With $500K Gift, FGS Announces Completion of Fundraising for Preserve the Pensions

Wahoo! The following is from FGS:

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September 1, 2016: Springfield, IL – Today at its annual conference, the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) announced the receipt of a historic $500,000 anonymous contribution to the War of 1812 Preserve the Pensions fundraising project. The unprecedented donation, which came from outside of the genealogical community, will be matched by Ancestry.com, and in total provide $1 million to the project. Those funds, along with crowdsourced funds from the genealogical community have provided more than $3 million dollars to the project. With these donations, FGS officially has announced the completion of fundraising for “Preserve the Pensions,” the landmark community fundraising project.

The largest fundraising effort ever initiated for a single genealogical record set, Preserve the Pensions involved donations from more than 4,000 individuals and 115 genealogical and lineage societies. Each donation was generously matched by Ancestry.com.

“We are humbled and grateful for the generosity of the genealogical community and those outside of our community who are dedicated to the preservation of records, thank you!” noted D. Joshua Taylor, FGS President. “This historic gift, in-tandem with the thousands of contributions from individual genealogists and societies, illustrates the incredible power of the genealogical community – together we can make a difference.”

The War of 1812 pensions, among the most frequently requested set of materials within the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), had never been microfilmed or digitized. Now, with fundraising complete for the project, and with ongoing cooperation from the project’s partners and major supporters, NARA, Ancestry, Fold3, and FamilySearch, these important documents will be made available free, forever to the general public. The project, set out to raise more than $3 million in 2010, an unprecedented amount for the genealogical community.

“It’s gratifying to see the fundraising portion of this project completed after five years, and now we look forward to ensuring these important records are preserved,” said Ancestry President and CEO Tim Sullivan. “This is a fantastic moment for FGS, the genealogical community, and future generations who will benefit from the perseveration of these rich pension records. We want to thank the more than 4,000 individuals who have contributed and are thrilled to play a matching role in this campaign.”

About the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS)
The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) was founded in 1976 and represents genealogical, historical, and lineage organizations throughout the United States. The Federation empowers the genealogical community through its annual conference, publications (including FGS FORUM) and projects. The Federation was the driving force behind the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors project alongside the National Parks Service and since 2010 has been actively involved in Preserve the Pensions, an effort to raise more than $3 million to digitize and make freely available the pension files from the War of 1812. To learn more visit http://www.fgs.org.

Flash Sale – 20% off select Family Tree Books

The following books are all on sale at 20% off, through July 5 or while supplies last.

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The Family Tree Polish, Czech And Slovak Genealogy Guide, How to Trace Your Family Tree in Eastern Europe; by Lisa A Alzo

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Trace Your German Roots Online, A Complete Guide to German Genealogy Websites; by James M Beidler

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Unofficial Guide to Ancestry.com, How to Find Your Family History on the No. 1 Genealogy Website; by Nancy Hendrickson

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The Family Tree Historical Maps Book, A State-by-State Atlas of US History, 1790-1900; by Allison Dolan

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The Family Tree Historical Maps Book – Europe, A Country-by-Country Atlas of European History, 1700s-1900s; by Allison Dolan

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How to Archive Family Photos, A Step-by-Step Guide to Organize and Share Your Photos Digitally; by Denise May Levenick

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Unofficial Guide to FamilySearch.org, How to Find Your Family History on the Largest Free Genealogy Website; by Dana Mccullough

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The Family Tree Problem Solver: Tried and True Tactics for Tracing Elusive Ancestors; by Marsha Hoffman Rising

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The Genealogist’s U.S. History Pocket Reference: Quick Facts and Timelines of American History to Help Understand Your Ancestors; by Nancy Hendrickson

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The Family Tree German Genealogy Guide: How to Trace Your Germanic Ancestry in Europe; by James Beidler

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Family Tree Pocket Reference, 2nd Edition; by Diane Haddad

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From the Family Kitchen, Discover Your Food Heritage and Preserve Favorite Recipes; by Gena Philibert-Ortega

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The Family Tree Guidebook to Europe: Your Essential Guide to Trace Your Genealogy in Europe; by Allison Dolan

New Canadian Images Posted at Ancestry. Free Access to 269 M Canadian Records thru July 2

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Ancestry is providing free access to all of the site’s 269 million Canadian records – including the two new collections – from June 28 to July 2, 2016. Visit www.ancestry.ca to discover more.

The following news release is from PR Newswire:

New collections contain more than 82,000 images and 668,000 historical records that paint a picture of life in post-Confederation Canada

Historic photo albums and Homestead grant records span period of nearly sixty years, ranging from 1872-1930

Photos include scenes of early Prairie life and images of well-known Canadian landmarks taken more than 100 years ago

Ancestry is offering free access to entire collection of Canadian records from 28th June – 2nd July to celebrate Canada Day weekend

TORONTO, June 28, 2016 /CNW/ – A collection of more than 3,000 historic photographs of Canada, spanning 25 years from post-Confederation to the First World War, have been published online for the first time.

The photographs are part of two new historic Canadian collections made available today on Ancestry, the leader in family history and consumer genomics, to celebrate Canada Day. Canada, Photographic Albums of Settlement, 1892-1917 include thousands of photographs of villages, cities, vistas, landmarks, settlers and aboriginal Canadians from the Prairies to the Maritimes, capturing a glimpse of everyday life for Canadians during the earliest days of statehood.

The Canada, Homestead Grant Registers, 1872-1930 showcase Canada’s growth from small farms to towns and cities and detail demographic and biographic information of some of Canada’s earliest settlers. The collection includes historical records of homesteads in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, established under the Dominion Lands Act. Under this Act, Canadians across the Prairies were provided with 160 acres of land to develop and improve upon, for an average fee of only $10.

With a combined 668,000 records and more than 82,000 images, these two collections provide fascinating insight into the true north as it was becoming a nation.

Canada Photographic Albums of Settlement 1892-1817 Collection

Compiled by the Department of the Interior, the Canada Photographic Albums of Settlement collection contains more than 3,300 photos from Library and Archives Canada.

Found in this collection are images illustrating the hard work and labour that went into nation building, from the early stages of railroad construction that connected communities from coast to coast, to photos that bring to life the back-breaking work of the logging process. While the photos capture the gruelling and often dangerous work of cutting and chopping lumber from the treetops, they also show moments of joy, such as the local population dancing on the fresh tree stumps in celebration.

The collection also captures expansive ranches, vintage farming and fishing procedures used in some of the earliest days of Canada and show the establishment of systems that would continue to feed and transport Canadians for generations to come.

Snapshots in Time

Some of Canada’s top landmarks from 100 years ago feature in the photo albums, including:

Niagara Falls – With more than 12 million visitors each year, Niagara Falls is one of Canada’s top destinations for visitors near and far. Surrounded by tourist attractions, the Niagara Falls we know today is in stark contrast to The Falls at the turn of the century. These black and white images show Niagara Falls before the illumination of the Falls began in 1925.

Canadian Rockies – Home to some of the most diverse wildlife and breathtaking views, the Canadian Rockies draw adventure seekers and nature lovers alike. This image shows some of the first Canadians enjoying Jasper National Park around the time the park was established, in 1907. Jasper Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, with 10,878 square kilometres of mountains.

Government Buildings – Built between 1907 and 1913, the Alberta Legislature Building is the meeting place of the Legislative Assembly and the Executive Council, and due to its Greek, Roman and Egyptian architectural influences, is a beautiful attraction for visitors. This image shows the drastic difference in city development compared to the city of Edmonton today.
Lesley Anderson, family historian and content specialist for Ancestry says: “This incredible collection of photographs is a real treasure trove that gives us insight into the hardships of everyday life and how simply people lived during those first years of our county’s existence. The images capture human experiences against the backdrop of the vast and – what was then – largely unknown landscape of Canada; the place that many of our ancestors called home

“As we approach our 150th anniversary as a country next year, it is wonderful to see how far we have come by comparing what we see in these photographs to the Canada we know today.”

