Tuesday, March 31, 2015

NARA Suspends Ancestry.com Scanning Operation

A NARA staff member retrieves documents at the Lee's Summit, Missouri location.On 16 March 2015, Twitter user “RM Cooper” posted, “Ancestry’s doing a digitization project with our WW2 records. Person caught ‘improperly handling/attempting to destroy’ attachments to WW2 registration records. Ancestry canned them and they’ve been barred from NARA. So they’ve suspended those projects while they attempt to assess what’s been done and how/if they can fix it…I just hope it was an isolated incident and the person didn’t really get to destroy anything.”

In a copyrighted story on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website, Tim O’Neil reported that the Ancestry.com employee was behind in productivity and attempted to catch up by throwing away some records. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) staff recovered all the lost records. NARA suspended Ancestry.com projects at five sites, including the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, where the incident occurred. NARA has since allowed Ancestry.com to resume operations at two sites.

You can read O’Neil’s entire article on the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website.


  1. Why was this employee behind his/her schedule? Bad employee? Unreasonable demands? Frankly, I'm surprised to learn that a real person was actually reading the records. I've gotten used to seeing abstracts at Ancestry that are so bizarre they couldn't have been cooked up by anyone; they have to have been done by machines reading the original documents.


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