Ancestry.com Expands Database A Lot
“The year was 1850. Gold was discovered in California. The Scarlet Letter’ was published. Where were your ancestors?” That’s the advertising line attached to Ancestry.com’s latest update: complete census records from 1790 to 1930.
As reported by Paul Foy of the Associated Press, this addition brought the total of searchable names in the Ancestry.com database to 5 million; the company is promoting it as “the most comprehensive genealogical database ever compiled.”
It took roughly 6.6 million hours of labor to read, index, catalog, and scan the census forms. 540 million names were added to the database, which has now reached 600 terabytes of data in size. The company was limited to older census data by government policy – it only releases census information 72 years after the poll is taken.
Ruth Carr, the department chief of local history and genealogy at the New York Public Library, was impressed by the scope of the project, which involved “thousands of reels of microfilm.” She also described the result. “With the digitization of the census, it is now possible for someone to type a name in the search box, and within seconds view the image of the actual census page.”
Tim Sullivan, chief executive of Ancestry.com, implied the company is only beginning to build its database. “We are just beginning to scratch the surface in terms of the amount of content we can offer and the millions of people all over the globe we can connect,” he said.
Ancestry.com currently has about 725,000 subscribers. If you’re interested in genealogy, there’s never been a better time to check out the site.