We are pleased to announce an expansion to our relationship with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) that enables us to digitize NARA record collections at a new Ancestry.com facility in the Washington, D.C., area.
Since the signing of an agreement in May 2008, we have worked with NARA to digitize historical records collections on-location at NARA’s archive in Maryland. This is the first time NARA has partnered with a commercial entity to have documents scanned off-site. The new scanning facility will allow us to digitize more than five times the records than it could at the NARA archive, with the capacity to scan at least 5 million documents, many still in paper form, each year.
To celebrate this growing relationship with NARA, we have launched two collections that were a part of the May 2008 partnership announcement:
Honolulu Passenger List, 1900-1953
Honolulu Passenger Lists, 1900-1953, consists of more than 1.4 million records of passenger arrivals to Honolulu, Hawaii. Included in this collection are some familiar names who visited the island of Oahu from 1900 to 1953:
- Rita Hayworth – For the filming of Miss Sadie Thompson, Rita traveled to Hawaii aboard the ship Lurline and arrived in Honolulu on May 23, 1953.
- Shirley Temple – In 1935, at the age of six, Shirley Temple traveled to Hawaii with her parents, Gertrude and George, for the filming of Curly Top. She returned to Hawaii in 1937 and 1939.
- Cary Grant (Archibald Leach) – Traveling with Mary Astor (Lucille) and her husband, Manuel Del Campo, aboard the Mastonia, in 1938.
- John Wayne – Arrived in Honolulu with wife, Esperanza, aboard the ship Lurline on March 19, 1952 for the filming of Big Jim McLain.
Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1963-1974
We also launched Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1963-1974. This first installment of more than 80,000 records consists of letters, formal reports, passports and other key historical documents that verify deaths of Americans overseas. Included in this valuable collection are some familiar names:
- Judy Garland – Listed as “Judy Garland DeVinko”, Garland died of “barbiturate poisoning, incautious overdose, accidental” in her Chelsea, London, house in 1969.
- Sylvia Plath – The death record states that American author “Sylvia Plath-Hughes” died of “Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (domestic gas) whilst suffering from depression. Did kill herself” in February 1963 in London. She is buried in Yorkshire, England.
- Mama Cass – Listed as “Ellen Naomi Cohen”, Mama Cass, from The Mamas and the Papas, died of “fatty myocardial degeneration due to obesity,” contrary to rumors she choked on a ham sandwich, while in London in 1974.
- Jimi Hendrix – In 1970, controversy surrounded Jimi Hendrix’s London death, as there was no solid confirmation of his cause of death. This record collection continues to add to the mystery: James Marshall Hendrix’s death record was replaced with a note showing that J. White checked out the death record in 1979. Today, the check-out slip is the only document in Jimi Hendrix’s file.
About Heather Erickson
Heather Erickson is Head of Global Communications for Ancestry.com and has been with the company since 2009.