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Ancestry.com puts 90M war records online --Free until June 6th

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    Subject: War Records Online - Free until 6 Jun Ancestry.com puts 90M war records online By DONNA BORAK, AP Business Writer1 hour, 16 minutes ago For every
    Message 1 of 1 , May 25, 2007
      Subject: War Records Online - Free until 6 Jun

      Ancestry.com puts 90M war records online
      By DONNA BORAK, AP Business Writer1 hour, 16 minutes
      For every generation in this country there has been a
      war. And with wars come millions of records that can
      shed light on family history, detailing everything
      from the color of soldiers' eyes to what their
      neighbors may have said about them.
      On Thursday, Ancestry.com unveils more than 90 million
      U.S. war records from the first English settlement at
      Jamestown in 1607 through the Vietnam War's end in
      1975. The site also has the names of 3.5 million U.S.
      soldiers killed in action, including 2,000 who died in
      "The history of our families is intertwined with the
      history of our country," Tim Sullivan, chief executive
      of Ancestry.com, said in a telephone interview.
      "Almost every family has a family member or a loved
      one that has served their country in the military."
      The records, which can be accessed free until the
      anniversary of D-Day on June 6, came from the National
      Archives and Records Administration and include 37
      million images, draft registration cards from both
      world wars, military yearbooks, prisoner-of-war
      records from four wars, unit rosters from the Marine
      Corps from 1893 through 1958, and Civil War pension
      records, among others.
      The popularity of genealogy in the U.S. has increased
      steadily alongside the Internet's growth. Specialized
      search engines on sites like Ancestry.com,
      Genealogy.com and FamilySearch.com, along with general
      search portals like Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq:YHOO - news)
      and Google Inc., have helped fuel interest.
      "The Internet has created this massive democratization
      in the whole family history world," said Megan
      Smolenyak, chief family historian for Ancestry.com.
      "It's like a global game of tag."
      Ancestry.com, which is owned by Generations Network,
      spent $3 million to digitize the military records. It
      took nearly a year, including some 1,500 handwriting
      specialists racking up 270,000 hours to review the
      oldest records.
      The 10-year-old Provo, Utah-based company doesn't have
      every U.S. military record. Over the past four
      centuries, some have been lost or destroyed. Some
      records remain classified.
      However, this is the first time a for-profit Web site
      is featuring this many military records as part of a
      $100 million investment in what Sullivan says is the
      largest genealogy Web site with 900,000 paying
      subscribers. He joined Ancestry.com 18 months ago
      after leaving the CEO post at online dating giant
      After June 6, users can pay $155.40 a year for
      unlimited access to thousands of U.S. record
      databases, Sullivan said.
      Budget constraints and a long list of unfinished
      priorities have limited federal efforts to make
      roughly 9 billion public documents available online,
      said National Archives spokeswoman Susan Cooper.
      "In a perfect world, we would do all this ourselves
      and it would up there for free," she said. "While we
      continue to work to make our materials accessible as
      widely as possible, we can't do everything."
      Subscribers can set up their own family tree pages on
      the Ancestry.com site and combine personal information
      with public records from the site. If they want to
      restrict access to their pages, privacy controls are
      available. And information posted about people who
      were born after 1922, or people born earlier but who
      are still alive, is automatically blocked from public
      As for public records that contain what family members
      might not want the rest of the world to see, there's
      little recourse involving records on the deceased.
      Privacy laws don't cover public records of the dead.
      Most novice genealogists, however, seem to be more
      interested in finding out whether they're related to
      battlefield heroes than they are worried about
      embarrassing revelations.
      Loren Whitney, 30, a software engineer at the company
      since 2002, has been tracking his family's military
      history for seven years and discovered a relative
      going back seven generations from the newest records.
      Whitney, an Arkansas native, learned that his mother's
      third-great-grandfather Thomas Bingham served in the
      Mormon Battalion to help the U.S. Army in the Mexican
      War around 1846. That discovery led to Bingham's
      great-grandfather, Capt. David Perry, who had
      published chronicles of the French and Indian War in
      "It's exhilarating to find these connections and to
      see how other people's lives have connected with yours
      in the way they put you in the situation and
      circumstances that you are in," Whitney said.
      Professional historian Curt Witcher recommends that
      people have fun and maintain realistic expectations
      when it comes to genealogy.
      A small percentage of amateurs "have this hope, this
      aspiration, this belief, they've arrived at Mecca and
      in a few minutes we'll bring the golden tablets out,"
      Witcher said. Most of the time they find out relatives
      weren't historical celebrities.
      Professional researchers, like Witcher, though praise
      Ancestry.com and other sites that have put vast
      collections of public data online.
      "Bureaucracies generate paper and for researchers that
      is golden," said Witcher, manager of the historical
      genealogy department at the Allen County Public
      Library in Fort Wayne, Ind. He oversees the
      second-largest genealogical library in the world, and
      his library helps more than 82,000 people a year
      authenticate family trees.
      As fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan continues, there
      seems to be a natural draw to tales of military
      ancestry, a desire to preserve history.
      William Endicott, an 81-year-old veteran who served in
      the 33rd Infantry division of Illinois in World War
      II, researched his family tree for two decades and
      found out that his great-grandparents traveled across
      the Oregon Trail during the 1870s to settle in Eastern
      Endicott said he tells his veteran buddies all the
      time: "Our memories are dimming at the ages that we
      are. Get your history down."
      (This version CORRECTS name of Ancestry.com's parent
      company to Generations Network.) )

      Mailing Address:

      Mike Levine
      1775 Dartford Way
      Hoschton, GA 30548

      The Biggest Lies are often told in Silence.

      Michael S. Levine
      CSM, US Army (Ret)
      Regional Activities
      Chapter Activity Operations
      1-(866)-957-0370 or (877) 957-0370 or (877) 955-0370.

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