Ancestry is providing free access to all of the site’s 269 million Canadian records – including the two new collections – from June 28 to July 2, 2016. Visit www.ancestry.ca to discover more.

ABOUT ANCESTRY.CA
Ancestry.ca was launched in January 2006 and is part of Ancestry, the leader in family history and consumer genomics. Ancestry harnesses the information found in family trees, historical records and DNA to help people gain a new level of understanding about their lives. Ancestry has more than 2.3 million paying subscribers across its core Ancestry websites and 2 million DNA samples in the AncestryDNA database. Since 1996, more than 17 billion records have been added, and users have created more than 80 million family trees on the Ancestry flagship site and its affiliated international websites.

Online database of Holocaust victims hits 1 million records

The following teaser is from an article posted on usatoday.com

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The Nazis aimed to erase the Jewish people. Now, 70 years later, contributors around the globe are etching victims’ names back into memory through an online memorial that’s just hit 1 million records.

World Memory Project, a collaboration between the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and genealogy website Ancestry, is a free online database that lists information about millions of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.

Launched in May 2011, the project hit one million records this month, a major milestone made possible through over 3,500 volunteers from 18 different countries. The contributors spend hundreds of hours indexing archived documents from the Holocaust Museum into an online software provided by Ancestry.

Read the full article.
Thanks to ResearchBuzz for the heads-up.

Silver Lake to invest in Ancestry.com

The following teaser is from an article posted on reuters.com

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Private equity firm Silver Lake Partners has agreed to acquire a minority stake in Ancestry.com in a deal that values the privately held genealogy website at $2.6 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The investment represents a bet that Ancestry’s fast-growing DNA business will continue to expand. Ancestry sold 1 million genomics kits last year, a 93 percent increase from the prior year, as people keen to discover their roots sent in saliva samples.

Read the full article.

TLC Announces Celebrity Contributors for the Spring Season of Who Do You Think You Are?

The following news release was received this morning. Click on the illustration to watch a video promoting the upcoming season.

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New season premieres Sunday, April 3 at 9/8c

The two-time Emmy nominated series WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? returns this spring to follow more of today’s most beloved and iconic celebrities as they embark on personal journeys of self-discovery to trace their family trees. The series continues to deliver unbelievable stories from crucial moments in history, including a number of firsts for the series, such as a male witch hunt, and traveling to Portugal, Sweden and Ellis Island. Executive Produced by Lisa Kudrow and Dan Bucatinsky, the new season premieres Sunday, April 3 at 9/8c.

The contributors featured in the upcoming season include:

  • Scott Foley finds a relative who risked his life for one of America’s founding fathers, and an ancestor who suffered unspeakably during one of this nation’s darkest times.
  • Lea Michele nails down where her mysterious paternal ancestors came from, and learns of the dire economic circumstances they endured while trying to emigrate to the U.S.
  • Chris Noth learns his ancestors suffered during one of the greatest catastrophes in American history, and a relative who fought in one of the bloodiest battles of all time.
  • Molly Ringwald explores family lore of Swedish royalty which uncovers her ancestors’ harrowing lives and a brave woman who forever changed her family’s fate.
  • Katey Sagal is shocked to learn of her family’s Amish roots, and digs deeper as she realizes the level of dedication to their faith.
  • Aisha Tyler tracks down her 2x great-grandfather, whose story had been lost over generations, and uncovers an astonishing tale of a prominent ancestor whose struggle to keep his illegitimate son a secret made headlines.

Ancestry, the leading family history company, is teaming up again with TLC as a sponsor of the upcoming season. As part of the show sponsorship, Ancestry provides exhaustive family history research on each of the featured celebrities to help make discoveries possible and build out the story of each episode.

