Genealogy subscription site Archives.com will add indexes and images for the entire US federal census, probably the most-used US genealogical record, in what Archives.com CEO Matthew Monahan calls a “game-changer” for genealogists.
As part of the effort, Archives.com reached an agreement with FamilySearch—the source of the census records—to dedicate a minimum of $5 million to digitizing genealogy records that are not currently online.
The indexes for all censuses are available now, as are images for the 1850, 1870 and 1900 censuses, for a total of more than 500 million names and 3 million images. The rest of the images will be added over the next weeks and months, says spokesperson Julie Hill. Learn more about the site’s census collection on its census resource page.
The census search screen looks like this:
You can see it’s more streamlined with fewer options than Ancestry.com’s census search. You’ll also receive fewer results—a search of all census years for the last name Haddad (not exact) living anywhere in the United States, born in Ohio between 1907 and 1911, netted me 30 matches on Archives.com and 63 on Ancestry.com. This might be good or bad for your research—it can be overwhelming to search through a flood of matches, but you also might lose some searching flexibility.
Here’s a page of Archives.com search results:
When you click on a match, you first see this page displaying all the indexed fields:
Archives also is introducing a new, Flash-based image viewer that lets users zoom in, adjust contrast, invert colors and more (a basic image viewer will be an option for computers without Flash):
We’re thinking this is what Archives.com product director Joe Godfrey was referring to in May, when he opened the National Genealogical Society conference by announcing the site would “embark on an ambitious content acquisition and digitization plan, focusing in part on the digitization of material not yet online.”
Anne Roach, who chaired FamilySearch’s 2011 RootsTech conference, joined Archives to lead the project.
The addition of the census will bring Archives.com, which launched in July 2009, into more-direct competition with industry leader Ancestry.com. Until Archives.com adds the rest of the census images, Ancestry.com is the only site providing access to all extant US census records and document images.
Archives.com will keep its subscription price at $39.95 “for the time being,” says Hill. “That’s one-eighth the price of an Ancestry.com World membership. If you compare the subscriptions on a line-by-line basis, its remarkable how many high-value collections are available for one-eighth the price.”