Posted by Crista Cowan on December 22, 2009 in World Archives Project

Over 22,000 of you have signed up to participate in the Ancestry World Archives Project since we launched it earlier this year. You joined the 10,000+ that registered during our beta period last year. Collectively, you have keyed over 30 million records and manually arbitrated an astounding 5 million record discrepancies in our double-keying and review process. That means a total of over 11 million records have been completely indexed so far this year.

We have released a total of ten completed databases onto Those indexes are now available for FREE to everyone because of your efforts.

As we approach the end of the year I want to take a moment to let the larger community know about the great work that you’ve been doing. I also want to encourage any of you who have not yet signed up to help us accomplish our mission of saving the records of the world to do so. And, in that spirit, I want to share with you a little something I wrote yesterday for the Ancestry World Archives Project community. I hope you enjoy!

As some of you wrap up your holidays, some of us are just beginning ours. And all of us are facing the end of 2009 and the New Year just around the corner. This time of year is frequently busy – mostly with good things – but I am still amazed (and grateful!) at the time that many of you find to keep keying and arbitrating as you contribute to this meaningful effort.

I didn’t think I’d have the time to keep up with you these last couple weeks of the year. After all, I have a houseful of out-of-town family that has begun to arrive for the holidays and more coming this week. Even so, I found myself sneaking in some arbitration on my laptop as I sat and watched a movie with them this weekend. I quickly realized just how much I can contribute in a couple hours of time here or there. I’ll likely do that again one or two nights this week and hope you’ll do the same.

So, to help keep us all motivated – and with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore – and no offense intended to any of you – I wrote a little something that I hope inspires you – or at least makes you chuckle!

Twas the end of the long year, when all through the world
In front of computers, contributors curled
The Ancestry World Archives Projects they keyed
In hopes that their ancestors’ names they would see
Or at least save those records for somebody else
‘fore the writing on pages is ruined or pales
They thought of the brick walls their help would help shatter
These records they’re saving they really do matter

In 94 countries, from the U.K. to Spain
In all U.S. States from Hawaii to Maine
In six different languages records they found
As they opened the Keying Tool without a sound

Arbitration and keying the tasks are at hand
Which project to work on sometimes is unplanned
Pick a Project for Me or more City Directories
Marriage Registers with no record of dowries
Census from Germany, small but important
Swedish Household Exams, you might wish you hadn’t

Postcards and Postcards and Postcards keep coming
British Postal Appointments, they’re really rolling
Naturalizations, Illinois is now done
Which one next will they work on? How ‘bout Washington?

One point two million records keyed this December
You might wonder if any of them ever slumber
“We’re saving the records of the world can’t you see
Ancestry World Archives Project and Me!
So, key away, key away, key away all
You want to help? Register, download and install.”

We’re so grateful for all that you do out of sight
Happy Keying to all and to all a good night!

Crista Cowan

Crista has been doing genealogy since she was a child. She has been employed at since 2004. Around here she's known as The Barefoot Genealogist. Twitter


  1. Reed

    Dear Crista,

    Would you please investigate and explain why the “Ancestry World Archives Project, Nebraska State Census 1860-1885” will not load any census images in either Safari or Firefox browsers? (running on Mac OS 10.4, PowerPC Mac Mini and Mac G5)

    This would be an extremely useful data collection, if one could view the images!

    Less time on the rhyming posts, and more on making the product work as advertised, please.


  2. Annie

    Thank you for the prose. I don’t know why keying feels like an addiction to me. Maybe I should call it a strong habit. I’ve been hooked since my first project. Why is it so hard to stop?
    Enjoy your time with family and friends.
    Happy Holidays to you!

  3. Crista Cowan

    Thank you, Ann. Happy holidays to you as well.

    Reed – Are the Nebraska State Census images the only ones you can’t view or are there other databases where you are having this same problem?

  4. Andy Hatchett

    Christa Re: # 3

    I’m in the same boat as Redd-almost.

    The page loads and I can see the index in the lower half but where the image should be is just a white space.

    This happens on all three of my computers (HP running vista64 Home Professional-FF) (Dell running vista32 Home Professional-FF) (Acer laptop running Vista Home Professional 32 -FF)

    The Nebraska State Census is the only one causing problems.

  5. Carol A. H.

    Well, I liked the story, a take off on ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas. Usually I do a lot of complaining. But I’m giving it a rest.

    Wishing everyone lots of ancestors next year.


  6. Valerie

    I can’t see the images in the Nebraska records either – though the other records I’m looking at seem fine.

    Running Safari 4.04 or Firefox 3.5.5 on an Intel Mac OS 10.6.2

  7. Reed


    Re #3: yep, it’s only the Nebraska State Census images. I have the exact same problems as commenter #4, Andy Hatchett. Everything loads (all graphics, indexes) except the census images.

    I hope there will be a fix for this.