The series is produced for TLC by Shed Media and Is or Isn’t Entertainment, and is based on an original format created by Wall to Wall Media and Alex Graham. More information can be found at TLC.com/WDYTYA. ‘Like’ Who Do You Think You Are? on Facebook.com/WDYTYA and follow @WDYTYA on Twitter.

Family Tree Maker Will Continue to be Produced and Upgraded & RootsMagic Will Sync to Ancestry.com

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Kendall Hulet, at Ancestry.com, announced today that Family Tree Maker isn’t dead after all. He also commented to the media community that “contracts hadn’t been signed yet,” and that this is the reason that they earlier announced that they were “stopping Family Tree Maker,” while leaving no other options for users.

Ancestry isn’t run by a bunch of amateurs, and I find it hard to believe that they would do something so absolutely stupid as making that December announcement, while in negotiations with MacKiev and RootsMagic. But that’s what they did – angering thousands of users. Maybe the “end of year” 2015 and deadlines imposed thereby had something to do with it. No matter what Ancestry may have done earlier, I’m just thrilled with the changes that are now taking place!

Now – the good part!
MacKiev will continue to produce Family Tree Maker for Mac – and take on Family Tree Maker for Windows as well.

EVEN BETTER YET!
Bruce Buzbee, at RootsMagic, was able to cut a deal with Ancestry, allowing RootsMagic to have the same functionality as deals with Ancestry.com that Family Tree Maker has. They have announced that we will be able “to connect Ancestry with the RootsMagic software by the end of 2016. With this new relationship, RootsMagic can serve as your desktop family tree software, while having access to Ancestry hints, Ancestry searches, and the ability to save your tree on Ancestry.” Why so long? I’m guessing that an API has to be produced to allow Ancestry.com to sync their online data to RootsMagic. I’m absolutely thrilled that this is happening, for up until now, Ancestry hasn’t been willing to share the code with RootMagic that would allow them any interface whatsoever with the Ancestry.com Family Tree data.

So – this is a good day for both Family Tree Maker as well as RootsMagic users!

Following is the press release from Ancestry.com:

Since our Family Tree Maker announcement last December, we have continued to actively explore ways to develop and support Family Tree Maker and ensure you have choices to preserve your work in ways that matter to you.

Today, I am pleased to announce two options for desktop software that will work with Ancestry.

Software MacKiev
Software MacKiev, with whom we have a long-standing relationship, is acquiring the Family Tree Maker software line as publisher for both Mac and Windows versions. Software MacKiev has been the developer of Family Tree Maker for Mac for more than six years and is thrilled at the opportunity to publish future versions of Family Tree Maker for Mac and Windows.

This new agreement means you will receive software updates and new versions from Software MacKiev, and have the ability to purchase new versions of Family Tree Maker from Software MacKiev as they are released. You will have continued access to Ancestry Hints, Ancestry searches, and be able to save your tree on Ancestry with Family Tree Maker moving forward.

RootsMagic
We have made an agreement with RootsMagic, a leading genealogy desktop software program publisher, to connect Ancestry with the RootsMagic software by the end of 2016. With this new relationship, RootsMagic can serve as your desktop family tree software, while having access to Ancestry hints, Ancestry searches, and the ability to save your tree on Ancestry.

We have heard your concerns and are working to provide the solutions you requested. These new agreements will make it possible to preserve your work on Ancestry and Family Tree Maker and enable future features and benefits to help you discover your family history. Be assured that Ancestry, in cooperation with Software MacKiev and RootsMagic, will continue to support you as you discover your family history.

We ask for your patience as we work diligently through all the details to make these solutions available. Be sure to check back on our blog as we share more information about Family Tree Maker in the next few months.

For more information on Software MacKiev and RootsMagic, click below:

● Software MacKiev: http://www.mackiev.com/

● RootsMagic: http://www.rootsmagic.com/

Click on this link to check out Bruce’s extensive announcement from RootsMagic.

