The following announcement was written by Ancestry.com:
PROVO, Utah, Nov. 28 -- Ancestry.com, the world's largest online family history resource, today announced it is extending free access to the most extensive immigration records collection online through the end of the year. On November 9, the company released the most comprehensive collection of all readily available U.S. passenger list records from 1820 to 1960, providing access to more than 100 million names from the height of U.S. immigration. Ancestry.com originally offered free access to its immigration records through November 30 to celebrate the launch of the passenger list collection. Due to overwhelming response, the company is now extending the offer through the end of 2006.
"The passenger list collection has struck a chord in communities, sparking interest like we've never seen before," said Tim Sullivan, CEO, MyFamily.com, Inc., parent company of Ancestry.com. "Each record in this collection is a memorial to what was most likely the most important day in the lives of our ancestors and millions of people are connecting emotionally and literally to these records. To commemorate and honor their remarkable stories, Ancestry.com is providing free access to the largest collection we have ever offered for the longest period of time."
Ancestry.com has experienced its highest-ever site page views since the launch of the passenger list collection. Average page views per day have increased by 25 percent, from 12 to 15 million over the past month, and by more than 30,000 page views per day from new visitors. In its first week, the site experienced a 26 percent increase in average unique visitors per day from the previous month.
Ancestry.com is the only source for the largest compilation of passenger list records available and fully-searchable online. An estimated 85 percent of Americans have an immigrant ancestor included in this passenger list collection, which took more than three years to digitize and transcribe and includes the complete Ellis Island Collection, as well as records from more than 100 other U.S. ports of arrival. The collection also provides access to more than 7 million original passenger list records and 1,000 digital images of actual ships, allowing users to easily view and print these documents at the click of a mouse from home. Of the 23,000 record sets available on Ancestry.com, this collection is one of the most moving as it celebrates the courage, hopes, fears and memories of millions of America's immigrant ancestors.
To memorialize and complement the collection, Ancestry has also launched the Ellis Island microsite, an interactive glimpse into the immigration experience. This unique site delves into the details of the entire immigrant experience, illustrating the story of immigration from start to finish through original photos, maps, first-hand accounts and oral histories from people who arrived in America during this great immigration era. Users can access Ancestry.com's Ellis Island site at www.ellisislandexperience.com.
Ancestry.com has received numerous emails and stories from users about their breakthrough discoveries while searching the immigration collection:
"I knew when my uncle was born, that he had lived with his father in London and had immigrated to the United States after WW II. Beyond this, I knew very little. I entered his name in the search, gave a 10-year span when he might have traveled and guessed that his departure port would have been London. Within moments, I had found that he and his family traveled from Auckland, New Zealand aboard the S.S. Orsovaon June 4, 1956, arriving in San Francisco 17 days later," said Anto, an Ancestry.com customer.
With more than 5 billion names and 23,000 searchable databases and titles, Ancestry.com is the No. 1 online source for family history information. Since its launch almost a decade ago, Ancestry.com has been the premier resource for family history, simplifying genealogical research for millions of people by providing them with many easy-to-use tools and resources to build their own unique family trees. The MyFamily network of family history sites, of which Ancestry is the largest, receive more than 9 million unique visitors worldwide and 450 million page views each month. (© comScore Media Metrix, September 2006.)