Saturday, May 17, 2008

New Databases at Ancestry.com

Website Update

If you happen upon any sawdust or tools left out, you'll have to excuse me. I've been doing a little work on the website. The most significant change is wider columns. (If you read my blog via e-mail subscription or feed reader, you won't notice any changes.) The wider columns give me more freedom when including tables, videos, maps and images. If the columns are too wide for your computer, read Website Too Wide?.

New Databases @ Ancestry.com

I've added two items to the website sidebar. "About Me" is my profile, complete with Simpsonized picture.

The other is a mashup titled "Recent Databases." A copy is shown to the right. The concept of mashups is fascinating and this is an excellent example. I'll write about mashups sometime and explain how mashups work and this mashup does in particular.

Anyway, the Recent Databases mashup is a cool little widget that displays a list of the recently released or updated genealogy databases at Ancestry.com. Visit the Ancestry Insider once each day to see that day's new database. Ancestry's practice is to release at least one database every workday. In this way you'll often learn of new databases before they're announced on the Ancestry blogs.

To see databases after the two shown, click the down arrow on the scroll bar. Click anywhere on the scrollbar to immediately jump to that place in the list. The list goes back about 60 days.

Click on the underlined title to open a window for that database on Ancestry.com. The Post Date (month/day/year) is when the database was released, if new, or the date it was updated. For example, scroll down to Social Security Death Index and look at the post date. This is not the original release date, but the last update date. You can differentiate between new and updated entries by looking at the Title and notations where the title is duplicated plus the addition of any notations such as "Updated", "Free Index", "(in Italian)", etc.

A nice thing about widgets is their reusability. You can add this widget to your own blog, website or MySpace profile if you desire. Please don't remove the link to ancestryinsider.blogspot.com! Underneath the widget click on "Add to your site." Copy the small, gray code inside the box and paste it according to the instructions for your blog or site.

If you can't see the widget in your e-mail or feed reader, come to the website.

Enjoy and stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. Insider,

    That is a neat little widget for the new databases indeed. Also I was very happy to see the recent release of the Tennessee marriage database for a couple reasons. The first of course is that it benefits me personally, and the second because as I have said in the past here, some states are more important than others in the genealogical scheme of things, as in the original colonies and those states like KY and TN that were settled next and became pathways and points of origin for future migrations westward. For example if one's ancestors settled in Missouri, then good chance they came through KY or TN and thence from NC, VA or other original states.

    I have a question about a comment you made where you said, "Ancestry's practice is to release at least one database every workday". Obviously that is a marketing driven thing, but my question is how significant it really is. That is, is a brand new database released every day, or do "updated" databases count too? And if the answer to that question is yes, then as a marketing scheme, is it Ancestry's policy to intentionally release incomplete databases so as to be able to tout updates?

    Also regarding new databases such as official records of various states and counties, perhaps in the future you could blog on the general topic of how cooperative various states are or are not. We see a lot of promising partnerships between repositories including the Family History Library, and various commercial vendors like Ancestry. But I am wondering if there are states whose archives are generally uncooperative regarding non-vital statistic records pre 1900?

    Mike

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