“Long Lost Family” to Debute on TLC March 6, at 10/9c

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Oh, good… Another genealogy show! And it looks like this one is also researched and sponsored by Ancestry.com.

The following excerpt is from a news items posted February 2, 2016 @ 11:39 am at thewrap.com:

Open a fresh box of Kleenex and flip over to TLC: The cable channel has ordered “Long Lost Family” to series.

The show features highly emotional and touching stories of people who have suffered a lifetime of separation and are yearning to be reunited with their birth parents and biological families. The reverse also applies on this reality show: Parents who wish to find children they had to place for adoption long ago.

Ancestry, the largest provider of family history and personal DNA testing, is teaming up with TLC as a sponsor of the upcoming season. As part of the show sponsorship, Ancestry provides family history research on each of the featured individuals to help make discoveries possible.

Read the full article.

Crime & Punishment: Historic Notices of Wanted British Criminals Go Online

The following news release is from Matthew Deighton, with Ancestry.com:

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CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: HISTORIC NOTICES OF WANTED CRIMINALS GO ONLINE
More than 90 years of Police Gazette records published online by Ancestry

♣ Police Gazettes reveal fascinating information on suspected wanted criminals, crimes committed and missing persons
♣ A suspect in the Whitechapel Murders and infamous Sheffield murderer Charles Peace appear in the records
♣ Entries reveal child murders committed by desperate single mothers who were ostracised from society

More than 100,000 records and images from Police Gazettes, revealing details of wanted suspected criminals, offenders in custody and missing persons have been published online by Ancestry, the world’s largest family history resource.

The UK, Police Gazettes, 1812-1902, 1921-1927 collection, sourced from Luminary Trading Limited and Lastchancetoread, contains copies of the “Police Gazette”, or “Hue and Cry”. The publication was used for communication between members of the police force across the United Kingdom – much like the National Crime Agency’s most wanted list today.

Searchable by name, age, type, date and location of crime, these records contain vital information and fascinating detail for anybody looking to find out more about either an historic offender or indeed a victim of crime in their family tree. The records can even give a glimpse at the faces of wanted suspected criminals through police sketches issued alongside requests from information.

Several interesting characters feature in the records, including:

♣ Charles Peace – Maimed in an industrial incident as a child, murderer Peace appears in the records in 1876 in an appeal for information about his location on several occasions. He’s described as ‘thin and slightly built’, with ‘grey (nearly white) hair, beard and long whiskers’. The record goes on to give details of his trade – a picture-frame maker, with a history of burglary. He murdered a policeman and a neighbour, but managed to stay on the run until he was arrested for burglary in London, and eventually faced the death penalty

♣ Michael Ostrog – Ostrog, one of the suspects in the Whitechapel Murders that made Jack the Ripper famous, was charged with larceny, but failed to report after he was released from Surrey County Lunatic Asylum in 1888. The record lists several of his aliases: Bertrand Ashley, Claude Clayton and Dr. Grant, and describes him as ‘’a dangerous man’, who had moles on his shoulder and neck, as well as ‘corporal punishment marks’. An accompanying sketch of a bearded Ostrog is an example the police tried to identify criminals on the run.

Ostrog was not the only man in the Police Gazettes to use aliases, with one in ten (9%) of all entries featuring a pseudonym, perhaps unsurprising given that most criminals attempt to shield their identity from the authorities.

