Friday, September 18, 2015

Where Did 567 Databases on Go?

Devoted GeneaMusings readers know that every Sunday night I post a list of new or updated databases found on for the previous week.  An example is Added or Updated Databases at - Week of September 6-12, 2015 posted on 13 September 2015.

In these posts, I provide a current total number of databases available on  for last Sunday, the number was 32,782 databases.  This number goes up almost every week as adds new databases - they added 13 new databases for the week last noted.

 I was preparing my post for next Sunday, and here is the Card Catalog list of databases as of today:

The screen above says that now there are 32,222 databases on

That's 560 databases fewer than last week, even though they added an additional 7 databases per the Recently Added Collections page since 13 September.

So are there now 567 databases fewer than last week?  If so, what happened?  Did a licensing agreement with a record provider end?  Which databases were eliminated? 

Or is it just a counting mistake?  Did someone's computer have a glitch?  

 This sounds like a big deal to me.  Were 567 databases removed from or not?  If so, I think we should have a list and an understanding of the reasons.  

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2015, Randall J. Seaver

Please comment on this post on the website by clicking the URL above and then the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post.  Or contact me by email at


Unknown said...

They might have been merged with a duplicate or 'like' database.

KevinW said...

This is disturbing.

Geolover said...

They have removed databases before, such as F. B. Heitman's register of Continental officers of the Revolutionary War, and Arthur C. M. Kelly's published transcripts of some NY church records. But not so many at once that I am aware of.

Kristi Hancock said...

I've been looking for the Kentucky Miracode index to no avail!!!

PhairMason said...

It might be a situation where the record owners gave permission to Ancestry to have the records available for a contracted timeframe. Once that timeframe expires, Ancestry would have to remove the records. The same sort of thing happens when Ancestry used to have a digital image of a record but now only has the index.

Tony Proctor said...

Good observation Randy! My first thought was that some had been merged, but 567 is a huge number so I don't believe that. Have you asked Ancestry?

Seeds to Tree said...

My guess is the permission has run out, and with all of the new fabulous records, probate and social security, ancestry thought it would not be noticed. Actually ancestry (or any other site) should use the end of a set of records to their advantage. If it is permissible by the original owners, ancestry should announce like 30 to 60 days in advance that these are the last # of days to see these records. It would be like a sale at Macys. People would be more likely to go to ancestry and look at the records if they know they are disappearing. Just a thought, ancestry!

Bob Bryan said...

Family trees are counted as databases. Some of those may have been removed by the ownere.

Grace L. Ferguson said...

Curiously, I've been trying to find out what happened to 500+ HINTS I had one day and disappeared the next day around the same time as these disappearing databases.

Michigan Girl said...

Very interesting observation Randy. 567 is no small number. Seems to me that it would be a large number for permissions to have run out. I don't think all is well in Ancestry's world right now. I know you will keep an eye on this for us and I await next week's results. Meanwhile I'll share this with my Google followers, although I suspect they all read your blog as well as mine. LOL!

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

567 is significant. If permissions ran out, or for whatever reason they were removed, there should be an announcement for users. A bit of forward notice would have been nice, too. If researchers depend on those data sets they would have time to make arrangements to find another provider or to find out an alternative. Just common courtesy.

Marie Cooke Beckman said...

Could it have something to do with Databases at New Ancestry as opposed to Databases at Old Ancestry? I have stayed on the Old side because the new side is too busy for my eyes. I do have to switch to the New side to view the probate records but I switch back after I'm done. They do remind me that soon the new will be the only

Kristie Wells said...

I wanted to state it would not be in the best interest of Ancestry to remove collections that provided a good user experience or aren’t available elsewhere. As noted earlier, a good portion of the collections were duplicates of other collections we have available in improved formats and others are still being considered for re-keying.

Among the collections that were removed, were some text-only city directory indexes that were deleted as we now have indexes and browsable images of those very same directories. Many other collections were text-only local histories and other books that are now duplicated with images of the actual publication and an improved browse.

For example, the United Empire Loyalists series was text-only and difficult to navigate. We now have the volumes posted with browsable chapters and an index like this one:

Other examples include reference books like “The Source,” “Red Book,” and Juliana Szucs' “Family Historian’s Address Book.” The first two are now available free on the Ancestry Wiki: and Juliana's “Address Book” was last published in 2003 and most of the links in it and many of the addresses are out of date. There are much better ways to find a society or library now.

After nearly 20 years of publishing data and reference materials, it is important for us to audit our content to ensure it works with current technology and that customers are getting the best version of the data and reference information that they can incorporate into their family history.

This is as much as I can say on the matter, but I hope most will see this was required maintenance to ensure the data we provide is reliable and actionable.