Saturday, January 10, 2009

Day 2 in Salt Lake City - A Visit to TGN - Part 2

This is a continuation of my post from Friday night, Day 2 in Salt Lake city - A Visit to TGN - Part 1. Look for posts by other genealogy bloggers as well; DearMYRTLE posted more details last night in Touring TNG/Ancestry.

Some things I learned while visiting The Generations Network offices on Friday:
1) Their marketing surveys indicate that:

* 90% of USA adults are aware of family history and genealogy
* 78% are interested in learning about family history
* 43% know the countries from which their ancestors came
* 65% are inspired by family stories and photographs
* 75% are aware that there is data available online, but are not sure how to start research.

2) Ancestry.com has:

* over 27,000 databases on all of Ancestry.com
* over 7 billion names in the indexes
* added 1.3 billion names in 2008
* 235 million images in the content
* added over 52 million images in 2008
* 37 million original documents were scanned in 2008
* 146 million records were indexed in 2008
* 35 thousand reels of microfilm were imaged in 2008

3) Future content (didn't say when, implied 2009, copied hurriedly):

* US State census records (no details of which states)
* 1940 US city directories
* US Navy cruise books
* World War II draft cards
* US Military post returns
* State vital records - CA, FL, ME, PA, others I didn't get
* Passenger lists from more ports
* Border crossings from more localities
* Naturalization original documents, 1792-1989
* Historical newspapers
* Chinese-American immigration
* more Jewish records
* Confederate pension records
* Slave manifests of New Orleans
* Characters from the past
* Vermont and New York records

They didn't detail the International content. The list above is somewhat different from the ones posted recently at http://landing.ancestry.com/comingsoon/ and at http://ancestryinsider.blogspot.com/2009/01/ancestrycom-future-content.html.

4) There was a description of the methods they are using to obtain records for imaging and indexing from State Archives and Vital Records offices. One way they are obtaining access is by agreeing to image the records onsite, index the records, provide the archive a digital copy of the records and index, and permit free access to Ancestry.com at the archives office. A second way to obtain record access is to provide grants to the archives or VR offices so that they will permit imaging at the state offices. At this time, TGN prefers to partner with record repositories rather than buy databases from them.

5) The World Archives Project had almost 10,000 volunteer indexers in December 2008, and to date they have indexed over 9 million records. There is an opportunity for genealogical and historical societies to partner with Ancestry to image and index the holdings in society files or databases. There was a discussion about what content should be added - government or other records (printed, form filled in, handwritten), family papers or records, etc. Ancestry said that priorities and availability of records are important to deciding which records to image and index.

I will save the next summary - about family trees, search strategy and emerging technology - for a later post.

Unfortunately, I am not the world's best note-taker, so there are parts of presentations that went by too fast or I was distracted (but I didn't doze off, even after a poor night's sleep - this was too good!) - perhaps the other attendees can fill in some of my blanks.

I will also offer my observations and impressions about the company, the management and employees in a later post.

On Saturday, I am going to the Family History Library for most of the day. TGN is sponsoring another dinner on Saturday night and will discuss updates to FTM 2009 and Ancestry.com, and company achievements and goals.

2 comments:

Harold said...

Hey cousin -- thanks for taking the time to fill us in! Did anyone raise the tough questions that have been coming up on the APG list -- about indexing errors, unreadable images, or (worst of all) images missing altogether? IOW, quality control? My own questions would be much more elementary -- such as, why do they find it necessary to title a perfectly good database/index of Indiana marriages between 1802 and 1850, "Indiana Marriages 1802-1892"? I'll be in town Monday so perhaps we'll get to fight over some film! -- Harold

Craig Manson said...

Thanks for the update, Randy. It appears that TGN is making a pretty decent consumer outreach effort! That's great.