Almost three years ago we started the Ancestry World Archives Project with a vision of involving the genealogy community to make more records accessible and free. Since that time more than 76,000 of you have helped index over 71 million records! As collections of records are completed we’ve been putting them online for free for anyone to search, meaning that you have helped thousands of people discover more about their family history by preserving historical documents that might otherwise be lost.
Today, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Ancestry.co.uk launched in partnership the World Memory Project. The goal of this project is to create a free online resource about victims and survivors of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution during World War II. Through the World Memory Project, you can help make these victims’ records searchable online, restoring the identities of people the Nazis tried to erase from history, one person at a time.
The Museum’s archives contain information on more than 17 million people targeted by Nazi racial and political policies, including Jews, Poles, Romanians, Ukrainians, political prisoners. The Holocaust Museum assists thousands of people worldwide every year who are searching for information about individuals in their collections. The World Memory Project will greatly expand the accessibility of the Museum’s archival collection and enable people to search for their own answers online.
Sara J. Bloomfield, Director, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum said, “The Nazis’ genocidal policies quickly turned millions of individual lives, filled with hopes and dreams, into massive statistics that are hard to comprehend. Through our partnership with Ancestry, we hope to remind the public that the Holocaust is not about numbers but about individuals just like us and to help families uncover histories they thought were lost.
“The Museum’s vast archives contain documentation that may be the only remaining link to an individual life. Preserving these personal histories and making them available online is one of the most powerful ways we can learn from history and honour the victims.”
All collections you see in the keying tool and on the AWAP Dashboard beginning with the acronym “USHMM” (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum) are part of this new World Memory Project. (You may recognize four of those projects. You have already keyed and arbitrated about 40,000 records from these four collections over the past couple of months as we piloted some of the Museum content.) We are relying on our existing World Archives community to continue to help arbitrate these records and assist new keyers in the World Archives Wiki on the project pages.
Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry.com said,“It is an honour to have the opportunity to work with such a respected institution to provide people around the world the access to these truly important collections.
“It is our hope that by making these collections easier to search, victims and their families will finally be able to answer difficult but significant questions about the fate of their loved ones, and in doing so, complete and preserve such significant family stories.”
For those of you who are just joining our newly established joint community – a big welcome! Even a few minutes of your time can help families discover what happened to their loved ones and restore the identities of people the Nazis tried to erase from history.
To get started, please go to www.worldmemoryproject.org.