Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Old" US Public Records Index gone from

It looks like has taken the United States Public Records Index database down from their collection. They said one week ago that they would do this in an blog post:

"... we will launch in the next week (or two) the first ever collection of U.S. Public Records (USPRI) database with more than 525 million names, addresses, ages, and possible family relationships of people who lived in the United States between roughly 1950 and 1990. This will be an invaluable tool in piecing together family stories and histories. This new addition will replace the current USPRI database on Ancestry which is mainly profiles of living people. This database is built from a variety of city directories and other public records."

The previous U.S. Public Records Index was for the time period of about 2000 to the present, although the user could never tell what years were included for a specific locality or a specific person. This database was one of the best ones for finding records of living people in my genealogy research when I was looking for my own relatives, or relatives of those researched in the Unclaimed Persons group on Facebook. I do wish that had just "frozen" the previous U.S. Public Records Index and kept it in place as a historical record rather than remove it entirely from their collection.

There are other "people-finder" resources, however, including the which says they will provide links to at some point in time.

The question I have is whether the database will be as efficient in searching for living people as the U.S. Public Records Index was. In my limited experience with the free side of, I don't think it will come close to providing the same level of information. I will do a comparison later this week of the two systems.

When will the new set of over 525 million names from the "new" U.S. Public Records Index for roughly the 1950 to 1990 time frame become available? Soon, I hope (the note above said one to two weeks). In fact, Gary Gibb wrote on the blog today (see Comment #75):

"I just talked to the development team and they are in the process of replacing the recent USPRI collection with the historic USPRI collection. It will take a few hours because the new data collection is so large. The replacement actually takes several hours to process. You should be able to test the new database by late tonight (US time)."

These records may help many researchers find their close or distant relatives as they moved from place to place in the more mobile society after World War II, as people went through family upheavals caused by divorce and remarriage, and possible DNA test candidates in our distant cousins.

I look forward to browsing through the new set of records, which will add more records for the last half of the 20th century than we presently have online (I'm thinking only SSDI, some obituaries, some vital record indexes, and some public record indexes are available now).

1 comment:

The Girls said...

When the "old" US Public Records Index was eliminated so was the ability to see all members of the household. This was an inmeasurable value for my research and I am very upset that it is gone.