Ancestry Society News

Welcome to the very first edition of Ancestry® Society News for May 2020. Ancestry® values the roles genealogy societies and organizations play in teaching, leading and helping you to find that next amazing discovery.  NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS Ancestry® Announces Virtual Memorial Day “Parade of Heroes” in Honor of 75th Anniversary of the End of World War II Many of us will honor our family and others who served in the military this Memorial day, but may be restricted under our current circumstances.   

To help Americans commemorate Memorial Day from home this year, Ancestry®, the leader in family history, announced today it will host the “Parade of Heroes,” a virtual event which will stream online Monday, May 25 at 11 AM EST (8 AM PST) on Ancestry’s Facebook Page via Watch Party. Emmy Award-winning television personality Kathie Lee Gifford will host the show, with a special guest performance by two-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer-songwriter Tori Kelly. Read more to see our strong roster of partners in our Virtual Memorial Day “Parade of Heroes” Press Release. To commemorate Memorial Day and the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II Watch the stream live via Watch Party at After live stream will be available at Streaming on Monday, May 25 at 11 AM EST (8 AM PST) Free Access More than 550 million military records on Fold3®, covering military conflicts as early as the Revolutionary War, open May 21-25 Nearly 500 million records and images from the National Archives and Records Administration available on Ancestry, including all 36 million of the nation’s available World War II young man’s draft cards, open now through June 1 Ancestry® COVID-19 Study Needs Your Help You may have seen the recent Ancestry® announcement on our COVID-19 study.  It’s an exceptional time and we want to do our part to contribute to the scientists and healthcare professionals worldwide who are working around the clock to understand and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a genetic connection between how different people respond to COVID-19. Our hope is that, through this knowledge, the pace of research into new preventive and therapeutic treatments for COVID-19 can be accelerated.

You can help by sharing this effort with your audience.  Learn more about our COVID-19 study.  Ancestry® is making research data from the study available at no cost to qualified parties This opt-in only study will provide data after it is stripped of personally identifiable information To qualify, you need to be 18 or over, be a resident of the United States, an existing AncestryDNA customer, consent to participate in research, be able to complete a short survey NGS 2020 Live! As a long-term partner of the National Genealogical Society (NGS) and a sponsor of the annual NGS Family History Conference, we will be participating in the now all-virtual event, starting with NGS 2020 Live! on May 20, 2020, and continuing with on-demand lectures available starting July 1, 2020.  Read more on our blog THE RECORDS BEAT 24 BILLION records available on Ancestry – twice as many as any other online genealogy company in the world! Ancestry added over 50 million new records to the world’s largest digital archive of searchable online obituaries and death announcements. Obituary Index, 1800s-current   – About 50 million new records
– Now surpassing 300 million for the world’s largest digital archive of searchable online obituaries and death announcements
– Over 800 million names Obituary Index, 1800s-current

The database consists of facts extracted from obituaries found on™ dating from the early 1800’s to current. The Ancestry® U.S. Obituary Collection contains recent obituaries from 1930 to the present day. With new records added every day, Ancestry® regularly extracts key details from digital obituaries, including the name of the deceased, important dates, and location information into a searchable database to help members discover them. 

Other obituary resources:
U.S., Obituary Collection, 1930-Current
– Obituary how-tos and details you can use to teach or share with your audience Free Collections On Ancestry®
NARA Records available now for free
Learn more about our free NARA, currently available when you sign up for free account.  Learn more from our blog post.

U.S. National Archives and Records Administration 
– Nearly 500 million records
– Naturalization Records, Passenger and Crew Lists, Military Records

Ancestry® has partnered with America’s record keeper, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), to preserve important documents and help people discover more of their family stories. Since 1998, Ancestry® has digitized and indexed millions of NARA records to create the largest collection of NARA records online.

