Branching Out: Share and Share Alike

By Diane Haddad Premium

The two main genealogical database companies serving libraries apparently called a truce and decided to split the family history market. <> and its former rival ProQuest <> have forged an alliance that lets maintain its steadfast grip on the individual-consumer market while ProQuest rules the library audience.

At the end of June, granted ProQuest exclusive rights to sell Ancestry Library Edition, a version of’s popular < > databases, to libraries for their patrons’ research. Ancestry Library Edition replaces AncestryPlus, which previously offered through educational-database giant Thomson Gale (a ProQuest competitor). AncestryPlus will be available to currently subscribing libraries until their subscriptions expire.

ProQuest now sells Ancestry Library Edition in addition to its own HeritageQuest Online database collection <>. Ancestry Library Edition will look familiar to AncestryPlus users (as the screen image above shows) but it’ll add some new content and drop other resources from its repertoire.

Ancestry Library Edition includes:
• US Data Collection of vital records, WWI draft registrations and the Social Security Death Index

• US Census Collection of census indexes (listing every name, rather than just the head of household) from 1790 to 1930, with links to images of the census records

• UK and Ireland Collection of census images and indexes, civil registration indexes from 1837 to the present, and parish and probate records from the 1500s through 1837

• A version of’s US Immigration Collection (which wasn’t a part of AncestryPlus) encompassing New York, San Francisco and various Atlantic-port passenger lists; the Wurttemburg Emigration Index (60,000 emigration applications from the 1700s through 1900); Baden and Brandenburg emigration records; the Great Migration Index (1,100 immigrations to New England between 1620 and 1633) and New York naturalization petitions

Ancestry Library Edition doesn’t include AncestryPlus’ City Directories of the United States (a Thomson Gale collection), Passenger and Immigration Lists Index or Biography and Genealogy Master Index.

ProQuest vice president of publishing Chris Cowan says Ancestry Library Edition also will have a better interface that’s “cleaner, more appealing and more intuitive for users,” as well as unlimited access by simultaneous users at a single library.

HeritageQuest Online offers US census head-of-household indexes with links to document images, the Periodical Source Index (PERSI) and the Genealogical and Local History Collection (GLHC) of more than 25,000 digitized books. (A prior agreement allows to sell GLHC to individual consumers through

Libraries can purchase remote Internet access to HeritageQuest Online, so patrons can use the databases on their home computers. Remote access to Ancestry Library Edition isn’t available. (If you don’t remember last year’s flak when Thomson Gale sold a Michigan library remote access to AncestryPlus and quickly yanked it.
From the December 2004 issue of Family Tree Magazine.