Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Ancestry.com Bloggers Day: Content

Last year I intended to do stupendously rich articles about Ancestry.com Bloggers Day presentations. Since I never got around to it, this year you’re getting my stupidously poor notes.

With lunch just past, was Ancestry.com going to keep us awake during siesta hour? First up was Gary Gibbs, vice president of U.S. Content. His energetic presentation did the trick.

  • Developing and working to bring a constant flow of records
  • Upwards of $10 million annually on content.
  • Worldwide content acquisition
    • Canada, Provo, UKI,… [I didn’t get the whole list in my notes, but I believe it included all countries with Ancestry.com offices:]…, Germany, France, China, Australia
  • Domestically, have three people negotiating with state archives and vital records offices
    (Brian Peterson, Quinton Atkinson, and Al Viera)
  • Big new announcement is on the horizon
  • Archives’ digitization priorities spreadsheet
  • Terms of a typical agreement:
    • Digitize collections
    • Available on Ancestry.com
    • Available for free at the archive
    • The archive receives digital copies
    • Ancestry.com has an exclusive period during which the archive can’t offer the records to other organizations
  • For 2009
    • Delivered 29 of the top 30 promised content
    • Another came out near the beginning of 2010
    • The last one, land records, is coming in Q1 2010. It was delayed by the decision to key all the names on cadastral/land ownership maps.
  • Customers are attaching records to their trees at an accelerated rate since the addition of member connection features
    • Total of 400 million at the end of 2009
    • 150 million at the end of 2008
    • 50 million at the end of 2007
    • Started with 0 on 2 August 2006
    • Currently experiencing 5 million attaches a week
  • Iowa State Census for 1915 and 1925U.S. records coming in 2010 (see the Ancestry.com web announcement for more information and for International records)
    • 1920 census improved
    • Early census years 1790-1840. First every field keying.
    • State and Territory Census Records (pictured to the right) †
    • 1950 census substitute (2,500 city directories in 48 states)
    • DDD (Deaf, Dumb, Dehydrated) censuses *
    • Historic public records & voter registrations (1930s-1980s, 700 million records)
    • U.S. Citizenship ApplicationConnecticut Divorce Records (1969-1997)
    • Delaware BMD (1800s-1933)
    • Missouri death records (1910-1958) †
    • Hayes Library Ohio Death Index (1830-2009)
    • Vermont vital records, 1909-2003
    • U.S. funeral home and cemetery records †
    • Naturalization records (1795-1972) (pictured to the left) †
    • Boston, Honolulu and New Orleans passenger lists (1899-1957) †
    • Revolutionary War CMSR, pension, bounty land applications †
    • Returns from U.S. Military Posts in 21 states (1800-1916) †
    • Navy muster rolls (1900s) †
    • Civil War Pension Application and WWII Draft CardCivil War Union draft registers and Confederate pension applications (pictured near right)
    • WWII 1942 draft records for Idaho, Oregon, and Washington (pictured far right)
    • US county land ownership maps (1860-1920)
    • McNeil Island and Atlanta Federal penitentiary records †
    • Yearbooks, 7 million names from 1900-2000
      * Not mentioned in the web announcement
      † This may have been mentioned on Bloggers Day, but my notes aren’t complete.
  • World Archives Project
    • 33.5 thousand contributors
    • From 92 countries
    • 31 partners
    • 45.3 [?]
    • 23 million records keyed in 2009 (counting each double keying)
    • Two people recruiting societies (Lou Szucs and Suzanne Russo-Adams)

Next time: I’ll finish up Gary Gibbs’s content presentation.

Gary Gibb of Ancestry.com Gary Gibbs is vice president of U.S. Content and is responsible for content acquisition and partnerships. He has worked for Ancestry.com for ten years in various roles, spending his first five years as vice president of product management. Gary has an extensive background in technology, having worked in product development and management roles at Novell, WordPerfect, and TenFold. He has bachelors and masters degrees in computer science from BYU and an MBA from the University of Utah.

1 comment:

  1. Insider,

    One of my favorite Ancestry topics, content. And one I have criticized the most probably.

    So let's see if I get the gist right of your rundown for 2010:

    1) another year with content lopsided toward 20th century for those folks still stuck on their grandparents.

    2) wasting resources duplicating Footnote's military content when they could easily find other areas on the national or state level to be first and only (and see how they are the ones making the "content is a commodity" meme true for themselves).

    3) and not least, another year in which content acquisition, even post-IPO with its infusion of cash, IS ONLY A FRACTION OF THE MONEY SPENT ON MARKETING (showing yet again misplaced priorities and a misunderstanding of why their turnover/churn is as high as it is- longtime customers want new content from the 1700s and 1800s and state level vital records and not primarily records of the most recent generations).

    But of course they spin it so the naive and gullible don't see that the Ancestry Emperor's clothes are at the least very threadbare.



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