Tuesday 24 March 2020

Free access to c.300 US NARA collections via Ancestry

Ancestry's President and CEO, Margo Georgiadis, has made a statement today on the company's blog giving details of what actions Ancestry is taking in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. You can read her full post here.

Of most direct and immediate interest for more researchers is the opening up of nearly nearly 500 million records from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. These records span across nearly 300 different collections, and include ship passenger and crew lists, naturalization and citizenship records, immigration records, and key military collections such as WWI and WWII draft cards.

Digitised by Ancestry in partnership with NARA, these collections will temporarily be available to any researcher with a free registered account to Ancestry.com. Creating an account is easy; just enter your email to start your search.

Neither Ancestry nor NARA have yet produced a list of the collections included in the free access. However, I was able to find links to a good few (if not all) on the NARA site, here.

Some of the links take you to direct to the individual records set. But if you find one like this – http://search.ancestryinstitution.com/aird/search/db.aspx?dbid=2136 – remove the word 'institution' from the url in your browser and try again. It worked for me.