29 October 2009

Footnote.com: Entire US census to go interactive

Today, Footnote.com announced that it will digitize and create a searchable database for all publicly available US Federal Censuses (1790-1930), featuring the original documents.

This means that Footnote, which offers wonderful online resources in original documents, will add more than 9.5 million images and more than a half-billion names - through its partnership with the National Archives - to the company's already extensive online record collection, currently at 60 million historical records, available by subscription.

According to NARA Deputy Director Cynthia Fox:

“The census is the most heavily used body of records from the National Archives. In addition to names and ages, they are used to obtain dates for naturalizations and the year of immigration. This information can then be used to locate additional records.”
Footnote will use the US Census records to tie content together, creating a pathway to discover additional records that have been previously difficult to find.

According to Footnote's CEO Russ Wilding:

“We see the census as a highway leading back to the 18th century. This Census Highway provides off-ramps leading to additional records on the site such as naturalization records, historical newspapers, military records and more. Going forward, Footnote.com will continue to add valuable and unique collections that will enhance the census collection.”
Footnote.com has already completed census collections from two key decades: 1930 and 1860. Visitors to the site can view status reports for each decade and sign up for email alerts when more records are added for a particular year. For more information, view the Census Progress Page.

Footnote members will also be able to take advantage of the interactive experience by adding their own contributions.

For any person found in the census, users can:

-- Add comments and insights about that person.
-- Upload and attach scanned photos or documents related to that person.
-- Generate a Footnote Page for any individual that features stories, a photo gallery, timeline and map.
-- Identify relatives found in the census by clicking the I’m Related button.

To see how it works, check out the 1930 Interactive Census record for Jimmy Stewart.

According to Roger Bell, senior vice president of product development, the most popular feature of the Interactive Census is the "I'm Related" button.

“This provides an easy way for people to show relations and actually use the census records to make connections with others that may be related to the same person.”
Did you know that Footnote works with the National Archives and other organizations to add at least a million new documents and photos each month? Collections include the new Holocaust resources, as well as collections on American Wars, Historical Newspapers and more.

CEO Russ Wilding says that the company will continue to move aggressively to add records to the site, specifically those that are requested by our members and others not otherwise available on the Internet.

All of this is excellent news for far-flung global researchers who simply cannot access these records on site due to distance (and expense), as well as for the rest of us.

For more information, click here.

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