Today at the 10th anniversary of RootsTech, the largest family history technology conference, Ancestry® announced the release of game-changing content collections and innovative tools to help answer more questions about your family’s past.
For more than 30 years, Ancestry has continued its unwavering commitment to family history. We pride ourselves on being a human-centered company with an inspiring mission–to empower journeys of personal discoveries to enrich lives. Our thriving community, family history features, search capabilities, industry-leading record collections and cutting-edge DNA science continue to make Ancestry the best place for personal discovery. We are proud of what we have accomplished together as a community.
Over the past year, we’ve also spent hundreds of hours talking to Family History experts, enthusiasts and those just starting their own journey of discovery. We learned a lot, and consequently, every single improvement we have made has been in service of our members.
At RootsTech last year, we announced innovative tools including ThruLines™, which draws on the world’s largest DNA network with 16 million people and the world’s richest family tree network, to show common ancestors who likely connect you to your DNA Matches. This tool was designed to deliver a unique solution for fueling new discoveries, in a way that only Ancestry is capable of providing. Since then, we’ve heard stories from many of you who have smashed through brick walls or connected with separated family members as a result.
In our conversations with you, we also learned our members don’t fully utilize the breadth and depth of our features and tools–and you had specific feedback on how to make our offerings better. So we did by:
- continuously fine-tuning our algorithms to provide more accurate ThruLines™ recommendations
- developing better tools to evaluate ThruLines™ recommendations
- creating a new message center for easier Ancestry member communication
- improving our mobile search capabilities to search records on-the-go
- enhancing DNA match tools to better organize, find and connect with your DNA matches
- improving hinting system to ensure relevancy
- optimizing search capabilities to deliver more relevant results, faster
In 2019, you also asked for more records and to get even more out of our existing collections, and we delivered:
- 24 Billion Milestone: Since this time last year, we added 1.8 billion new historical records to Ancestry. Combining records from our archive partners and family tree records from the community, there are now over 24 billion global records available on Ancestry.
- Commitment to Innovation: We invested in cutting edge AI technology to bring you more records faster and unlock new categories of discoveries. This technology enabled us to index large complex record collections at scale, allowing us to unveil the world’s largest, searchable digital archive of obituaries and death announcements, as well as the largest searchable collection of yearbooks available online.
2019 was a standout year of adding new records, and we are aiming high for 2020, increasing our investment to over $20M. This year, we’re excited to share even more significant content collections that add to our unmatched record collection:
- WWII Draft Cards: Today, we are excited to announce the completion of a multi-year project with the US National Archives & Records Administration to digitize all 36 million of the nation’s available WWII young men’s draft cards. A single card can be a very helpful starting point for new users beginning to build a family tree and can lead to more impactful discoveries due to the rich and unique details they often include, such as physical description, eye color, employer, next of kin, and even why someone was exempt from the draft.
- New US and International Records: Additionally, coming in 2020, Ancestry will be releasing New York City Certificate Indexes for Birth, Marriage, and Death records (over 14 million records from 1862-1949). There are also nine state-wide digitization projects and we are unveiling new Naturalization records from six US states. On an international level, this year over 100 million new records will be added from national collections in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Mexico, and Norway, including more than six million Mexico Catholic records and over 50 million France Census and Birth, Marriage and Death records.
Along with continuing to provide sought-after content for passionate researchers who share our endless curiosity, Ancestry wants to continue welcoming the next generation of family history enthusiasts. We will continue to work to empower new members to make more meaningful discoveries and build more accurate family trees, which in turn also helps generate more accurate hints and new connections for the broader community overall.
Ancestry will continue to innovate and invest, providing more sources of content like yearbooks and obituaries, improving our discovery tools such as ThruLines™, and deepening our DNA solutions with more granular insights on ethnicity, communities, and inherited traits.
With all that’s new from Ancestry and even more to come, there’s no better time to discover what makes your family story unique.