Free Collections On Ancestry 
– Free Index Collections
– Over 1000 free collections available such as the 1940 United States Federal Census
Recent Collections on Ancestry® Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947″ 1.7 million new records coming in May   Today is VE Day, we have additional records available this month to discover your WWII family story. We’re adding 1.7 million records covering records gathered from the French Allied Zone and areas outside of modern Germany.   This collection consists of foreigners and German persecutees in Germany between 1939-1947 who were persecuted by public institutions, social securities and companies. The records may also include information on those who died, including burial information. The documents were assembled according to the Zones of Occupation – American, British, French and Soviet – by the Allied forces within Germany. Areas outside Germany were also recorded. New Collections in April Alabama, Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, Church Records, 1837-1970 Washington, Various County Census Records, 1850-1914 Minnesota, Marriages from the Minnesota Official Marriage System, 1850-2019 St. Louis County, Minnesota Birth Index, 1870-1900 St. Louis County, Minnesota, Death Index, 1870-1899 Minnesota, St. Louis County Marriage Index, 1871-1894 Global Obituary UpdatesNew York State, Extradition Requisition and Mandate Registers, 1857-1938 U.S., Pennsylvania, Grand Army of the Republic Membership Records, 1865-1936 Latvia Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1854-1909 ANZAC Memorial, 1914-1918 Australia WWII AIF Service Records, 1939-1947

Updated Collections in April Texas, Select County Marriage Records, 1837-2015 Tennessee, Death Records, 1908-1965 North Dakota, Marriage Records, 1872-2017 Global FindAGrave Updates New York, Discharges of Convicts, 1882-1915 New York, Executive Orders for Commutations, Pardons, Restorations, Clemency and Respites, 1845-1931 New York, Grand Army of the Republic Records, 1866-1931 California, Voter Registers, 1866-1898 England & Scotland, Select Cemetery Registers, 1800-2016 Liverpool, England, Catholic Baptisms, 1741-1916 Liverpool, England, Catholic Marriages, 1754-1932 Liverpool, England, Catholic Burials, 1813-1985 Liverpool, England, Catholic Confirmations, 1813-1922 Liverpool, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1917 Liverpool, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1932 Liverpool, England, Church of England Burials, 1813-1975 UK, WWI Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 ANCESTRY® FEATURE FLASH Innovating for new and experienced user alike, so you can make more personal discoveries, faster   – New Message Center – Full rollout continues, but most users have the new experience.   Download folders in the New Message Center until Aug 31 Existing international users will see the new experience soon New Message Center details   75 new communities [Available now] 5 new communities, including 25 new Mexican communities, 20 South American, 10 Central American, 12 Caribbean, 7 Southern European and 1 African.

DNA Match to Tree[Available Now].  Link your DNA matches to the people on your Ancestry tree.   
  OUR EXTENDED FAMILY Introducing Civil War Stories Beta!   – First of its kind searchable database of Civil War soldiers, regiments and battles
– Leverages Ancestry®, Fold3®,™, Find a Grave® and other sources with trusted experts from American Battlefield Trust
– Starting today, you can head to our Civil War Stories page and learn details about some of the major Civil War battles, including what regiments fought in each battle The proportion of deaths to the population was greater than any other conflict in American history. Nearly 3% of the population died – roughly comparable to 6-10 million Americans today. Civil Stories is an ambitious project that ultimately hopes to create a comprehensive list of every soldier that fought in the Civil War, the company and regiment he belonged to, the battles he fought in, and finally what happened to each soldier following the war.  

