At launch, Ancestry.fr and Ancestry.it will offer access to Ancestry's unrivaled global collection of more than 5 billion names and 24,000 databases and titles. The new sites will also provide a networking platform for users to collaborate and connect with other site users globally, build an online family tree and upload irreplaceable content from personal archives such as photographs, stories and shoebox keepsakes.
"We're pleased to expand our global vision to connect families and drive family collaboration worldwide with the launch of Ancestry.fr and Ancestry.it," said Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network, parent company of Ancestry.com. "The new sites and the addition of more international content on Ancestry.com are a significant step forward in connecting families across continents. We're continually mining the globe for key record-sets to digitize and make easily accessible and searchable online. As more international content becomes available, users will be able to break through dead-ends and take their family histories beyond borders."
The launch of Ancestry.fr and Ancestry.it brings the tally of the Ancestry suite of sites owned by The Generations Network to seven. Other international sites include:
-- Ancestry.co.uk in the United Kingdom, which features the only complete
online collection of England, Wales and Scotland census records
(1841-1901); and England and Wales birth, marriage, and death records
-- Ancestry.ca in Canada, which recently announced a deal with the Library
and Archives Canada (LAC) to digitize Canadian passenger lists from
1865-1935, and hosts the complete Drouin collection of French-Canadian
vital records (1621-1940s) and Canada census records from 1851, 1901,
1906 and 1911
-- Ancestry.de in Germany, which features Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-
1934 and the Mecklenburg-Schwerin Census, 1867
-- Ancestry.com.au in Australia, which just launched New South Wales Sands
Directories, 1861-1933 and The Anzac Memorial, 1914-1918
On average, Ancestry site users create more than 80,000 family trees and upload some 65,000 photographs each week. With more than 15.7 million Americans claiming Italian heritage and some 8.3 million with French roots, the combination of user-uploaded content and historical records available on the new sites will be particularly relevant to Ancestry.com's U.S. subscribers, the company's largest user base.
"Ancestry's expansion is a major development for French and Italian people and descendents everywhere interested in researching their roots," said Josh Hanna, Managing Director, Ancestry Europe. "France and Italy have always celebrated and explored their rich histories through art, food and culture. Now, by bringing previously hard-to-access records online, they will be able to weave in their own personal stories to better understand the role their families played in shaping this storied legacy."
The Generations Network has been working with archives in Italy and is looking forward to building similar relationships with archives in France to bring historical records from repositories in both countries online. Currently, the company is digitizing pre-1930's civil registration records from throughout Italy with the first of these records expected to be available online later this summer.
"As far as we've come over the past decade with the digitization of key U.S. historical documents such as census, military and passenger list records, only now have we started to really do more than scratch the surface in terms of digitizing international content," said Curt Witcher, Manager, Genealogy Center, Allen County Public Library. "There are countless untold stories yet to be uncovered and with Europe's rich history, deep treasure troves of historical records can now see the light of day. Bringing these amazing pieces of our past online will unlock a tremendous opportunity for many researchers to make new discoveries."