HeritageQuest® Online to Offer Over 2 Billion New Records

I’m thrilled see see that my old employer is moving ahead with making more records available to genealogists. Following is their news release:


ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Later this summer, family history enthusiasts and genealogical experts around the world will have access to more than two billion new records in HeritageQuest® Online. This popular and authoritative resource—powered by Ancestry and distributed by ProQuest—is one of the largest genealogical databases available to libraries and will include records from more than 60 countries.

Appealing to libraries and researchers worldwide, the new content includes:

  • More than one billion birth, baptism, marriage, death and census records from the US, Canada, Europe, Africa, and Asia
  • 915 million US public records, including the Social Security Death Index
  • 133 million cemetery indexes from the US, Canada, Europe and Australia
  • More than 7 million names identified in a new map collection
  • 600,000 images from the Library of Congress Photo Collection, 1840-2000

HeritageQuest Online, with its remote access and international content, offers libraries an updated and comprehensive research database enabling any patron’s quest to discover available ancestral information from historical documents published worldwide.

“Our relationship with ProQuest has allowed us to add new functionality to the HeritageQuest Online product and we are pleased that we are now able to also bring more content to the platform,” said Brian Hansen, Vice President of Emerging Businesses at Ancestry.

“For the full benefit and delight of our users, who need deep and substantial genealogical data from across all continents, Ancestry and ProQuest have again evolved HeritageQuest Online to enable library patrons fill in the blank spaces of their family histories and stories,” said Andon Baltakov, Vice President of Product Management at ProQuest. “ProQuest will continue to offer authoritative resources that advance and transform the research experience for the growing community of genealogists and family history enthusiasts.”

HeritageQuest Online is a vital genealogy resource for libraries, and complements the library editions of Ancestry.com and Fold3.com. Searching of this vast and diverse collection of global records is simplified with customized search filtering, such as exact match, phonetic, location, and more. ProQuest is the market leader in providing libraries with the greatest scope of genealogical resources and historical databases, encompassing both primary and secondary sources.

Danish Immigrant Museum Changes its Name

Word has been received that the Danish Immigrant Museum of Elk Horn Iowa has changed its name to Museum of Danish America.
They have stated that while their name is changing, their mission will still the same. The only national institution of its kind with a professionally-trained curatorial staff, The museum has a 30 year legacy of preserving and sharing Danish and American cultural experiences.

Some of their past exhibits include:

  • Church Basements and Children’s Homes: Danish-American Missions Here and Abroad
  • Across Oceans, Across Time, Across Generations
  • Across Oceans: Our Maritime Collection
  • Americans at Work & at Play – A Study of Danish Influences in Everyday Life
  • Quilting Family History
  • A Celebration of Heritage – Danish Folk Costumes in America
  • Danes on the Northern Plains – Patterns of Settlement in the Dakotas, Montana & Wyoming

Visit them at:

2212 Washington Street
Elk Horn, Iowa 51531


Visit their Web site to learn more.

Museum of Danish America also has a Genealogy Center Located at:

4210 Main Street
PO Box 249
Elk Horn, Iowa 51531-0249

Genealogical inquiries:
(English) genealogy@danishmuseum.org
(dansk) librarian@danishmuseum.org

Genealogy Center staff and volunteers are happy to assist visitors to the museum with their family history research, but if you wish research assistance they strongly urge you to make an appointment in advance.

Resources at the Genealogy Center include:

  • Museum of Danish America Wall of Honor files
  • Danish immigrant biographical files
  • Danish-American obituary collections
  • Over 800 family histories, biographies and memoirs of Danish immigrants
  • Copenhagen Police Emigration index (1868-1911)
  • Danish Brotherhood in America lodge records (1881-1995) and death index (1916-1995)
  • Danish maps, gazetteers and local histories
  • Bien (newspaper), 1893-present
  • The Danish Pioneer (newspaper), 2000-
  • Scandinaviens Stjerne (newspaper), 1851-1900
  • Many Danish-American organizational newsletters
  • HeritageQuest Online™
  • Ancestry LibraryEdition™
  • Select Iowa Lutheran church records
  • Cemetery transcriptions
  • Indexes to Elk Horn-Kimballton newspapers
  • Microfilmed and print Iowa county histories
  • General genealogical reference materials
  • Handouts for getting started and suggested research resources
  • Internet workstations and wireless access
  • EmibasTM Swedish emigration database

ProQuest Lays Off About 40 Employees

The following excerpt was from the January 15, 2013 edition of AnnArbor.com:

Ann Arbor-based information IT company ProQuest laid off about 40 employees on Tuesday, a spokeswoman confirmed.

Ah… I see my old employer is making some changes… These things always make empolyees nervoud, especially if that employee happens to lose their job. ProQuest just happens to own HeritageQuest Online.

At the same time, the company has 75 available positions in various departments, said spokeswoman Beth Dempsey.

“The bottom line is this: we are not decreasing our workforce,” Dempsey said.

