MAJOR News at Ancestry

Did you happen to see this recent blog at Ancestry? If not, let me call your attention to three things you may have missed: 

“In addition to existing Ancestry collections such as U.S. City Directories, Military Records, and The U.S. Census which offer insight into the remarkable contributions of our Black ancestors, we will be extending our resources in 2021 to include:

  • Digitization of the U.S. Freedmen’s Bureau Records for all U.S. States: The  Freedmen’s Bureau was responsible for the supervision and management of all matters relating to refugees and freedmen, and of lands abandoned or seized during the Civil War.
  • Danish West Indies Record Collection: These collections of records can be used to enable discoveries and establish ancestral connections to enslaved people with ties to the Danish West Indies, today known as U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Reindexed U.S. Probate Collection: An update to our U.S. Wills and Probates Collection, which Ancestry first made available in 2015, will capture all people mentioned by name in wills and can further help descendants of previously enslaved people make additional discoveries about their families.
  • Also, this year, Ancestry is honoring and highlighting some of the most important historical Black figures from yesterday, and today’s greats who will be tomorrow’s, through a partnership with The New York Times. Family history stories and historic milestones of Black Americans will be shared through videos, editorials and more across multiple channels and platforms.
  • In addition, Ancestry will launch “Questions and Ancestors: Black Family History” – a video content series hosted by Professional Genealogist Nicka Sewell-Smith who specializes in African ancestored genealogy. Nicka will engage with leaders in the Black community who are impacting culture and society today and help them explore their own roots using Ancestry records and research.”

This is HUGE news, especially for those of us with no leads on tracing our ancestors during the years immediately following the Civil War. Be sure to get your lists and timelines together so that when records and/or the new indexes are released you’re ready to go!

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