7 Day Family Tree Genealogy & Ancestry Research
Finally! Here’s how to quickly and easily uncover the forgotten pieces of family history you probably thought had been lost forever…even if you haven’t stepped foot in a library since high school and don’t know the first thing about researching online.
7 Day Family Tree Genealogy & Ancestry Research

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Web site includes census records

Ancestry.com, based in Provo, was expected to announce Thursday that it copied complete U.S. Census records from 1790 to 1930 - an effort that took workers a combined 6.6 million hours of labor.
The U.S. government waits 72 years before releasing original census documents containing such personal information as an individual's occupation - actor Tom Hanks' grandfather, Clarence Frager, made a living as a rodent inspector, a 1930 census record reveals.
Workers for Ancestry.com spent so much time compiling these records because they had to decipher the handwriting on millions of census forms. They had to index and catalog every name, and scan images of the census documents, which were to be on the Web site starting Thursday.
In all, workers made 22 billion keystrokes to organize all the information, the company said.
Ancestry.com, which claims more than 725,000 paid subscribers, says it now has the only online repository with the complete historic U.S. Census records that are searchable.
To do it, the company had to make a "vast investment in technology, people, research and tools," Tim Sullivan, Ancestry.com's chief executive, said in a statement.
"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.
The company planned a media tour of its operations Thursday, where it keeps dusty paper records and a data center with 3,000 computer servers.
The latest project added 540 million names, increasing the company's genealogical database to 600 terabytes of data. A terabyte equals a thousand billion bytes.
It includes 13 million original census images scanned and transcribed from 15,000 rolls of microfilm.
The information details more than just names or population numbers. It includes people's moves across the country, their race, marital status, assets, residence, schooling and other personal information.
It was a big accomplishment to put 140 years of full census documents into a single computer database, said Ruth Carr, department chief of local history and genealogy at New York Public Library.
Until now, "researchers had to work with thousands of reels of microfilm in order to find a specific person or family they wanted to learn about," Carr said. "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."
The historical records revealed some quirks. For instance, Abraham Lincoln's wife, Mary, reported growing only seven years older between the 1850 and the 1860 census.
In 1930, Harry Truman was living at his mother-in-law's house, just 15 years before he became president.
Ancestry.com is part of a network of Web sites owned by MyFamily.com Inc. It charges annual fees of $155.40 for U.S. records and $347.40 for world records. Monthly fees start at $29.95.


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