Ancestry.com and FamilySearch have announced a new long-term strategic agreement that’ll bring you a billion international genealogical records.
According to the announcement, “The two services will work together with the archive community over the next five years to digitize, index and publish these records from the FamilySearch vault. … Ancestry.com expects to invest more than $60 million over the next five years in the project alongside thousands of hours of volunteer efforts facilitated by FamilySearch.”
(FamilySearch’s Granite Mountain Records Vault is the storage facility for master copies of records the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has microfilmed over the years.)
It sounds like Ancestry.com will put up the necessary funds, and FamilySearch will provide volunteers for digitizing and/or indexing. It makes sense to me: As Ancestry.com tries to expand its global reach, it can utilize the record-duplication work that’s already been done. And FamilySearch can speed up its project to digitize its 2.4 million rolls of microfilm.
The announcement was short on details such what record collections would be digitized first or how and where the records and indexes would be accessible.
Past Ancestry.com/FamilySearch partnerships have resulted in varying arrangements. For example, in 2003 the organizations integrated FamilySearch’s free 1880 census index with record images at Ancestry.com. Today, you can search free indexes at FamilySearch.org and Ancestry.com. FamilySearch’s results link to record images at Ancestry.com (the 1880 census images are currently free on Ancestry.com, which as far as I can tell wasn’t part of the original agreement).
A 2008 agreement to exchange FamilySearch’s high-quality images for select US censuses and Ancestry.com’s indexes for those censuses resulted in free indexes on FamilySearch.org, which link to record images on Ancestry.com. The images are viewable to Ancestry.com subscribers and on FamilySearch Center computers.
Read the full announcement about this new agreement on Ancestry.com. We’ll keep you updated on related developments.
Update: Here’s an announcement from FamilySearch about the partnership with Ancestry.com. It links to a Q&A that addresses such issues as “what’s in it for FamilySearch volunteers” and “will there be a fee to see indexed records.”