Our Ancestry World Archives Project community is about to get a whole lot bigger!
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 over 76,000 of you have helped to index over 71 million records. As collections of records are completed we’ve been putting them online for free for anyone to search. You have helped thousands of people discover their family history by preserving historical documents that might otherwise be lost.
Today, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Ancestry.com announce the launch of the World Memory Project. The goal is to build the largest free online resource for information about victims and survivors of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution during World War II.
The Museum’s archives contain information on well over 17 million people targeted by Nazi racial and political policies, including Jews, Poles, Roma, Ukrainians, political prisoners, and many others. The Museum assists thousands of people worldwide every year that are searching for information about individuals in its collections. The World Memory Project will greatly expand the accessibility of the Museum’s archival collection and enable millions of people to search for their own answers online.
“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.com, 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,” says Sara J. Bloomfield, Director, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “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 honor the victims.”
Despite the Nazis’ efforts to erase human history, millions of their victims’ experiences were recorded in documents that still exist today. The World Memory Project enables anyone to help bring this information online – one record and a few minutes at a time – to help families discover the fate of lost loved ones and forge new connections that transcend war and time.
That is where you come in.
Starting today, hundreds of new people will be joining our community every day. They are coming to help bring these significant records to light. Most of them will not be genealogists. Many of them will be new to indexing. All of them will have a desire to see these important record preserved and made more accessible than ever. Please welcome them with open arms.
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.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to work with such a respected institution to provide people around the world the access to these truly important collections,” said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of Ancestry.com. “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 – 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. The power of truth is in your hands.