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Thursday, March 26, 2009

World Archives Project Launced by

Note: This is pretty exciting. Launches World Archives Project to Help Digitally Preserve Millions of Historical Records Worldwide

/PRNewswire/ —, the world's largest online resource for family history, today launched the World Archives Project, a new initiative dedicated to digitally preserving millions of the world's historical treasures. The World Archives Project accelerates the rate at which important historical records are digitized and made available online by giving people everywhere the opportunity to play an important part in preserving history.

The World Archives Project allows individuals to transcribe historical documents at their convenience, from their home computer. Using a free transcription program, contributors select from the many historical record collections that has digitized – from naturalization records to ship manifests to marriage records, and type in the information from the scanned image. All of the online indexes that are transcribed as part of the World Archives Project are easily searchable and available for free on

"Because digitizing historical records and making them available online is both costly and time consuming, many governments and libraries don't have the budget to do so," said Tim Sullivan, CEO of The Generations Network, Inc., parent company of "The World Archives Project contributors who donate their time play a critical role in preserving these important stories by helping us publish more historical content online, extending the opportunity for others to explore their family history."

Since the project's beta launch in June 2008, more than 11,000 contributors have collectively put in more than 200,000 indexing hours and have helped digitally preserve 6 million records. Devoted to making these documents easily available online, many of these contributors spend numerous hours each week transcribing from their home.

"Family history is about sharing," says Paula Bradley, a member of from Wichita, Kansas. "The World Archives Project has given me a chance to give back to the community and help other people discover their own family history." estimates that it will be able to digitize and index 20 percent more historical content in 2009 to put on its site as a result of the World Archives Project. Many of these transcription projects are small collections that would likely never be digitized were it not through this project and the dedication of these unsung heroes.

There are millions of historical records from around the world that are available to index through the World Archives Project. Some of the current collections include:

Naturalization Index Cards – Index cards that can easily lead researchers to the documents created when their ancestors became U.S. citizens.

Slave Manifests Filed at New Orleans, Louisiana, 1807-1860 – These records document the transporting of more than 30,000 slaves to the port of New Orleans from other stateside ports as a result of the growing tobacco industry in the southern states.

England Newspaper Index Cards – Compiled in England between the 1880s to 1965, these index cards contain information on individuals taken from next of kin advertisements, will notices, unclaimed estates and missing persons listings found in several national and overseas newspapers.

For more information about the World Archives Project and how to play an active role in preserving history by becoming a contributor, visit

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