The records also include a number of reports featuring murdered new-born babies, which illustrates the issues attached to illegitimate children in the 19th Century. The Bastardy Clause in the New Poor Law of 1834 made all illegitimate children solely the responsibility of their mother until the age of 16, which left mothers, often estranged from their families, with limited choices. In desperation, many mothers resorted to infanticide to protect themselves. Many of the mothers were never identified, with the police often seeking more information on the crime. Some examples from the records include:

♣ ‘Ann Yates’ – Murdered her daughter and threw the body into a well in Midsomer Norton, Somerset, in 1875 after being forced to live in the Shepton-Mallet Union Workhouse when she was unable to provide for her illegitimate offspring. The police believed the ‘good-looking’ 24-year old had fled to Cardiff to start a new life

♣ ‘Two women’ – In 1894, the body of a newly-born male child was found in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Hoghton, tied up in a white coarse apron. The police sought two women who were observed on the canal bank in Blackburn when a splash was heard, ‘caused by one of the women throwing something into the water’. The younger woman, who ‘appeared to be ill’, was leaning on the arm of an older woman who was ‘tall and stout’

Ancestry’s Senior Content Manager Miriam Silverman comments: “This collection provides rare insight into crime and punishment in the 19th Century as well as helping us to better understand how the British police force worked shortly after it was introduced.”

“Whether you’re locating the black sheep in your family tree, discovering more about an ancestor who was the victim of crime or even unearthing some infamous criminals, these records can help reveal the details.”

To search the UK, Police Gazettes, 1812-1902, 1921-1927 collection for free, and more than 16 billion other historical records worldwide, visit www.ancestry.co.uk.

ABOUT ANCESTRY

Ancestry is the world’s largest online family history resource with more than 2 million paying subscribers across all its websites. More than 16 billion records have been added, and users have created more than 70 million family trees to the core Ancestry websites, including its flagship site www.ancestry.com and its affiliated international websites.

Ancestry.co.uk contains more than one billion records in collections including the most comprehensive online set of England, Wales and Scotland Censuses from 1841 to 1911, the fully searchable England and Wales Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes, the World War One British Army Service and Pension records, UK Parish Records and the British Phone Books.

Ancestry operates a suite of online family history brands, including Archives.com, Fold3.com, Newspapers.com, and offers the AncestryDNA product, sold by its subsidiary, Ancestry International DNA, LLC, all of which are designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.

Petition Circulating To Ask That Family Tree Maker Production be Continued

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David Smith has started a petition to Kendall Hulet with the hopes of getting Ancestry to change their mind about retiring Family Tree Maker.

He is hoping that is there is enough outcry, Ancestry will reconsider.

The link for the petition is at:

https://www.change.org/p/kendall-hulet-stop-ancestry-from-retiring-family-tree-maker-software

Ancestry to Stop Selling Family Tree Maker

Whew… Now this was a surprise to me. I’ve followed, although not always used, Family Tree Maker since version one. But it looks like it’s about to meet it’s demise.

The following is excerpted from the Ancestry blog:

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…we’ve made the decision to stop selling Family Tree Maker as of December 31, 2015. Our subscription business and website, on the other hand, continue to grow and we are doubling down our efforts to make that experience even better for our Ancestry community. Ancestry will continue to support current owners of Family Tree Maker at least through January 1, 2017. During this time, all features of the software, including TreeSync™, will continue to work, and Member Services will be available to assist with user questions. We will also address major software bugs that may occur, as well as compatibility updates.

Read the full blog.

Ancestry Mexico Launches With More Than 220 Million Searchable Mexican Historical Records!

The following is from MarketWatch:

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New Services Will Help Mexicans and More Than 34 Million Mexican Americans Explore Their Family History

PROVO, UT AND DUBLIN, IRELAND, Oct 28, 2015 (Marketwired via COMTEX) — Ancestry, the world’s leading family history brand, today announced the launch of new online services that will help Mexicans and the estimated 34 million Mexican Americans* research their family history. More than 220 million searchable historical records from Mexico, including new birth, marriage, and death records dating back to the 1500s are now available on the Ancestry site, many of them important historical records never before available online. In another first, the new Ancestry Mexico site (ancestry.com.mx) will provide a Spanish language experience tailored specifically to Mexicans and Mexican Americans.