“We’re in the information industry. It is an exceptionally competitive and dynamic industry. Really, you have to just constantly be shifting and making sure you’re giving your customers the best experience possible,” she continued.

ProQuest — which is headquartered on Eisenhower Parkway in Ann Arbor and has a facility on James L. Hart Parkway in Ypsilanti Township — employs 625 people in Washtenaw County.

The company scans and archives millions of documents, including newspapers, dissertations and literature collections. In 2010, the company moved into a 40,000-square-foot space in Ypsilanti Township where employees scan, index and iron print products to film them.

Dempsey said the job eliminations are positions across the U.S. and could not specify how many people were laid off in Washtenaw County.

Read the full article.

10.3 Million Records in 24 Hours Indexed by 46,000 Vounteers – Mainly for the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project

SALT LAKE CITY–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Online volunteers surpassed the previous one-day mark for indexing (transcribing) genealogical records, including the 1940 U.S. Census, as part of the “Five Million Record Challenge” issued by the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project. Aiming to propel volunteer contributions past the previous high of nearly 4.9 million records set April 30, the challenge motivated more than 46,000 volunteers to index 10.3 million records in a single 24-hour period that began July 1 at 6:00 p.m. (MDT) — more than twice the previous record.

“We continue to be amazed by the number of compassionate volunteers donating their time so others can trace their family history. Their enthusiasm for indexing historic genealogical records to make them searchable online is astounding and incredibly gratifying.”

Most of the volunteers who participated are currently working to make the 1940 U.S. Census searchable for free online. 1940 U.S. Census Community Project partners Archives.com, FamilySearch.org, findmypast.com, ProQuest.com and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) were ecstatic with the response to the challenge and had nothing but praise for those who participated.

“Apparently we set the goal too low,” said Mike Judson, volunteer development manager for the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project. “We continue to be amazed by the number of compassionate volunteers donating their time so others can trace their family history. Their enthusiasm for indexing historic genealogical records to make them searchable online is astounding and incredibly gratifying.”

Indexing volunteers perform an invaluable service for anyone looking to identify branches of their family tree. Working online, volunteers view images of historic records and index the names, dates and places to make each individual searchable online. To ensure accuracy, two volunteers index each record and a third volunteer, known as an arbitrator, reviews any discrepancies and makes a final decision about the information that gets published.

Since the April 2 release of Census images by NARA, more than 140,000 volunteers have contributed to the cause. The project, totaling 132 million names of people living in the U.S. in 1940, is more than 84 percent complete and as a result, the records for 30 U.S. states are currently available online and freely searchable. For more information, visit https://the1940census.com.

More Volunteers Needed
Anyone above the age of 13 can volunteer to index historic records online. Indexers and arbitrators can work at their own pace, giving as much or as little time as they choose. Projects are available in a variety of languages and in a variety of skill levels. Most “batches” of indexing work can be accomplished in 45 minutes or less, which makes online indexing a popular community service option. The 1940 U.S. Census project is currently still available for any who want to try their hand at indexing census records.

About the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project
The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project is a web-based, national service project with the goal of creating as soon as possible a free, high quality online index linked to the complete set of census images. The index will allow the public to easily search every person found in the census and view digital images of the original census pages. The collection will be available online for free to the general public at 1940census.archives.gov, Archives.com, FamilySearch.org, findmypast.com and by ProQuest through public and academic libraries. All of these organizations are respective website sponsors of the community project. Archives.com, findmypast.com, and ProQuest will make substantial financial contributions to make the 1940 U.S. census online name index possible and will work with the nonprofit organization FamilySearch to bring additional new historic records collections online—making even more highly valued family history resources available to the entire genealogical community.

Major Changes in the 1940 Census Indexed States!

Both Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.com have made major progress this week in posting of Indexes to the 1940 Census. The following info includes indexes that are currently being posted the night of Thursday, June 28-Friday June 29, 2012.


Ancestry.com – As of tonight (Thursday-Friday June 28-29) the following sites can be searched by name at Ancestry.com:

  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Maine
  • Nevada
  • and New York

NEW! Ancestry is the only site that has the District of Columbia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee indexes available. The 1940 New York images and Index are available free of charge to New York State residents. The 1940 census records will remain searchable for freethrough 2013 at Ancestry.com/1940. Indexes to the following states are posting the night of Thursday, June 28 at Ancestry.com:

  • Colorado – NEW
  • Ohio – NEW
  • Pennsylvania – NEW
  • Tennessee – NEW
  • Vermont – NEW
  • Virginia – NEW

These states will join the collection with the above four other searchable states and Washington D.C. (ME, NV, DE, NY). These ten states (and D.C.) make up more than 39 million records of the 132 million total records to be completed later this year. These records remain searchable for free through 2013 at Ancestry.com/1940.

The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project

The free, searchable database from the coalition of:

Those organizations cooperating in the Census Community Project have the following censuses indexed as of June 28, 2012. I’ve linked these to FamilySearch.org, but you can also find them at Archives.com, and findmypast.com.

