Ancestry.com hosted a bunch of genealogy bloggers yesterday for a tour of its offices and top-secret data center, and a look at whats coming up on the site. Ill cover it in several posts over the next few days. First, a summary of the soon-to-come stuff:
- Some search engine tweaks should get you better search results that appear in more logical order. Right now, the search engine scores how well records match your search by awarding points for each term that matches. Soon, the search engine also will dock points from records with names or dates that dont closely match what you entered.
Another update will help keep records dated, say, 1930 out of your search for someone who died in 1900 (search engineers have had to find a way to do this without making your searches take forever).
- A wiki-like tool will make it easier for to add corrections to Ancestry.coms indexes. (Senior vice president Andrew Wait admits the current mechanism isnt the best.)
- Upcoming DNA test price cuts will include a $79 33-marker Y-DNA test (down from $149) and a $149 46-marker test (down from $199). The reason for the cuts? Ancestry.com wants to build its DNA test results database to make it useful for people searching it for genetic cousins. Currently it has more than 30,000 results; theyre shooting for 150,000.
The DNA area also will feature more educational tools, many developed with help from partner 23andMe.
- Content-wise, Ancestry.com is increasing efforts to digitize and index records in county and state archives, which means more scanning of paper documents rather than microfilm.
- Youll see new content including state censuses, a 1940 census substitute in the form of city directories from the era, state vital records, military records including Navy cruise books, naturalization documents from 1792 to 1989 (indexes just went live on the site; images are still to come), US Chinese immigration records, prison and criminal records, and more.
- More Civil War records will come out in conjunction with Abraham Lincolns 200th birthday; a Vermont and New York records release will coincide with those states 400th anniversaries.
- Look for more promotion of the World Archives Project, which vice president of content Gary Gibb says lets Ancestry.com save indexing costs and put more resources toward aquiring records.
- Wait also announced a goal to increase family history educationincluding how to use resources that arent on Ancestry.com.