It has been a busy week here. A new project published to you for keying. Two completed projects released to the site with an index created by you, our wonderful community.


UK, Prison Hulk Registers and Letter Books (1802-1849)

We originally published this 196,000+ record collection to the community on February 17th for keying. You completed it in 17 short weeks. It was fascinating to read through these records and get a glimpse into life during this period of time when England was using floating prisons.

A thread on the World Archives message boards while you were keying this project was devoted to the sentences received by the prisoners – seven years for stealing a loaf of sugar, life for stealing a cow. One child (10 years old) received a seven year sentence for stealing an apple out of an orchard. One comment on the board says:

“This has been the most interesting and eye opening project I have worked on so far and it makes me appreciate the times I live in.”

This database “went live” on Tuesday. The index is freely available for anyone to search. Images are available to those with subscriptions or any active Ancestry World Archives Project contributor.


Lübeck 1845 Census

Released yesterday, this project contains over 42,000 records. It was published in September of last year and you keyed it in just under three months. There was a bit of post-production that occurred on this database. But, it is now ready for prime time. As always, any index created by the World Archives community is free to search for everyone.


Slave Emancipation Records – Washington, D.C. (1851-1863)

This project was published for keying on Wednesday afternoon and is already 20% complete. You all sure are pretty fast to jump on these small, new, interesting projects. I keyed a few image sets over the past couple of days and found them pretty easy to do. I then arbitrated a few image sets and have only one piece of advice. Be sure to capture ALL the names on the document – not just the names of the slaves. At the bottom of each document page is the name (or names) of the “master.” Be sure to key their name as well. For full project instructions click the link above.

That’s all for now, folks.

Until next time – Happy Keying!

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I guess I didn’t realize that when the projects were released, only the indexes would be free for anyone to search. I feel a little betrayed. Ancestry will be paid by people who will join to see the images for work that the keyers did for free. That isn’t sitting well with me.

The images are also free to active contributors of the World Archives Project. So if you key or arbitrate you also have access.

I understand that now. But it’s less motivating to do it only for those who pay to get it, or key to get it.

Hi again Mary,

I guess there are pros and cons. There was certainly a good deal of discussion about this issue on the main board some 12 months ago or so.
One keyer made a point that struck a chord with me … said that he/she would pay any price for a subscription to ancestry as geographical location made it impossible for him/her to visit record offices to research/view registers or microfilms or source documents (or words to that effect).

Others felt that the faster these records became available … the better … so the more keyers involved … the faster the records would appear.

I’ve just returned (to Australia) from 4.5 months in England. I took the opportunity to visit the London Metropolitan Archives to look at Workhouse records and also Wills – not available yet in digital form. It took me the whole day in travelling and looking through indexes (where they were available) to find the material I wanted. It was a costly exercise – and the underground workers were on strike – and it was pouring with rain and …

This was the only visit I made to the LMA this year. In previous years I’ve been 3 or 4 times. If I add up the $ then my ancestry world deluxe (annual) subscription would cost the same as 10 visits. And that’s assuming I’m already in England!

So I’m one of the people who subscribe to the sentiment that the more records that are digitised … the better for us all. Even if we can only see the indexes – at least we know that a record is available – and we can usually find a friend who has a subscription to the service and can do an occasional lookup for us.

I don’t hold a subscription to ‘Find My Past’ but often consult the indexes there for information. Same with other collections.

Like a lot of our volunteer keyers I also key for other organisations – particularly if WAP doesn’t have a project going at that time that appeals to me. So I guess I spread my voluntary time around to suit my interests.

Hope you continue to key for WAP – and hope you find source material in the future on ancestry that helps with your own research interests.


Hi…..again? I don’t believe we’ve met. Nonetheless, thank you for your words of encouragement. I, too, choose projects according to my interests. I tend to pick indexes related to California, because I live here. But my larger purpose, aside from interest, is to make information available to others. Not just others who can pay for it. Ancestry already has indexes available to search for free, with subscriptions required to view the images. So I’m not sure how this is any different than working without pay for Actually, I guess I pay to do it since I have a subscription.

I’ve continued to key this weekend. My heart isn’t in it like before. But I haven’t decided to stop. I just love those California Railroad paylists!

I agree with Colleen. I also key around my own interests and have concentrated on German projects.

In Germany hardly anytghing (I know of) is online. Most BMD records before 1850 are held by parishes and dioceses. This makes it very difficult, time consuming.
Ap and costly to research. Apart from that you cannot just walk in and research.Mostly you have to book in. Especially when wishing to use the Microfilm Reader.

Besides Ancestry has to pay for many of the records or the rights to their use. It is also very costly to maintain the hardware used. i.e. the scanners computers servers etc.

So I don’t mind paying. I all your folks are in the US there is no need to take out a World Membership. For the odd foreign one, you can pay per view. I have done that on many occasions.

Compared to some other sites, theancestry subsription is is reasonable.

The work done by the Ancestry team and volunteers is enormous – you cannot imagine the sheer time and effort involved in obtaining the records, preservation efforts involved in being able to scan them, digitizing and uploading for entry, indexing and data verification. I am more than willing to pay for records I might never be able to see in person or even know existed.

I agree with Daniel. Ancestry and others provide a most valuable access to records we would never be able to see on our own. There is tremendous work in obtaining, preparing and organizing records before they are ready to be “keyed” – Without the assistance of volunteers it would either be more expensive to subscribe to Ancestry or the records would not be available as quickly as they now are. I feel that the Ancestry subscription is a small price to pay for the many benefits I have enjoyed since 2000. I only began indexing recently – and find that only enhances my appreciation for the work that Ancestry performs.

Hi all, I am an Australian and as most are aware we are a young Nation, so having a subscription to Ancestry has been really worth while, as a trip to England is not going to be on the cards for some time. I began keying to give back to Ancestry and to just try and help. It is a fantastic site. Oh BTW. Does anyone know when the England 1911 census will be made available to Ancestry? As a few other sites claim to have it. And I thought Ancestry would be one of the leading sites in obtaining records. Cheers

I thank Mary for her initial note. While I understand Ancestry is a commercial entity, I was very enthusiastic about joining the project as a volunteer as my reading of project descriptions in regard to work being done by volunteers also had left me with the understanding the material being made available by volunteer work would be available to all for free. I will continue my search for the appropriate volunteer niche for me. This is not it.