Ancestry Launches Community Impact Program

Ancestry announced the launch of its new Community Impact Program, which aims to mobilize Ancestry resources and products to build more connected and resilient communities through preserving at-risk history and empowering the next generation of history makers.

For nearly a decade, Ancestry has offered access to historical record collections and content through its no-cost AncestryK12 program for K-12 schools nationwide to help students personally connect to and learn from history. Today, 5 million students have access to Ancestry in their classrooms.

To expand the impact of this program, Ancestry has partnered with Facing History and Ourselves – a global organization dedicated to empowering teachers and students to think critically about history – to develop a robust collection of resources for educators. The classroom resources, professional learning tools for educators, and Ancestry historical record collections will cover topics including: Race, Slavery & Reconstruction; Immigration; World War II and the Holocaust; and The Power of Identity.

A key initiative of the Ancestry Community Program is digitizing and preserving at-risk history – unique record collections about a specific time in history that is at risk of being forgotten or overlooked. Ancestry has already made millions of these records available for free, including its Holocaust and Nazi Persecution collections. To continue this philanthropic effort, Ancestry announced the release of the new Danish West Indies collection.

This collection of more than 1 million birth, death, marriage, census, labor and plantation records from 1724-1916 provides unique insight into the lives of Black people who were enslaved, and then legally free, in the Danish West Indies. Through a partnership with the Danish National Archives, the records in this collection will now be fully indexed, searchable, and accessible to anyone for free.

These records provide insight into the challenging elements of this period, such as the harsh labor conditions that accompanied enslavement. However, they also illuminate many overlooked histories, such as what faiths were observed and other cultural and social traditions in the West Indies.

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