Clicking on the link, a letter from Tim Sullivan appears:
The text of the letter is:
To the Ancestry community,
You had an incredible year in 2014, showing more commitment and passion than ever for discovering your family story.
Here at Ancestry, we worked hard this past year to make our service even more useful, rewarding, and fun for you. Last year, we launched more than 2 billion new global records, helping fuel discoveries in over 67 countries. Nearly half a million people took an AncestryDNA test to learn about their unique ethnic mix and to connect to hundreds … or even thousands of newfound genetic cousins. And more people than ever enjoyed the convenience of discovering and sharing their stories on the go with the Ancestry mobile app.
Good News: 2015 promises to be one of the most exciting in our own family history.
In the coming months, we’ll be introducing features that let you tell richer, more personal life stories about your ancestors, adding historical context around the times and events that shaped their lives. You’ll also see a new way to engage with other Ancestry members around a shared ancestor, helping you make new discoveries and collaborate like never before. If you’ve taken a DNA test, you’ll experience some new types of discoveries made possible by the groundbreaking DNA science and research teams. And everyone who visits Ancestry will find a simplified, easier-to-use site that puts important information front and center to make family stories the focus.
Most importantly, we will continue to add to the world’s largest online collection of family history records and content. Look for exciting additions like 170 million searchable images of probate records and wills that might reveal your ancestor’s dying wishes, all vital records from Virginia since 1900, substantial releases from Germany, and a milestone collection of almost 80 million Mexico Civil Birth, Marriage and Death records spanning from 1860 to modern day.
At Ancestry, we’re proud of all that we do to help you bring your family story to life. We think that this year’s new content and features are going to make the world’s leading online family history service even better.I appreciate the letter, and the list of potential additions to the extensive databases already available on Ancestry.com. My observations and conjectures:
Best wishes for the year ahead,Tim Sullivan
1) It sounds like there is another change to the website - note the paragraph that says:
"...we’ll be introducing features that let you tell richer, more personal life stories about your ancestors, adding historical context around the times and events that shaped their lives. You’ll also see a new way to engage with other Ancestry members around a shared ancestor, helping you make new discoveries and collaborate like never before. "
"And everyone who visits Ancestry will find a simplified, easier-to-use site that puts important information front and center to make family stories the focus."
How are they going to do that? Will they retain the most comprehensive (and complex, and useful) search features in genealogy, or will they "simplify" it so much as to make it difficult to narrow search results? I guess we'll find out in 2015.
2) What about the "...new way to engage with other Ancestry members around a shared ancestor," - will there be something like the "DNA Circles" (where the researchers in the Circles share a common ancestor) based on information in Ancestry Member Trees? Or will it be a place where researchers can share information about a specific historical person?
3) I am most curious about the "170 million searchable images of probate records and wills that might reveal your ancestor’s dying wishes," - will this be an "every name" search in actual probate records, or just a search in the indexes of probate record images? Whichever it is, it will be very welcome. It has always been my view that, once we have searchable databases for probate records, many brick walls will be knocked down by researchers because they can't master browsing in record images.
I recall that Ancestry and FamilySearch reached an agreement two years ago for Ancestry to receive probate record images from FamilySearch - a 22 March 2013 post on the FamilySearch blog says:
" Continued collaboration between Ancestry.com and FamilySearch.org. Ancestry.com and FamilySearch will work together to capture 140 million pages of U.S. probate records. This will include images and indexes. It will create a national registry of wills, letters of administration and other probate records that will span from 1800-1930. This is a 3 year project."
This may provide a very welcome database that provides records in the 1780 to 1850 gap in records in many states. However, I wish that it included probate records before 1800. Perhaps it does.
The URL for this post is: http://www.geneamusings.com/2015/01/observations-and-conjectures-on.html
Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver