20 October 2006

Major New Genealogy Databases

During the regular Thursday skypecast hosted by Dick Eastman last evening he mentioned to expect two new genealogical services with web databases to come online before the end of the year. He was not in a position to give any details. Dick commented that he saw this as the start of a revitalization of online competition where Ancestry has had a dominant position recently.

One of the services may well be the new British database, Ancestorsonboard, announced by 1837online, featuring BT27 Outward Passenger Lists for long-distance voyages leaving the British Isles from 1960 right back to 1890. According to their announcement "With Ancestorsonboard, you can search for records of individuals or groups of people leaving for destinations including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and USA featuring ports such as Boston, Philadelphia and New York. Passengers include not only immigrants and emigrants, but also businessmen, diplomats and tourists. Images of the passenger lists will be available to download, view, save and print."

In Canada we are in a little different situation from the US. Library and Archives Canada has an aggressive program to make original records, mostly unindexed, freely available online. I expect to see three new databases appearing on their web site in the next few days. During his welcoming remarks at the BIFHSGO conference in September Librarian and Archivist of Canada, Ian Wilson, announced that "digitized passenger lists for the ports of Quebec and Halifax"


Also "an index to Lower Canada land petitions, some 93,00 entries," and "the Ward Chipman database of United Empire Loyalists." These are great additions to their already strong free offerings.