With such a culturally diverse population, nearly every citizen in the United States has ancestral connections to regions outside of America. Ancestry has been working hard over the past few years to help people of Hispanic and Latino origins discover, preserve and share their family history by making important collections from Mexico searchable online to get them started. These new records launching today were made available in part through Ancestry’s collaboration with the Mexican Academy of Genealogy and Heraldry based in Mexico City, Mexico, who originally created microfilm of these records with the assistance of FamilySearch International. These records will help Mexican Americans build and explore their family tree and unveil key events, places, and relationships in the lives of their ancestors, including the names of family and friends involved as witnesses or godparents.

“The new service really unlocks for the first time online, family history research for Mexicans and Mexican Americans, whether you prefer to speak English or Spanish,” said Todd Godfrey, Vice President of Global Content at Ancestry. “It is fulfilling a huge need for a large and growing population group in the United States by helping them find their own unique stories and place in American and Mexican history.”

The people of Mexico have a diverse culture that comes from a variety of regions, including the indigenous peoples of Central and South America, and early immigration from Europe. With a deep sense of pride in this rich heritage, they are passionate about family and have been celebrating their ancestors for hundreds of years.

“Mexican Americans have honored their ancestral traditions, but have been largely unable to discover online who those people were and learn more about their lives. Ancestry is now opening that door and helping them not just celebrate their ancestors, but be able to tell their stories and connect on a more personal level than ever before,” said Godfrey. “We believe there couldn’t be a better time to make these new discoveries available than during Dia de los Muertos, a time of year when celebrating the lives of those who came before is most special.”

The Ancestry Mexico site is designed to meet the unique needs of people in Mexico, as well as Mexican-Americans with plans to enhance the service early next year. After the FREE access period ends, Ancestry Mexico will be available through two subscription packages: the Mexico + US Package ($10-$12 USD per month), which will include access to all Mexican records plus US records relevant to Mexican Americans including census, immigration, border crossings, BMDs, and relevant regional records, or as part of Ancestry’s World Explorer package. All records from Mexico are also being made available as part of the World Subscription on the Ancestry.com website.

* Census Bureau data by Pew Research Center

Click here to go directly to the Mexico Civil Registrations of Death at Ancestry.com.

Ancestry Announces Renewal of Their Digitization Partnership Agreement With NARA

I just got the following from Matthew Deighton at Ancestry. This is goods news. Ancestry & NARA had problems with their digitization projects a while back when it was found that an employee had destroyed records. That looks to have been resolved… Whew…

We are pleased to announce the renewal of our digitization partnership agreement with the National Archives and Record Administration. Ancestry began digitizing images from NARA in 2000. Since our partner digitization agreement in 2008, Ancestry has invested millions of dollars in scanning original paper documents. It has been a great privilege to work alongside NARA staff and help preserve America’s history one document at a time.

According to a recent audit report by NARA, external partners are responsible for 97% of all document digitization occurring at the National Archives. Ancestry has been and continues to be the largest digitization partner since the partnership program began. How much work has Ancestry done with NARA? To date we have published 1,371 collections now available online. That’s over 170 million images and more than 1 billion records searchable from home. Most importantly these digital records are now preserved indefinitely for future generations.

Ancestry scanning teams have digitized collections in nine different National Archives and Records Administration facilities across the country including Washington D.C., New York City, and St. Louis, Missouri. The digitization services Ancestry provides are at no cost to the federal government. With investments in scanning and indexing reaching more than 1 billion records, we have saved taxpayers more than $100 million dollars at commercial digitization rates.

This agreement marks the renewing of a great partnership and we are proud to continue our relationship with the United States National Archives and Record Administration.

Matthew Deighton
Public Relations Manager
Ancestry.com

Ancestry Find A Grave Community Day is October 17

I see that Ancestry is sponsoring another Find a Grave Community Day. This year it’s on Saturday, October 17. The following is from Ancestry’s blog.

Last year was an amazing success thanks to you, our incredible volunteers, who visited over 100 cemeteries and contributed more than 250,000 photos on the days leading up to, and on, Find A Grave Community Day 2014. In hopes of beating the 2014 record, we are hosting this global meetup again on Saturday, October 17th to fulfill hundreds of thousands of photo requests still outstanding on Find A Grave.

Read more.

Read the full blog.

Ancestry Launches Largest Online Collection of Wills and Probate Records in the USA – FREE Access Through Sept. 7

I spent a few hours searching for wills and probate documents at the Ancestry website yesterday, and found some for my family that I’d not previously seen. The following news release is from MarketWired:

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More Than 170 Million Documents From 1668-2005 Now Available Exclusively on Ancestry; New Collection Provides a Wealth of Deeper Stories About Ancestors’ Lives

To celebrate the launch of the new U.S. Wills and Probates collection on Ancestry, the collection along with all U.S. birth, marriage and death records, will be available to explore for FREE, September 2 (12pm MT) through September 7 (10pm MT).

PROVO, UT – (Marketwired – September 02, 2015) – More than 170 million pages from the largest collection of wills and probate records in the United States is now available online exclusively on Ancestry. With searchable records included from all 50 states spread over 337 years (1668-2005), this unprecedented collection launches a new category of records for family history research never before available online at this scale the United States.

Until now, these records have only been available offline. Ancestry spent more than two years bringing this collection online, working with hundreds of different archives from individual state and local courts across the country and making a $10M investment to license and digitize the records. The documents cover well over 100 million people, including the deceased as well as their family, friends and others involved in the probate process. Ancestry expects to continue to grow the collection, with additional records available over the next several years.

“Ancestry has worked hard over the past decade, to make available a variety of collections that can help the most seasoned family history expert and novices alike learn more about their ancestors,” said Todd Godfrey, Vice President of Global Content. “Ancestry’s vast collection of billions of unique historic records makes it the only place online that can give people such a comprehensive view into their family’s unique history.”

Today, state and federal census records are the most commonly searched collections in family history research, offering a variety of information that is important for building out your family tree. Wills however are one of the most desired types of records, as they can be a treasure trove of information that provides insight into your ancestors’ lives, loves, land, and possessions.

“Wills can offer an incredible view into the lives of your ancestors, going beyond names and dates, and providing insight into their personality, character, achievements, relationships, and more,” said Godfrey. “Reading these records you will find a deeper level of understanding about who your ancestors were, who they cared about, what they treasured, and how they lived.”

There is something for everyone in the new U.S. Wills and Probate collection on Ancestry, whether you are an experienced family historian or new to the pursuit. Some examples of what can be found in the collection include:

Rich Stories – A deeper level of understanding is possible when you learn about the more intricate details of your ancestors’ lives through their eyes; details that can tell new or more compelling stories of their everyday existence, and perhaps, shed light on their character and personality, as well as important subtext that can reflect the type of lifestyle, education, and status an ancestor may have had through language or possessions.
New Discoveries — Whether valuable heirlooms, sizable estates, or meager but treasured belongings to pass down, the riches of your ancestor’s lives can be found in a will. Family research can be fun when you “follow the money” and see who wound up with what or even, to which charities or organizations a person’s estate was entrusted.

Friends and Family Members – Many additional names can be found in a will in addition to the deceased. Wills can reveal new family members you didn’t know about, and identify new connections, and tell more about the relationships between people mentioned in the will. Intriguing controversies can be seen as you read about those close to them who were included in the will, and those who were cut out.

With a collection that begins with wills from the mid 17th century running through the early 21st, last wishes and estates of notables citizens that helped shape the nation over the past three hundred years can be found in this new collection of Wills and Probates, including past Presidents, businessmen, entrepreneurs, sports legends, famous entertainers, artists and writers, scientists, and much, much more.

Again – To celebrate the launch of the new U.S. Wills and Probates collection on Ancestry, the collection along with all U.S. birth, marriage and death records, will be available to explore for FREE, September 2 (12pm MT) through September 7 (10pm MT).