The following announcement was written by The Generations Network, the parent company of Ancestry.com:
Ancestry.com and National Archives Join Forces to Make Millions of Historical Documents Available Online to Americans Wanting to Research Family History This Memorial Day and Beyond
New Agreement Features On-Site Ancestry.com Technicians and Scanners at National Archives For Ongoing Digitization of Historical Content
WASHINGTON and PROVO, Utah, May 20 -- The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of Ancestry.com, today announced an agreement that makes millions of historical records more easily available to the American public. The agreement, which will be signed today at the NARA headquarters in Washington, D.C. and celebrated with a military theme in honor of this Memorial Day, allows for the ongoing digitization of a wealth of historical content, including immigration, birth, marriage, death and military records.
The new agreement provides critical access to these important historical records at a faster rate than ever before due to the placement of Ancestry.com technicians and scanning machines at NARA to continually digitize content for online access. The initial NARA collections to be digitized under the new agreement include INS Passenger and Crew Arrival and Departure Lists from 1897-1958 and Death Notices of U.S. Citizens Abroad from 1835-1974, which have not been available to the public outside of NARA research rooms before now.
"The mission of the National Archives and Records Administration is to provide access to the nation's historical records, and we are proud to have The Generations Network among our valued partners," said Professor Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States. "With this new agreement, citizens can discover and learn from these records in remote locations faster than ever before."
For more than a decade, Ancestry.com and NARA have collaborated to make important historical records available to the public, demonstrating their dovetailing commitment to preserving America's heritage. Ancestry.com currently has the largest online collection of digitized and indexed NARA content, including the complete U.S. Federal Census Collection, 1790-1930, passenger lists from 1820-1960 and WWI and WWII draft registration cards. Through this new agreement, Ancestry.com and NARA have greatly enhanced their working relationship. More on the agreement and the long-term relationship between Ancestry.com and NARA can be found at http://www.ancestry.com/nara.
"We are honored to be a part of NARA's progressive vision to provide access to our nation's historical records through this kind of public-private partnership," said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of The Generations Network, Inc. "We hope the Ancestry.com-NARA relationship can help millions more Americans learn about their own family's history and then pass these stories to their children and grandchildren."
Formal Signing Ceremony at NARA
Ancestry.com and NARA will celebrate their new agreement with a formal signing ceremony at NARA headquarters at 10 a.m. today. In keeping with the Memorial Day theme, veterans as well as Ancestry.com members who have made important family discoveries in the NARA military documents already digitized and available on Ancestry.com will also be in attendance and on hand to share their stories.
Free Public Access on Ancestry.com
To commemorate the NARA-Ancestry.com agreement on the eve of Memorial Day, Ancestry.com is making its entire U.S. Military Collection -- the largest online collection of American military records -- available for free to the public. From May 20 through May 31, people can log on to http://www.ancestry.com/military to view more than 100 million names and 700 titles and databases of military records, the majority of which come from NARA, from all 50 U.S. states.
About the National Archives
The National Archives and Records Administration, an independent federal agency, is the nation's record keeper. Founded in 1934, its mission is unique -- to serve American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, ensuring that the people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. It supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives meets a wide range of information needs, among them helping people to trace their families' history, making it possible for veterans to prove their entitlement to medical and other benefits, and preserving original White House records. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at http://www.archives.gov/.
With 25,000 searchable databases and titles and nearly 3 million active users, Ancestry.com is the No. 1 online source for family history information. Since its launch in 1997, 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. Ancestry.com is part of The Generations Network, Inc., a leading network of family-focused interactive properties, including http://www.myfamily.com/, http://www.rootsweb.com/, http://www.genealogy.com/ and Family Tree Maker. In total, The Generations Network properties receive nearly 8.5 million unique visitors worldwide. (© comScore Media Metrix, March 2008). To easily begin researching your family history, visit http://www.ancestry.com/.