the user experience of the FamilySearch Catalog for
 millions of people worldwide by adding new Web 2.0 functionality and
 enhancements. The improvements will also enable users to spend research time
 more efficiently by directing them to the information that will
 generate the quickest results.

FamilyLink.com's improvements to the catalog will make it searchable by
 major online search engines and allow users to annotate item
 descriptions-increasing their accuracy and enriching the content. 

FamilySearch's FamilySearch Catalog is used extensively by
 genealogy enthusiasts. It is a window to the vast collection of
 genealogical resources amassed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
 Saints over the past 100 years-millions of microfilms, fiche, and books from
 110+ countries throughout the world.

Genealogists use the popular online catalog to see if FamilySearch has
 any material that can help them in their research. Materials are then
 requested through one of FamilySearch's 4,500 local family history
 centers worldwide.

"The enhancements FamilyLink.com will help make to the Family History
 Library Catalog will increase its usability and exposure. Beginners will
 find it particularly easier to navigate, and searching and browsing
 will be more rewarding," said Paul Nauta, Manager of Public Affairs,
 FamilySearch.
 

Improved Searching

Upgrades to the FamilySearch Catalog will allow it to be
 combed by the major Web search engines. That means Web searches done by
 millions of family history enthusiasts who may not have been familiar with
 the rich content of the FamilySearch Catalog will now
 discover exciting new sources to assist them in their genealogy pursuits.

In a typical search of the FamilySearch Catalog, users first
 identify known facts about a family and then go through a step-by-step
 process to locate records. Newly integrated FamilyLink.com tools will
 help users better identify information. Guided searches will help users
 decide what they want to learn about their families, point them to
 relevant records, help them obtain and search the records, provide clues to
 more information, and assist them with the application of the new
 information.

As part of the enhancement, FamilyLink.com will make searches more
 useful by allowing the user to browse, sort (by popularity, relevance, most
 used, etc.), and perform multiple searches. A new "probability engine"
 feature will calculate the likelihood that a particular source
 contains the desired item. It will also be able to search across someone's
 entire family tree to determine which ancestry lines have the highest
 likelihood of success based on known sources.

 "We are excited to work with FamilySearch and to add this extensive
 catalog to our database collections," said Paul Allen, CEO,
 FamilyLink.com, Inc. "We have looked at doing this collaboration for quite a while.
 We will enhance the catalog by connecting it with new innovative tools,
 along with the best resources of our WorldVitalRecords.com databases,
 the FamilyLink.com social networking site, and our We're Related
 application in Facebook. Putting all of these resources together will
 dramatically change the meaning of 'search' in genealogy."
 

Social Networking

FamilyLink.com will also add an annotation feature that will encourage
 user contributions and make the catalog much more dynamic and current.
 Users will be able to add or suggest a new source, enhance an existing
 source by adding a place (location) or a time period, and rate and
 review a source based on its usefulness.  

Another enhancement to the FamilySearch Catalog will be its
 increased interactivity. Every entry in the catalog will link to an
 online or digital source, if available. The user will then be able to link
 directly to the publisher, buy the book, or search for the nearest
 copy.

"FamilySearch is excited to work with FamilyLink.com to enhance the
 FamilySearch Catalog. They are leaders in the Social Networking
 space and will greatly enhance and extend the catalog and its
 usefulness to millions of people," said Ransom Love, FamilySearch Director of
 Strategic Relations. "We hope this is the first of many other possible
 opportunities for FamilySearch to outsource key infrastructure components
 to innovative companies like FamilyLink.com. They will receive access
 to key resources to help them grow much quicker and FamilySearch's
 assets will be upgraded and extended in return."

"We know that search traffic will increase on both the FamilyLink
 services and FamilySearch's site when users discover the new guided search
 tools," said FamilyLink.com President David Lifferth. "Last month we had
 over 700,000 unique visitors and 8.5 million page views. We are
 predicting that these numbers will more than double after the first quarter
 of use."


 

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