Thursday, December 30, 2010

Dear Randy: looks backward and forward

I received a Dear Randy email from Tim Sullivan of  Here's the content:

It really has been an exciting year for family history. Today, there are millions of people making more discoveries about their unique family stories than ever before. All of us at are so pleased that you're part of our community – the world's largest online family history resource – and we value your passion and dedication to family history.

In 2010, we added more than one billion records focused on helping you make more discoveries about your family history. We made it easier to find 20th century relatives with our popular 1950 Census Substitute. We added naturalization records from 14 states and military records spanning 150 years, from Revolutionary War pension and bounty-land  applications to World War II prisoner of war records. And we continued to enhance some favorite records, U.S. Censuses, with new search fields (1790-1840) and crisper images and better indexes (1920).

We also worked hard to make it easier to search for and find all the amazing content on, with a redesigned search home page and forms, fields and wildcards to make searches more efficient.

Looking forward, I'm just as excited about 2011. We have fantastic new content collections like the following in the works.

From the United States:
• More naturalization records, 1795-1900s
• Improved 1930 U.S. Census
• More New York, Boston and Philadelphia passenger lists, 1820-1920
• More high school and college yearbooks, late 1800s-1900s
• More passport applications, 1906-1925
• Navy muster rolls, 1939-1948
• Confederate pension applications, late 1800s-early 1900s
• Index to early Pennsylvania land warrants, 1733-1987

From outside the United States:
• UK: London wills, 1600s-1800s
• Ireland: Improved Griffith's Valuation, 1847-1864
• UK: Parish registers, including West Yorkshire and Dorset, 1700s-1900s
• Germany: Brandenburg church records, 1700-1874
• UK: 1911 Census for England, Wales, Isle of Man and Channel Islands
• Sweden: Parish birth records, 1860-1937
• Canada: Voter records, 1935-1983
• Italy: Palermo birth and marriage records, 1820-1905

I hope you find something surprising, inspiring or intriguing in the coming year in one of these new collections – or in the hundreds of thousands of photographs and documents our nearly 1.4 million subscribers are uploading and sharing every week.

I'll say again that all of us at are incredibly excited about the coming year. I hope that we can help you continue your family history journey. I wish you many happy discoveries in 2011.
Best wishes,

Tim Sullivan
Chief Executive Officer

You can watch a short video of Tim Sullivan here.

The "What's Ahead" page on has been updated.  This page has several more databases listed to be updated or added than the ones on the list above.

For the record, there are currently 30,004 databases listed on the Card Catalog.

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