Ancestry.com releases the following announcement this afternoon:
Ancestry.com and FamilySearch International (online at FamilySearch.org), the two largest providers of family history resources, announced today an agreement that is expected to make approximately 1 billion global historical records available online and more easily accessible to the public for the first time. With this long-term strategic agreement, the two services will work together with the archive community over the next five years to digitize, index and publish these records from the FamilySearch vault.
The access to the global collection of records marks a major investment in international content as Ancestry.com continues to invest in expanding family history interest in its current markets and worldwide. Ancestry.com expects to invest more than $60 million over the next five years in the project alongside thousands of hours of volunteer efforts facilitated by FamilySearch.
See more on the Ancestry.com blog.
There is already a some commentary with concerns that this means the end of free records on FamilySearch.org. Personally, I believe that searching indexes will always be free. But will we have to start paying for the rights to view some images online? Maybe, only time will tell. Even if that is the case, we’ll be seeing more records coming online faster than ever, and in the end, that’s a very good thing.