  8. Crista Cowan

    Thank you Reed and Andy for reporting this. I’ll take a look at it today and see what I can figure out.

  9. Kathie Roae

    All of my information has disappeared from My tree is gone as are all my pictures, references and over five thousand people. What’s happened? Does purge? When I entered the site, today, I was told that I had multiple accounts. I don’t. They had an old email address that I haven’t used in years. My current email address is the one I used when I subscribed to World Deluxe. Help!

  10. Mildred (Millie) Meyer

    Dear Christa,
    Several comments: nothing available when I try to get to my information today. I don’t remember getting a “bill” when I subscribed. Am going to check the check book and see if paying this slipped my mind as some other things are doing here of late. I’m pretty sure we ordered “world Deluxe”. When I tried to sign in with gaymillcollies it was unrecognized.

  11. Ray

    As reported by other users, I am unable to view images for the Nebraska State Census Collection, 1860-1865. No problem viewing other images. Tried using both IE and Firefox in Windows XP.

  12. Hugo De Luca

    Hi Crista:

    I want to know if you will soon bring records to index Verbano Cusio Ossola, I see that are not available for a long time and I would be interested to continue indexing these records.

    I appreciate any reply.
    My cordial greetings and my desire for a happy new year.

  13. Ray

    Re#13: Finally figured out my problem. You have to be using the Advanced Image Viewer to view the images in the Nebraska State Census 1860-1885. Would have been nice to know in advance.

  14. Re my #15, various replies and Ray’s reply #15 regarding Nebraska State Census images that won’t display:

    Ray commented:

    “Re#13: Finally figured out my problem. You have to be using the Advanced Image Viewer to view the images in the Nebraska State Census 1860-1885. Would have been nice to know in advance.”

    I sure hope that this is not the only solution, since, according to Ancestry’s FAQ page:

    “The Enhanced Image Viewer is designed for use only with the Internet Explorer browser (version 7 or higher) for Windows XP or Vista. You must also have Active X enabled to use this viewer.”

    Not much help for those of use using Safari, Firefox, older versions of IE, etc.

    However, the same FAQ continues with:

    “If you do not meet these requirements, you will still be able to fully access the Census Images Online using the Basic Image Viewer, which provides almost the same functionality as the Enhanced Image Viewer.”

    That’s sure (still) not the case for me and, apparently, a number of other subscribers.

    So what’s the deal, Crista? Why won’t the Nebraska State Census images load for the rest of us? And why can’t (won’t?) Ancestry design browser-agnostic content? It’s 2010, after all…


  15. Andy Hatchett

    Jo Re: # 17

    Use Ancestry’s card catalog to see what Italian records are available.

    I just did a quick run and it shows:

    Como and Lecco, Lombardy, Italy, Civil Registration Records, 1866-1936 Birth, Marriage & Death Italy 2,162,838

    Alessandria and Asti, Piedmont, Italy: Civil registration records, 1866-1938 Birth, Marriage & Death Italy; Piemonte; Alessandria; Asti; Europe 1,456,595

    Lodi, Lombardy, Italy, Civil Registration Records, 1866-1936 Birth, Marriage & Death Italy; Lombardia; Lodi; Europe 1,189,565

    Verbano-Cusio-Ossola, Piedmont, Italy, Civil Registration Records, 1870-1937 Birth, Marriage & Death Italy 1,132,193

    Pavia, Lombardy, Italy, Civil Registration Records, 1866-1937 Birth, Marriage & Death Italy 1,009,151

    Siena, Tuscany, Italy: Civil Registration Records, 1866-1937 Birth, Marriage & Death Italy; Toscana; Siena; Europe 679,226

    Varese, Lombardy, Italy: Civil Registration, 1866-1937 Birth, Marriage & Death Italy; Lombardia; Varese; Europe 363,489

    Falerna, Catanzaro, Calabria, Italy, Civil Registration, 1810-1936 Birth, Marriage & Death Italy 27,547

    Palermo, Sicily, Italy, Birth Records Index, 1876-1885 FREE Birth, Marriage & Death Italy 5,998

    Italy Historic Postcards Pictures Italy 3,360

    Italy from the Alps to Naples : Handbook for travellers, with 26 maps and 44 plans Stories, Memories & Histories Italy 326

    Memoirs of the Dukes of Urbino : illustrating the arms, arts, and literature of Italy from 1440 to 1630 Stories, Memories & Histories Italy; Marche; Pesaro and Urbino; Europe 291

    Among the Scotch-Irish : and a tour in seven countries, in Ireland, Wales, England, Scotland, France, Switzerland, and Italy : Stories, Memories & Histories USA; France 226

    Those might get you started.

  16. christine

    I have returned many times to try and do some of the world archives project but been unable to because the keying tool would not work, until yesterday that is when i do as i usually do every few weeks, try to download the software this time it worked.
    Its been nearly 6 months since the sofware would work so thats good.
    I look forward to helping the project along in the future.


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