Philadelphia â€“ Sept. 4, 2008 â€“ Ancestry.com, the worldâ€™s largest online family history resource, today launched the World Archives Project, a global public indexing initiative designed to give individuals everywhere the opportunity to help preserve historical records. The Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS) is the first organization to partner with Ancestry.com during this beta phase of this new venture, enlisting genealogists and family history enthusiasts to help test the software and prepare it for a more public release.
Now in public beta, the World Archives Project allows individuals to transcribe information from images of original historical records and to create indexes that will remain accessible for free on Ancestry.com and on Ancestryâ€™s localized sites in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Sweden, and Italy. Active contributors* will soon be able to access all original images that are part of the World Archives Project. Organizations can also partner with the World Archives Project and sponsor indexing projects. Ancestry.com will donate a digital copy of the sponsored index and images back to partnering organizations.
â€œAs a global society, we are falling further and further behind when it comes to digitizing historical records,â€ said Tim Sullivan, president and CEO of The Generations Network, parent company of Ancestry.com. â€œThe World Archives Project allows us to work collectively as a community to preserve and to digitize records that will otherwise surely be lost to the wear and tear of time. By providing free access to these indexes on the worldâ€™s most popular family history website, we will provide millions of people with access to records that might help them unlock new clues about their ancestors.â€
Already, several thousand individuals have joined the World Archives Project private beta, indexing Wisconsin Mortality Schedules and Nebraska State Censuses. Participants provided feedback and recommendations for this public beta release.
â€œWe are thrilled to be a part of this cause and to help spread the world about this new initiative,â€ said Wendy Elliott-Scheinberg, president of FGS. â€œThe World Archives Project is a great way for enthusiasts and genealogical societies to directly impact and further family history research.â€
â€œFGS has been enormously helpful in the development of our vision for the World Archives Project,â€ said Sullivan. â€œThe 500+ genealogy societies that FGS represents are absolutely critical to the continued health and growth of genealogical research. Weâ€™ve been searching for years for the right way to partner with genealogy societies, and we think this project will allow us to help them attract new members by leveraging the popularity of Ancestry.com. We appreciate the encouragement and support FGS provides and look forward to continuing our relationship as this project marches forward.â€
*Specific guidelines must be met to be considered an active contributor. For more information, click here.
With 26,000 searchable databases and titles and nearly 3 million active users, Ancestry.com is the No. 1 online source for family history information. Since its launch in 1997, Ancestry.com has been the premier resource for family history, simplifying genealogical research for millions of people by providing them with many easy-to-use tools and resources to build their own unique family trees. Ancestry.com is part of The Generations Network, Inc., a leading network of family-focused interactive properties, including www.myfamily.com, www.rootsweb.com, www.genealogy.com and Family Tree Maker. In total, The Generations Network properties receive nearly 7.5 million unique visitors worldwide (Â© comScore Media Metrix, July 2008). To easily begin researching your family history, visit www.ancestry.com.