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.
Do you want to hear about collections that will be published someday, but are just in the works right now? Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see these on a regular basis.
If so, here are a few:
- Indiana, Monroe County Public Library and the Bloomington Clerk’s Office are working together to digitize “ the oldest four books of county commissioner records, Bloomington City Council minutes and ordinances from the 1800s, city directories and the library’s own archives from the 1800s. The plan is to digitize about 60 books total.” Read more about this project in an article that shares just a tiny bit of the process of digitizing these records.
- There is a controversy brewing in the plans to digitize Canadian historical records. In another sign that governments see providing digital access to historical documents as a business, Library and Archives Canada “will provide millions of documents to Canadiana.org. The non-profit company will make digital images and can sell them for 10 years to cover its costs. Originals remain public property.” Read more.
- Mississippi, DeSoto County will hire two temporary workers to begin digitizing their county records. Read more.
- The US Army will digitize the Illinois Fort Sheridan Cemetery records. The good news is that this is only “part of a nationwide effort by the Army to upgrade cemetery operations and record-keeping. The goal is to have more than 40,000 graves at 29 cemeteries across the county photographed by the end of June.” Read more.
- The Guelph Public Library in Ontario, Canada, is digitizing 5,000 photographic records from the local newspaper, the Guelph Mercury. It received a grant to hire two individuals for the summer to do the digitization work. Read more.
- Louisiana State University Libraries received a grant to “digitize, index and provide free access to family papers, business records and public documents pertaining to free people of color in Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley.” Read more.
FamilySearch is partnering with many smaller organizations to help them get their collections digitized and online. Here are just a few news stories from the last few weeks that highlight these partnerships:
If you are with organization that would like to discuss digitize your collections, consider partnering with FamilySearch to get them online. Learn more here.
Odds and ends from the last few days: