Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ancestry and NEHGS to Collaborate

There's been another announcement of collaboration between two large providers of genealogical and historical research information.

Leland Meitzler provides the press release sent by the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) here. NEHGS and will "bring together and make available for the first time the enormous resources of both institutions in an effort to continue fostering a growing national interest in family history and genealogy." Please read the whole announcement carefully!

The "money" quote for the genealogy researcher is:

"As part of the relationship, NEHGS, the country’s largest and oldest non-profit society and, the largest online family history website, will offer joint access to some of most important family history information available anywhere. While details of the collaboration will be outlined in the weeks to come, it is planned to include special membership opportunities that combine’s repository of five billion names and 24,000 databases and titles and some of NEHGS’ most significant genealogical publications and services."

The statement doesn't really say what the actual collaboration will be, but I'm sure it will be defined as time goes on.

This raises some questions in my mind, such as:

1. Will the NEHG Register articles (since 1847!) be available for subscribers? Some of these articles are very useful and are only available in paper format or digital format on the NEHGS web site.

2. Will the NEHGS databases, including the Massachusetts Vital Records 1841-1910, be available to subscribers? Many of the Massachusetts town VRs to 1850 (the so-called "tan books") are already available on Ancestry, but the civil registration records starting in 1841 are not available anywhere but on microfilm (including the FHL) and in digital form on the NEHGS web site.

3. Will NEHGS members get a price break on subscriptions?

4. Will subscribers get a price break on NEHGS membership?

5. Will be available for free access at NEHGS in Boston? I think that they currently have Ancestry Library Edition available now.

6. Will NEHGS published books be available at reduced rates in the Ancestry Store? And vice versa?

7. Will the NEHGS data be available on the Ancestry Library Edition database suite?

8. Will and/or NEHGS finally digitize the early Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine vital records taken from town records (these are available on FHL microfilms but are not digitized to my knowledge). The Massachusetts (1841-1910), Connecticut (pre-1870) and Rhode Island (1630-1930) VRs are available in digital format (either index or image).

Another inquiring mind wants to know why this announcement is not on the NEHGS web site, or on The Generations Network Press Room site, yet (as of 2:15 PM Pacific on 16 August). You would think that this important announcement would be posted quickly to the web sites of the principal players!

As with other collaboration announcements, we will have to see how quickly this occurs, and how much content from the two organizations is provided.

But I think this collaboration will be good for genealogy researchers.

Thanks to Leland Meitzler for the full announcement!

1 comment:

Janice said...

Wow!! This is really big news. Having both a full subscription to Ancestry, plus a membership in NEHGS I'll be curious as to how they overlap.