Gathering data from Ancestry®, Fold3®,™, Find a Grave®, and other sources, we teamed up with the American Battlefield Trust and their Civil War experts to integrate their amazing collections of stories, videos, and photographs into our new experience. Stitching all of these collections together, we have created the first of its kind searchable database of Civil War soldiers, regiments and battles. Read more on our Fold3 blog. War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files
The documents in this collection include full pension application files for soldiers and sailors who served in the War of 1812, as well as for their widows and children, or other heirs. The first applications were filed by servicemen who were disabled as a result of their service, or by widows who lost a husband in the war. Recent Updates National WWI Museum Panoramic Unit Photographs UK, Militia Attestation Papers 1806-1915 UK, Records of Officers’ Services 1846-1875 UK, WWII Royal Artillery Tracer Cards, 1939-1948 War of 1812 Pension and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files
Ancestry® Education   See recorded events with Crista Cowan, Ancestry Corporate Genealogist and Anne Mitchell, Ancestry Product Manager, teach, share and answer questions on some of our recent Facebook Live events!  Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to catch us live. The Strong Women in Our Families A Case Study on the Great Depression Q&A Roundup with Crista Cowan 1940 Census Live Learning Session Ancestry K12 Lesson Plans Ancestry® Tips and Tricks
Ancestry® Programming “Roots Less Traveled”, an exciting new television series co-produced by Ancestry®!
If you haven’t already tuned in, coome watch Roots Less Traveled on NBC Saturday mornings.  Streaming available on and Hulu. The series features relatives as they set out on an adventure to solve mysteries in their family tree. From rumors of ancestors aboard the Titanic to stories of homesteaders forging a new path for future generations, the duos discover the truth behind the tales that have been passed down for generations, revealing the inspiring lives their ancestors led. In partnership with Ancestry®, they learn how their past has shaped their present and through this shared journey how family bonds are deepened.

Read more in our blog post.

Ancestry Day — Quite a Day

Over 700 enthusiastic genealogists and family history buffs, new and experienced, packed into the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center recently for Ancestry Day.

People lined up to talk to Crista Cowan -- we couldn't get enough of her!

People lined up to talk to Crista Cowan at Ancestry Day — we couldn’t get enough of her!

Many of us had attended the previous day’s lectures at the Washington State History Museum (see my 9/24/16 blog post), but Saturday, Sept. 25, was the “main event,” sponsored by genealogy records giant  After an opening welcome by Secretary of State Kim Wyman and presentation of the colors by the Washington State Color Guard, Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), we launched into “Ancestry 101, a Beginner’s Basics Class” with Crista Cowan, the Barefoot Genealogist. (I’m always amazed at how much new info I can learn in a “beginners” class!) Crista has been employed by Ancestry since 2004, and really knows her stuff. (Check out her YouTube Channel for a plethora of genealogy videos.) Her witty stories and valuable lessons entertained us all day.

After the beginner’s class, Crista guided us through the benefits (and cautions) about shaky leaf hints (that don’t shake anymore), family trees, suggested records and the card catalog (her personal favorite resource). My only wish during the info-packed hour was that there was a handout — nearly got writer’s cramp taking notes as fast as I could!

Continue reading

Ancestry Day’s Special Friday Event

We were welcomed as we entered the museum

We were welcomed as we entered the museum

In a sold-out precursor of Ancestry Day, the crowd was treated to a half-day of presentations on topics from State Archive and State Library resources to identifying old photos. Besides getting a great opportunity to browse the exhibits at the Washington State History Museum, we heard presentations by:

A sold-out crowd at the Friday presentations

  • Tracy Rebstock, Southwest Regional Archivist at the State Archives, enlighten us with the “unique” records available online and on-site at the Archives. From old high school yearbooks to logging and cattle brands. Who knew Tracy had such a fascination with criminal records — and passed that on to us!
  • Mary Kathryn Kozy, professional genealogist extraordinaire, is always a delight — and she didn’t disappoint. Her talk about tracing people through time and space using timelines was excellent and enlightening.

    Mary Kathryn Kozy talking about timelines

    Mary Kathryn Kozy talking about timelines

  • Lynette Miller and Ed Nolan from the Washington State Historical Society shared the resources and original records available among their collections — all focusing on Washington State — from businesses, personal papers, organizations and more. A particular source of pride is the collection of Northern Pacific Beneficial Hospital records.
  • Karen Wallace Steely, professional genealogist with The Past Matters, provided an enlightening talk about finding stories in family photographs. Her  knowledge opened our eyes in identifying old photos.
  • Kathryn Devine from the Washington State Library shared numerous newspaper indices, online resources and on-site opportunities to find that unique story about our ancestors. Did you know the State Library has 40,000 reels of newspapers?

What a day! And there’s more! Tomorrow (Saturday, 24 Sep) will feature the “main event” — Ancestry Day, sponsored by Ancestry. If you’re reading this blog post before 8:00 a.m. Saturday  morning, get yourself to the Greater Tacoma Convention Center and register at the door for a plethora of classes, door prizes, networking, vendors and more! Only $35 — a real bargain!

Online Pre-registration for Ancestry Day Ends Friday

Online pre-registration for this weekend’s “Ancestry Day” closes at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 23. The event is Saturday, Sept. 24 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center in Tacoma. If you can’t pre-register online, you can still attend by purchasing a ticket at the door on Saturday. Events for Friday are sold out.

Both novice and experienced genealogists are welcome at this event which is sponsored by Ancestry, Washington State Archives, Washington State Library, Legacy Washington, the Washington State Historical Society, Washington State Historical Records Advisory Board and National Historic Publications & Records Commission. Crista Cowan, better known as The Barefoot Genealogist, and Anna Swayne will be the presenters on Saturday.

More Details about Ancestry Day Sept 23-24


$15 – $35
Ancestry Day in Washington State
By: Ancestry, Office of the Secretary of State: Washington State Archives, Washington State Library, Legacy Washington, and the Washington State Historical Society.
Join Ancestry, Washington State Archives, Washington State Library, Legacy Washington and the Washington State Historical Society as they present Ancestry Day in Washington State, Sept. 23-24.

Both novice and experienced genealogists are welcome at this event.  Registration for the Ancestry Day on Saturday, Sept. 24 is $35 and includes admission to all Saturday classes presented by Ancestry.  Lunch tickets can be purchased for an additional $15, which includes a box lunch and the lunch speaker.

Special presentations will be offered by the Washington State Historical Society and the Washington State History Museum on Friday, Sept. 23, for $15.  These are limited to the first 225 participants who register for Saturday.

Registration for Ancestry Day Open Now

Ancestry Day Conference — Sept. 23 & 24, 2016, Tacoma

Join experts from Ancestry, Washington State Archives, Washington State Library, Legacy Washington, and the Washington State Historical Society for this great event. Registration for Ancestry Day presentations on Saturday is $35. Registration for Friday’s presentations is $15.

Saturday, Sept. 24, will feature a full day of classes, including:

• Ancestry101: New & Review
• Getting the Most from
• Using AncestryDNA to Further Your Family History Research
• Ancestry FAQs
• Sharing Your Family Story

Friday, Sept. 23, will feature several presentations from area experts, including:

• Tracy Rebstock, Washington State Archives
• Mary Kathryn Kozy, Professional Genealogist
• Lynette Miller, Head of Collections at the Research Center of the Washington State Historical Society
• Karen Wallace Steely, Professional Genealogist
• Kathryn Devine, Washington State Library

For more information, schedule and registration, click HERE.

More Details About Ancestry Day — Sept. 23 & 24

The Office of the Secretary of State and the Washington State Historical Society are partnering with Ancestry to bring a very special genealogical event to the Pacific Northwest.

Ancestry Day in Washington will be held in Tacoma on Saturday, September 24, and is expected to attract more than 1,000 family historians. Whether you are a new subscriber to Ancestry, an experienced genealogist, or just interested in finding out what genealogy is all about, this is the event for you!

Activities on September 23 will be held at the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma and will include access to the museum and special presentations on outstanding genealogical resources in Washington.

On Saturday, September 24, Ancestry will take center stage at the Greater Tacoma Convention & Trade Center. They will be bringing their expertise, engaging speakers, door prizes, and Ancestry DNA kits to purchase.

There also will be vendors from around the state sharing their products and ideas.

Keep an eye out for upcoming registration information about this can’t-miss event.