Monday, August 24, 2009

Ancestry.com's "Coming Soon" Page

Have you been watching the "Coming Soon" page at www.Ancestry.com? I have! I started back in late December 2008 when I first saw the page - see my post here. Soon after, I collected screen shots of that web page as a benchmark.

www.Ancestry.com changed the content of the Coming Soon page in August. I wondered which databases that were on the December page have been added to the available databases, which have not appeared yet, and which have been added in August.

1) Here are some of the things I've found from the December list for Census Records and Vital Records:

* U.S. State Census Records - added the Alabama State Censuses (1820-1866), the South Dakota State Census (1885 and 1895), the Kansas State Census (1925) and the Florida State Censuses (1867-1945) (Ancestry's list). There are more to come, apparently.

* Improved U.S. Federal Censuses 1790-1930 - have "improved" the images on 1810, 1820, 1880 and 1900 by Ancestry's list. The current page says they will work on the other 1800s censuses in 2009, and on 1910 and 1920 censuses in 2010.

* U.S. Native-American Records from Southeastern States, 1850-1930. Not added yet, still on "Coming Soon" list, implied 2009.

* Complete Canadian Census - added in mid-2009. Done.

* Mexican Census - still on the "Coming Soon" list, implied 2009.

* Australia Electoral Rolls, 1901-1936 - still on "Coming Soon" list, implied 2009.

* United States Vital Records - still on "Coming Soon" list, implied 2009

* Contemporary Obituaries - still on "Coming Soon" list, implied 2009

* U.S. Deaf Marriages - not on "Coming Soon" list, cannot find it in database card catalog.

* U.S. Deaths Abroad - not on "Coming Soon" list, cannot find it in database card catalog

* London Parish and Poor Law Records - Ancestry added Poor Law Records, "Coming Soon" pages say they will add London Parish Records, implied in 2009.

* Italian Vital Records, 1800s-1900s - still on "Coming Soon" list, implied 2009

* England and Wales Birth and Marriage Indexes, 1916-1983 - Ancestry.com says the 1837-2005 list of Birth, Marriages and Deaths is completed.

* Scandinavian Vital Records, 1600s-2008 - not on "Coming Soon" list, cannot find it in database card catalog

* Vital Records from Walloon, Belgium and Netherlands, 1500s-1905 - no claim by Ancestry, but there are records in the Database Card Catalog for some of these records.

2) Census and Vital Records Databases added to the August "Coming Soon" page include:

* New York Non-Population Schedules

* Lubeck, Germany Censuses, 1845, 1851, 1857, 1862

* U.S. Mortality Schedules, 1850-1880

* Social Security Death Index

* French Vital Records, 1600s-1900s

* Australian Cemetery Records

* Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany Church Records, 1876-1918

I have several concerns:

* What happened to the databases that were on the December list and are not on the August list? Were they dropped, or did I miss them in the Card Catalog (frankly, the search of the CC is difficult - I had to use the Title field to find things).

* Ancestry.com has made a big deal about the Census images - that they are improving them. Are they just "enhancing" currently available images, or are they obtaining images from another source (like the FHL microfilms)? My worry is that pages that were available before will not be included in the new image set. Will Ancestry.com NOT delete pages if they are not on the "enhanced" data set? This may be a non-issue - I'd like to hear Ancestry.com explain what they are doing.

* Will all of the promised databases for 2009 actually come about? They've had almost 8 months in 2009 and have put up only a few of their promised "Coming Soon" databases from last December.

* They have updated a number of existing databases during 2009, and it is difficult to judge just how many images and indexed names were added.

If I have time before I go on vacation, I may do a few more comparisons for other record types.

I really do appreciate the daily added content on Ancestry.com - you can see the Recent Genealogy Databases list here. Nearly all of the added content during 2009 has been for World Collection records (especially Canada, UK, Germany, France and Australia). That's fine ... but most of these records were not and are not on the "Coming Soon" list!

1 comment:

Tapgenie said...

Funny. According to my records, I was pulling info from Ancestry's "Australian Electoral Rolls 1901 to 1936" in late 2007. The optimistic interpretation is that they're adding more of the rolls. Year/state coverage was rather hit and miss. That would be nice. Wait and see, I guess!