Here's an item that caught my eye: Ancestry.com is creating a new scanning facility in the Washington, D.C. area. I assume this is to allow for more scanning of documents obtained from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The mention of the new scanning location was included in an announcement of two new record collections going online. Here is the announcement written by Ancestry.com:
PROVO, Utah, Oct. 6 -- Ancestry.com today announced an expansion to their relationship with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) that enables the company to digitize NARA record collections at a new Ancestry.com facility in the Washington, D.C., area. The new facility will help bring millions of new NARA documents online for the first time.
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.
"Our ten-year relationship with NARA goes far beyond digitizing documents," said Tim Sullivan, CEO, Ancestry.com. "The new facility and expanded relationship with the National Archives enables us to scan millions of paper records, carefully preserved for decades at NARA, and put them online to help millions of Americans more easily unlock the stories of their family's past."
Since the signing of an agreement in May 2008, Ancestry.com has been working with NARA to digitize historical records collections on-location at NARA's archive in Maryland. This is the first time NARA has partnered with a commercial entity to have documents scanned off-site. The new scanning facility will allow Ancestry.com to digitize more than five times the records than it could at the NARA archive, with the capacity to scan at least 5 million documents, many still in paper form, each year.
"Considering the enormous number of historical records housed at NARA archives across the country, the cost is too great for us to digitize the documents on our own," said James Hastings, Director of Access Programs at NARA. "Our relationship with Ancestry.com allows us to drastically increase the rate of digitizing records in a fiscally responsible fashion and helps us provide the public with even greater access to America's treasured collections."
To celebrate this growing relationship with NARA, Ancestry.com has launched two collections that were a part of the May 2008 partnership announcement: Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1963-1974, which have not been available to the public outside of NARA research rooms and Honolulu Passenger Lists, 1900-1953, which have not been available online until now.
Honolulu Passenger List, 1900-1953
Honolulu Passenger Lists, 1900-1953, consists of more than 1.4 million records of passenger arrivals to Honolulu, Hawaii. Because of Hawaii's role as a vacation spot and as a stopping point for people migrating from the Eastern side of the globe to the United States, these records can provide invaluable clues about family immigration and travel. Passenger lists include name, birth year, ethnicity, port and date of arrival and departure, ship or airline name and much more.
Included in this collection are some familiar names who visited the island of Oahu from 1900 to 1953:
- Rita Hayworth - For the filming of Miss Sadie Thompson, Rita traveled to Hawaii aboard the ship Lurline and arrived in Honolulu on May 23, 1953.
- Shirley Temple - In 1935, at the age of six, Shirley Temple traveled to Hawaii with her parents, Gertrude and George, for the filming of Curly Top. She returned to Hawaii in 1937 and 1939.
- Cary Grant (Archibald Leach) - Traveling with Mary Astor (Lucille) and her husband, Manuel Del Campo, aboard the Mastonia, in 1938.
- John Wayne - Arrived in Honolulu with wife, Esperanza, aboard the ship Lurline on March 19, 1952 for the filming of Big Jim McLain.
Other famous people found in this collection include Clark Gable, Bing Crosby, Laurence Olivier, Spencer Tracy and Bette Midler's father, Fred Midler, who arrived in Hawaii in 1940 aboard the ship Washington. Bette was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1945.
Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1963-1974
Ancestry.com also launched Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1963-1974. This first installment of more than 80,000 records consists of letters, formal reports, passports and other key historical documents that verify deaths of Americans overseas.
Included in this valuable collection are some familiar names:
- Judy Garland - Listed as "Judy Garland DeVinko", Garland died of "barbiturate poisoning, incautious overdose, accidental" in her Chelsea, London, house in 1969.
- Sylvia Plath - The death record states that American author "Sylvia Plath-Hughes" died of "Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (domestic gas) whilst suffering from depression. Did kill herself" in February 1963 in London. She is buried in Yorkshire, England.
- Mama Cass - Listed as "Ellen Naomi Cohen", Mama Cass, from The Mamas and the Papas, died of "fatty myocardial degeneration due to obesity," contrary to rumors she choked on a ham sandwich, while in London in 1974.
- Jimi Hendrix - In 1970, controversy surrounded Jimi Hendrix's London death, as there was no solid confirmation of his cause of death. This record collection continues to add to the mystery: James Marshall Hendrix's death record was replaced with a note showing that J. White checked out the death record in 1979. Today, the check-out slip is the only document in Jimi Hendrix's file.
Once NARA records are digitized, Ancestry.com posts them online for its subscribers. Additionally, NARA archive visitors will have access to the digitized files on-site through Ancestry.com.
Ancestry.com is the world's largest online resource for family history and has digitized and put online over 4 billion records over the past twelve years. Ancestry users have created over ten million family trees containing over one billion profiles. Ancestry.com has local Web sites directed at nine countries, and more than 8 million unique visitors spent more than 5 million hours on an Ancestry Web site in May 2009 (comScore Media Metrix, Worldwide). For more information on Ancestry.com and its other family history resources, visit http://corporate.ancestry.com.