Note that as of today, Minnesota, and Rhode Island are 100% indexed, while New York and Missouri are 99% indexed, and Arkansas is 95% indexed by the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project, but the indexes are posted yet.

MyHeritage.com – WorldVitalRecords.com

MyHeritage.com and WorldVitalRecords.com have part of Rhode Island and the state of New York indexed.

ProQuest Names Kurt Sanford as CEO

While I was working for HeritageQuest in North Salt Lake in 2002, we were acquired by ProQuest – who now continues to own HeritageQuest, but is itself owned by Cambridge Information Group. The HeritageQuest Online that you may access through your local library today is the firm whose parent company has named Kurt Sanford as its new CEO. That sounds complicated, but it’s not… I just don’t know how to write it out decently…

The following news release is from the July 5 edition of PRNewswire.

ANN ARBOR, Mich., July 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ProQuest LLC, an information firm central to global research, today announced that Kurt Sanford will join the Company as Chief Executive Officer and as a member of its Board of Directors on July 13, 2011. Mr. Sanford, a highly experienced information services executive, previously spent the past 14 years at LexisNexis, serving most recently as President, Global Operations for its global legal business.

Mr. Sanford will succeed Marty Kahn, who has led ProQuest since it was acquired by Cambridge Information Group (CIG) in 2007. Mr. Kahn will become Vice Chairman of ProQuest’s Board of Directors, and also consult with ProQuest and its parent company CIG. He will be based in CIG’s New York office.

Andrew M. Snyder, Chairman of ProQuest and President of CIG, said, “We are delighted to welcome Kurt Sanford to ProQuest. Our ability to attract an information industry executive with Kurt’s track record and knowledge reflects ProQuest’s potential for continued strong growth. We look forward to his leadership in driving and executing on the strategies that will allow ProQuest to further enhance its position in the industry.”

Mr. Snyder continued, “We are very grateful to Marty Kahn for the great work he has done over the past four years to build ProQuest’s business as well as the role he will continue to play working with the Company and with CIG.”
Mr. Kahn said, “Our Company has made great strides in expanding our offerings and service for librarians and information professionals, with a strong focus on understanding the needs of researchers as they advance through their education and professional life. ProQuest will be in great hands with Kurt, who brings outstanding expertise in the global information industry, including a deep background in leveraging technology that will serve ProQuest well. Kurt has the ideal background to take ProQuest to the next level.”

Mr. Sanford said, “I am very impressed with ProQuest’s business and the strategic steps it has taken in recent years to expand and enhance digital access to the world’s scholarship. The Company has exceptional assets and a solid foundation in place to enable it to add even greater value for its customers and end-users. I look forward to working with CIG and the whole ProQuest team. Together, we will continue to relentlessly focus on our customers and deliver to them innovative solutions and services.”

About Kurt Sanford
Prior to joining ProQuest, Mr. Sanford, 53, was President, Global Operations for the global legal business of LexisNexis, with responsibility for global oversight and management of all technology functions, editorial and production, and customer support. Previously, he was President and CEO of U.S. Corporate and Public Markets for LexisNexis, overseeing the business, government and academic markets as well as the Risk Solutions business. Earlier, Mr. Sanford served as CEO of LexisNexis Asia Pacific and as the Senior Vice President for LexisNexis Large Law Firm Markets in the U.S., as well as holding other strategic and business development roles within the Company. Before joining LexisNexis, Mr. Sanford was a consultant at Bain and Company, the global business strategy consulting firm, where he specialized in assisting technology, telecommunications, consumer products and financial service firms. Prior to that, he was a vice president of a diversified financial services firm and also served on active duty in the U.S. Army as a Captain and member of the Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
Mr. Sanford earned an MBA, with distinction, from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and received his JD, with honors, from Suffolk University Law School in Boston, MA. He also graduated with a BA in Economics from the University of Notre Dame.

About Marty Kahn
Mr. Kahn, 61, is widely respected throughout the information industry. Before joining ProQuest, Mr. Kahn was Chairman of the Board of Directors of OneSource Information Services, Inc. He also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ovid Technologies, Inc. and as Chairman of the Board of Vista Information Solutions. Earlier in his career, Mr. Kahn served as President of BRS Information Technologies; General Manager of the Health Professions Division of McGraw-Hill; and as VP, Sales and Marketing, of the W.B. Saunders Company. He holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA cum laude from Yale College.

About ProQuest (www.proquest.com)
ProQuest connects people with vetted, reliable information. Key to serious research, the company has forged a 70-year reputation as a gateway to the world’s knowledge — from dissertations to governmental and cultural archives to news, in all its forms. Its role is essential to libraries and other organizations whose missions depend on the delivery of complete, trustworthy information.

ProQuest’s massive information pool is accessible through the all-new ProQuest® platform, which moves beyond navigation to empower researchers to use, create, and share content — accelerating research productivity.

This energetic, fast-growing organization includes the Summon™ web-scale discovery service, the new ProQuest Dialog™ service, and business units ebrary®, Serials Solutions®, RefWorks-COS™, and Bowker®.