Genealogy.com announced today that it will assist in providing an online resource to track the journeys of millions of immigrants who came to America at New York Harbor’s Ellis Island.
The Fremont, California-based company signed a sponsorship agreement with The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. for the development of a Web site to complement The American Family Immigration History Center project at the immigration processing center-turned museum.
Joined by the Discover Card, Genealogy.com will bring the $22.5 million (US$) project online, giving people around the globe a chance to trace their family’s passage to America.
The first-of-its-kind site is expected to go live in 2001, and will consist of a massive database that is currently being compiled by volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. The database will include information on the 17 million people who sailed past the Statue of Liberty into the Ellis Island complex between 1892-1924.
Genealogy.com is providing technological, promotional and financial support to the project.
Tickling the Genealogy Funny Bone
Genealogy.com says that the project is giving the company a chance to get a whole generation of Internet users excited about genealogy. Given the importance of Ellis Island to American history — some 40 percent of Americans can trace ancestors back to the island — there is a strong likelihood that it will generate some interest.
Project officials say that the searchable database will provide 11 fields of information. Users will be able to look up the name of a ship, names, ages and occupations of passengers and their port of embarkation and ultimate destination.
Users will also be able to see a reproduction of a ship’s manifest and a photo of the vessel. Eventually, the project will allow users to create a family archive and scan in photos and documents and store them for posterity.
Genealogy.com is a division of Mattel, Inc. (NYSE: MAT), and is backed by venture capital from Hearst Interactive, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Weston Presidio Capital.