GO-TIME: Partnership with State Archives, Ancestry.com Provides FREE Online Access to Valuable Records, Saves Taxpayer Dollars
October 13, 2016
Harrisburg, PA – In response to growing interest in accessing genealogical records online, The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission partnered with Ancestry.com to digitize documents held in the Pennsylvania State Archives and make them available free of charge to residents. Last year, 4.9 million unique users searched Pennsylvania documents on Ancestry.com.
“The Archives has developed partnerships with other groups to create digital images, but nothing on the scale of what we’re currently doing with Ancestry.com,” according to Pennsylvania State Archivist David Carmicheal. “There at least 250 million documents that need to be scanned in order to be made available online. Because of this partnership, we are about 14 million documents closer to completing this goal.”
In addition to birth and death records, other items available online include veterans’ burial cards, World War II bonus applications, Spanish-American War compensations, Civil War Border Claims, the Septennial Census, tax and exoneration lists, naturalizations, marriage records, court papers and several other important genealogical resources.
In the last fiscal year this project saved nearly $50,000 in digitization costs. An additional $100,000 in cost avoidance is expected this year. The Pennsylvania State Archives is projecting a savings of nearly $2 million through the life of the project with all costs being borne by Ancestry.com. In addition, Archives staff time has been freed up for other projects. The combination of cost savings and increased productivity helps the PHMC meet the administration’s GO-TIME challenge for state government to work smarter.
GO-TIME works with state agencies to maximize efficiency, modernize operations and improve the delivery of services. These efforts saved more than $156 million in FY 15-16, exceeding the $150 million savings goal set by the Governor.
To learn more about GO-TIME, visit www.governor.pa.gov/go-time/.
The Pennsylvania State Archives is an important resource for scholars, historians, genealogists and the public. The primary function of the Pennsylvania State Archives, part of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, is to acquire, preserve and make available for study the permanently valuable public records of the Commonwealth, with particular attention given to the records of state government. In fulfilling its general responsibility for the preservation of historic documents, the State Archives also collects private papers relevant to Pennsylvania history.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission is the official history agency of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Visit the commission online at www.phmc.pa.gov.
Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf