More on the Internet Biographical Collection

Ancestry.com logo1.bmpI received the following from one of my colleagues at Ancestry regarding the Internet Biographical Collection:

Hi, my name is Kendall Hulet, and I’m a product manager at Ancestry.com.  I’ve probably met a lot of you at FGS, NGS, and other conferences. If not, I look forward to meeting you in the future.
 
I wanted to write you a note because I’m extremely concerned about the frustrations that the recently-removed Internet Biographical Collection has caused.  We had hoped to provide a way for you to be able to search the entire web easily for genealogically-relevant pages and provide for preservation of sources for future generations. In looking back, we understand why members of the community are upset. We’ve heard you loud and clear, and we’ve removed this product with no intention of re-releasing it.  Instead, it is my hope that someday we’ll be able to provide a free web search engine that links directly back to the live web pages, and can become a useful tool to the genealogical community. If we do move forward with this type of initiative, we will seek your input and talk more with community leaders to make sure we get it right.

Kendall Hulet

DNA Ancestry Web Site in Beta

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Ancestry.com now offers ancestral DNA testing through the new DNA Ancestry Web site – dna.ancestry.com – currently in Beta form. DNA Ancestry participants submit a simple, painless cheek-swap test for DNA analysis. Test results are added to DNA Ancestry’s ever-expanding DNA database, where participants can compare their DNA test results with results submitted by other participants. By comparing DNA test results, users may uncover genealogical associations unimaginable just a few years ago, easily discover and connect with lost or unknown relatives, even get a hint of where their families originated thousands of years ago. Further technology will allow users to integrate DNA results with the historical documents, photos and stories already in their online family trees at Ancestry.com.
 

Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom

Last night I took a few minutes between running around to flip through the National Geographic magazine for September 2007 and among the first pages, I happened across the “Photo Journal” section. This month features the works of Stephen Wilkes, who over the course of five years took amazing photographs of the ruins of historic buildings on Ellis Island. The article mentions his book, Ellis Island, Ghosts of Freedom, and also included a link to his website (www.ellisislandghosts.com). The website is really well done and I enjoyed a relaxying journey throu the photos that are available. The images are absolutely beautiful, and the website is well worth a look. I think I’ll be adding the book to my wish list too!

Internet Biographical Collection Removed from Ancestry

I received the following message from the Ancestry home office just now:  

Earlier this week we launched the Internet Biographical Collection on Ancestry.com. Our goal was to offer members a search engine that focused primarily on genealogy resources. We intended this collection to help surface family history information that many people would not be able to find easily because it is often scattered among numerous websites across the Internet. We cached individual Web pages in an effort to preserve history – if a Web page featuring important family history information were taken down in the future, a cached version would still be available.

Many people have expressed concerns about the collection and the search engine we created on Ancestry.com. We recognize the significant time and resources members of the genealogical community invest to make their family history research available online.

Over the past few days we have reevaluated this collection’s goals, caching and crawling ability, and user experience. We have decided to remove this collection and search engine from Ancestry.com for the time being. We are still dedicated to providing family historians the online tools and aggregated records that make it easier to trace their family tree and will work to develop a solution that meets those needs in a way that will be most beneficial to our customers and the community.

Internet Biographical Collection is Free at Ancestry

Ancestry.com logo.bmpAncestry.com just added the Internet Biographical Collection which is a compilation of genealogy information across the web. For the first few days, the information was in the paid section of the site. Based on community response to the addition of the Internet Biographical Collection, Ancestry.com has decided to make the database free. The site is also displaying a live link back to the source site where the information was extracted. The goal behind the collection is to help surface genealogical information that many people would not be able to find easily because it is often scattered among numerous websites across the Internet. We are currently evaluating the viability of this collection and whether it can meet its goals.

Ancestry.com recognizes the significant time and resources members of the genealogical community invest making family history information available for free online. Ancestry.com spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to support and protect the valuable information found on RootsWeb. We also provide many free collections and free tree-building features on Ancestry.com.

Ancestry.com Online Community Creates More Than 275 Million Profiles and 3 Million Family Trees In Last Year

Ancestry.com logo.bmpUnrivaled Combination of Social Networking Tools and Digitized Historical Documents Spark Surge

PROVO, Utah, Aug. 28 /PRNewswire/ – Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced that more than 275 million individual profiles and more than 3 million family trees have been created on the site since it debuted new tree-building and sharing tools in late July 2006. Users have also attached 30 million family history records and uploaded 2 million photographs.

“The combination of family and social networking with the most comprehensive collection of digitized and indexed family history documents has been a powerful catalyst behind this user-generated surge,” said Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network, parent company of Ancestry.com. “In the past year we’ve seen a remarkable networking effect as people use Ancestry.com to make great discoveries and share their findings with family members.”

This tremendous user-contributed growth has been fueled by two major content releases — the biggest online collection of African American historical documents and the Web’s leading compilation of U.S. military records. Site traffic reached and remained at unprecedented levels in a prolific year that also included the announcement of a groundbreaking venture with Sorenson Genomics into the DNA genealogy field. The success was preceded by the 2006 launch of the only complete online U.S. Federal Census Collection and the largest Internet set of U.S. passenger lists. Continue reading

An Unusual Flood Rescue

As many of you are probably aware (some of you probably all too keenly!), here in the Midwestern U.S., last week brought severe storms and flooding. We were fortunate in that other than a sleepless night, we didn’t sustain any damage. Many of our neighbors weren’t so lucky. This morning I found an interesting flood rescue story in my e-mail. It came from our local police chief through a neighborhood watch mailing list and he’s given me permission to reprint it along with the photographs.

Indy Blvd.bmp…Many strange flood stories have emerged, I just have to share one with you. On Saturday afternoon, I had just finished a twelve hour day that started with the Calumet River levy being breached close to the new Cabela’s store.  At three p.m., I was up on the I-80/94 Ramp over Indianapolis Boulevard surveying the damage. The boulevard was closed off so it was quiet and peaceful up there, no cars. 

 Three females and a male were walking up the ramp and stopped to speak with me.  They stated that they had left their car in the parking lot of the Amerihost Hotel overnight and they wanted to go back and retrieve it.  I asked them if it was a black Chevrolet Equinox and they said yes.  Early in the day we had State Auto and Towing remove forty-six cars from the Amerihost parking lot and I knew there was only one car left.  A black Equinox with water up to the windows. 

When I told them that there car was still in the lot but filled with water, the girls (in their early twenties) began crying hysterically. They then told me something I had never heard before–”Our deceased father is in the back seat of the car.” 

I had to do a double take, and asked them again what they were talking about.  One of the girls stated that FloodRescue.bmptheir father had recently passed away, and one of the last things he did was buy the Chevy for his oldest daughter.  When he died, they had him cremated and his ashes were in an urn, in the flooded back seat of the car.

I called State Auto on my radio and they sent out a tow truck.  Donald Kalina, who is our Chief of Emergency Management (a volunteer unpaid position) was the tow driver that responded.  He attempted to get back to the Chevy in his tow truck, but because of the high water, he was unable to get close enough to the car for extraction.  When he was advised that the girls’ father’s remains were in the backseat of the vehicle, Don offered to wade into the chest-deep, sewage-filled water, to retrieve the urn.

The girls were incredibly relieved and thankful for Don’s selfless act. If anyone ever tells you that there are very few heroes left in the world, please pass on this story…  

Sincerely ,
Chief Brian Miller
       

Seeking Rose and Valerie Edwards for Sibling Reunion

I picked this up from Megan’s RootsWorld blog and am hoping one of our readers can help in this search. A man dying of pancreatic cancer has been reunited with most of his siblings, but would like to meet two sisters who have not yet been found–

VALERIE MARTHA EDWARDS, born Sept 24, 1951
ROSE MARIE EDWARDS, born July 7, 1954

More information:

All siblings are: Stella, Valerie, Percy, Rose, Julie, Billy, Patricia (me), Steven. [The family] used to live at 250 King St W in Dundas Ontario, up until April 6, 1962, before [they] were taken by the (CAS) Children’s Aid Society. The CAS in Hamilton Ontario handled [the] adoptions.

VALERIE entered care at age 10 on April 6, 1962. She was placed in foster care immediately, which ended up being her permanent home. Her adoption was finalized early 1964. Her adoptive parents had 6 children. Her adoptive father was a railway engineer.

ROSE MARIE entered care at age 7 on April 6, 1962. She was placed in foster care. She stayed in foster care until age 9. Her adoption was finalized in the late fall of 1964. I believe her adoptive father was an accountant. They had 1 older daughter at the time.

For more information, visit the Immigrant Ship Transcribers Guild page set up for this family.