Posted by Ancestry Team on June 27, 2008 in Collections, Website

naracl.jpgFor years we’ve been purchasing and digitizing microfilm publications from The National Archives, such as the U.S. Federal Census, passenger lists, and naturalization records. Upon completion, each digitized collection is then published on, making it possible for subscribers to access these records online at home, or wherever they connect to the internet.

Some of you might have heard of a recent agreement reached between NARA and The Generations Network. This agreement now allows us to operate digitization equipment onsite at The National Archives, thus making it possible to bring to you records that have never been available outside the NARA facility where they are stored.

After months of intense (and intensely fun) research, we’ve selected several collections and have begun digitizing them. Two of the early projects are 1) Death Reports of American Citizens Abroad, 1835-1974 and 2) Passenger and Crew Arrival and Departure Lists, 1897-1958.

So, instead of you having to travel to Washington, D.C. to browse through these records, we’re bringing them to you. Stay tuned.


  1. This is good news…I’ve always wondered, however…how do you choose which collections from NARA to digitize? The two you mentioned in the post sound good, but a little obscure and will probably only be useful to a narrow group of researchers.

    Tim Agazio

  2. Netzband

    Are you doing this back in a private place or in the second floor research room? The reason I ask is because I was there recently and noticed four people at a table next to me, all with scanners, busy digitizing whole boxes of records. Of course, I could have asked, but I became suddenly shy. I thought–either Footnote or Ancestry–maybe. Anyway, I think it’s great.

  3. I have found numerous errors in you indexing to the census records. People at the National Archives confirm that they hear that quite a bit.

    I understand this is a human process but index books for the old census records have been available for years. I found cases where they were more accurate that your online search.

    I also like the interface of Ancestrylibrary better than

  4. Would like to find out some information Lydon B. Johnson, Lady Bird her madan name was Taylor. To see if she related to me? And information on johnny Cash, his grandmother was a Taylor. Looking for more information.

  5. Michael Flynn

    Some people upload scanned documents as pictures, but it would be useful to have a category of scanned document storage that incldes indexing the data on the document so others can search on it.

    I would like to be able to scan all my source documents to archive them online and be able to cite them as sources.

    Vital recorda on living people could have the same privacy restrictions as the tree that uploaded them.

    If one of those documents is relevant to a future search, it should come up as a hit.

    I expect there are hobbyists who would enjoy uploading indexed pictures of headstones, and other things.

    If this feature becomes popular, it could become a significant soutce of archived, searchable documents and would be a way for individuals to preserve documents in their posession.

  6. Darrell Wesley

    Is there any intention to film the complete Civil War Pension Files not just the index cards?

  7. Chris Lydiksen

    3) Jaems, all of the U.S. censuses will be improved in accordance with our recent agreement with FamilySearch.

  8. Carolyn

    I agree with Michael there. It looks like Footnote is attempting this too. It would be great tot upload all we have to share and have them indexed. Not just the tags, but the content. We all have tons of material, probate records, deeds, everything under the sun that could be indexed accd. to name, location, etc. Thanks!

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