An interesting announcement was released today: two companies and one non-profit have combined forces to produce indexes for the 1940 U.S. census. The thing that caught my eye is that one of the companies, findmypast.com, is based in London. It is a division of brightsolid (spelled with all lower-case letters), which is headquartered in Dundee, Scotland and has offices offices in London, Edinburgh, Ireland and Australia.
I believe this is the first time a non-U.S. company has moved so aggressively into the U.S. genealogy marketplace. The move is not a surprise, however, as brightsolid has been rumored for some time to be looking to expand into North America. The expansion strikes as a great idea; the more competition we see in the marketplace, the more all genealogy consumers will benefit.
The census IMAGES will be released on April 2, 2012, as has been mentioned many places. However, those images will not be indexed on the day they are released. Today's announcement involves the later creation of an INDEX to that census.
The following announcement was written by Archives.com, FamilySearch International, and findmypast.com:
16 December 2011
SALT LAKE CITY—Three leading genealogy organizations, Archives.com, FamilySearch International, and findmypast.com, announced today they are joining forces to launch the 1940 US Census Community Project. The ambitious project aims to engage online volunteers to quickly publish a searchable, high quality name index to the 1940 US Census after it is released in April 2012 by the National Archives and Record Administration of the United States (NARA). The highly anticipated 1940 US Census is expected to be the most popular US record collection released to date. Its completion will allow anyone to search the record collection by name for free online. Learn more about this exciting initiative or how to volunteer at www.the1940census.com.
The 1940 US Census Community Project is also receiving additional support from leading societal organizations like the Federation of Genealogical Societies, National Genealogical Society, and Ohio Genealogical Society.
The population of the US in 1940 was approximately 130 million. NARA’s census images will not have a searchable index. The goal of the 1940 US Census Community Project is to create a high quality index online linked to the complete set of census images as soon as possible. The index will allow the public to easily search every person found in the census and view digital images of the original census pages. The collection will be available online for free to the general public at Archives.com, FamilySearch.org, and findmypast.com, the sponsors of the community project. This new collection will open access to family history research like never before for this period in the US.
“The 1940 Census is attractive to both new and experienced researchers because most people in the US can remember a relative that was living in 1940. It will do more to connect living memory with historical records and families than any other collection previously made available,” said David Rencher, Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch.
The collaborative project will also pool the collective resources, know-how, and marketing reach of Archives.com, FamilySearch, and findmypast.com to engage and coordinate the volunteer workforce needed to deliver the ambitious project. Additionally, Archives.com and findmypast.com will make substantial financial contributions to make the 1940 US Census online name index possible and work with nonprofit FamilySearch to bring additional new records collections online—making even more highly valued family history resources available to the entire genealogical community.
Archives.com launched in 2009 with a focus on making family history research simple and affordable. Archives.com was recently awarded the opportunity to host the 1940 census for the National Archives as part of a separate project. Its involvement with the collaborative 1940 US Census project reiterates its commitment to the genealogy community and leadership in the space.
“As a forward thinking company, we understand the critical importance the 1940 Census will have on US family history research. We are proud to be a primary sponsor of this community initiative, giving us another opportunity to take a leading role in the genealogy industry. We’d like to encourage and thank volunteers in advance for their essential contribution to this project,” said Matthew Monahan, CEO of Archives.com’s parent company, Inflection.
FamilySearch has developed an impressive global online community of volunteers over the past 5 years to help create free indexes to millions of the world’s historic records. The scope and size of the 1940 US Census Community Project will require tens of thousands of additional volunteers.
findmypast.com is one of a series of leading family history websites owned by the online publisher, brightsolid, which hosts over a billion records across its genealogy brands. The company, which has been at the cutting edge of online family history since 2002, has a wealth of genealogy experience, including the recently digitized historic newspaper archive for the British Library (britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk), which is set to digitize up to 40 million pages over the next 10 years.
“By supporting this ground-breaking initiative, we hope to capture the imagination of the public to bring millions of people together to create this remarkable document of, and tribute to, the Greatest Generation. At brightsolid we are committed to making family history accessible for all and believe access to these records will transform the family history market in the US,” said Chris van der Kuyl, CEO of findmypast.com’s parent company, brightsolid.
Archives.com is a leading family history website that makes discovering family history simple and affordable. The company has assembled more than 1.5 billion U.S. and international historical records in a single location, including vital, census, newspaper, immigration, military, and more. Archives.com is free to try for seven days, allowing anyone to explore the benefits of membership without risk or obligation. Archives.com is owned and operated by Inflection, a fast-growing data commerce company, chosen by the National Archives to host the 1940 Census. Find more information at http://www.archives.com/1940census.
FamilySearch International is the largest genealogy organization in the world. FamilySearch is a nonprofit, volunteer–driven organization sponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Millions of people use FamilySearch records, resources, and services to learn more about their family history. To help in this great pursuit, FamilySearch and its predecessor organizations have been actively gathering, preserving, and sharing genealogical records worldwide for over 100 years. Patrons may access FamilySearch services and resources free online at FamilySearch.org or through over 4,600 family history centers in 132 countries, including the main Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.
About brightsolid and findmypast.com
Since 1994, brightsolid group has been delivering online innovation and pioneering the expansion of the genealogy market with leading family history websites including the findmypast global network, ScotlandsPeople, GenesReunited, and britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk, together servicing over 18 million registered customers worldwide. The sites connect people via their innovative family tree software and deliver access to over a billion records dating as far back as 1200. Family historians can search for their ancestors among global collections, relating primarily to people with UK and Irish ancestry, of military records, census, migration, occupation directories, newspapers, as well as birth, marriage and death records.
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