The following is an interesting and useful press release I received from Ancestry.com:
“Families Can Connect to the Bay State’s Historical Past Through Centuries of Birth, Marriage and Death Records Which Are Now Available Online For the First Time
PROVO, UT, March 20, 2012 — Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced that it has added nearly nine million Massachusetts birth, marriage and death records detailing over 330 years of Massachusetts residents to its website. Acquired from the husband and wife research team of Jay and DeLene Holbrook, the records represent the most complete collection of Massachusetts vital records known to exist. Now available exclusively online at Ancestry.com, the collection includes original records for 315 of the state’s 351 towns from 1620 through 1988. The collection contains important details on Bay Staters through periods significant not just to the history of Commonwealth, but to the entire nation—including the first Pilgrim Thanksgiving in Plymouth and the first battles of the American Revolution in Lexington and Concord.
Ancestry.com partnered with Jay and DeLene Holbrook, who spent more than three decades assembling this collection, to make these records available online for the first time. After searching for the town records of their relatives from Dorchester, Massachusetts, who lived in the 1800s, the Holbrooks (from Oxford, Massachusetts) realized that the majority of towns in the state had little to no knowledge of the condition or even the location of their vital records collections.
To catalog and preserve the state’s rich history, the Holbrooks traveled town by town throughout Massachusetts over their 30-year effort to meticulously compile a complete collection of vital records. They often found themselves in town vaults organizing and inventorying untidy stacks of records, sometimes making copies of them on-site when the town clerk would not allow the records to be removed from the building. In some instances, it took years of return trips to get permission to access the records, and in the case of the state’s largest cities, weeks and months to duplicate the records.
After finding poorly maintained books of vital records in various locations throughout Boston City Hall, the Holbrooks took it upon themselves to singlehandedly film and organize the hundreds of volumes for the city. The Boston project alone took nearly a full year to complete. Recognizing the unique historical significance of these records, notable institutions including the Boston Public Library, Daughters of the American Revolution, Harvard University, the State Library of California and Yale University have secured microfiche copies. Ancestry.com is the only resource to make the complete collection available online.
The collection includes original images of Massachusetts town records with details such as names, birth dates, birthplaces, baptism records, parents’ names, marriage records, courthouse records, and death records. Distinguished Bay Staters whose records can be found in this collection include:
John Adams (1735-1825)—One of the Founding Fathers and second President of the United States lived in what is now Quincy, Massachusetts. Adams’ Intention of Marriage Record to Abigail Smith from 1764, as well as his death record can be found in the collection.
Ben Franklin (1706-1790)—A Founding Father and scientist known for his theories on electricity, as well as the creation of the lightning rod, bifocals and other inventions. Franklin’s birth and death records are among the records available.
Paul Revere (1735-1818)—This Boston native and patriot of the American Revolution was made famous for alerting Colonial militia of approaching British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord. Marriage, death and burial records for Revere can be found in this database.
“Massachusetts is one of the nation’s most historic states and the Holbrook Collection is an important addition to our records from Massachusetts history,” said Todd Godfrey, Senior Director of Content Acquisition, Ancestry.com. “Vital records are a fundamental component of our genealogical collection and essential tools for those researching their family history because they are a documentation of family relationships and major life events.”
This new vital record database is available to current Ancestry.com subscribers, and Ancestry.com is free of charge for 14 days to all new users.
About Ancestry.com –
Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq:ACOM) is the world’s largest online family history resource, with more than 1.7 million paying subscribers. More than 8 billion records have been added to the site in the past 15 years. Ancestry users have created more than 33 million family trees containing approximately 4 billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site, Ancestry.com offers several localized Web sites designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.
Forward Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include our ability to acquire, digitize and make desired content conveniently available to our subscribers. Information concerning additional factors that could cause events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements is contained under the caption “Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011, and in discussions in other of our Securites and Exchange Commission filings. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date and we assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements.“