Welcome back to the ongoing quarterly ‘Ancestry Community Update’ blog post for Australia and New Zealand.
For anyone I am yet to meet, my name is Jason Reeve and I’m the Head of Content & Community for Ancestry in Australia and New Zealand. You’ll likely end up meeting me at a family history expo or through a genealogical society.
There’s been plenty to keep us busy since the last community blog post in July and I’m eager to share some updates with you.
As you know, we’ve been wanting to create an ongoing newsletter to keep in touch with our valued family history community in AU & NZ for a while. It’s a way to keep you – some of our most dedicated and experienced customers – up to speed on the latest product updates, local community engagements, events, upcoming content releases on the site and more. I’m excited to share that the first edition of the revived, revamped and reinstated Ancestry Monthly Update newsletter has officially gone out at the end of last week (thanks to our small but mighty marketing team in the Australian Office). If you didn’t receive the newsletter in your inbox, you might need to check your Ancestry account settings – you’ll find some guidance on the ‘how-to’ of that further down in the post below.
Many of you opted in to a newsletter mailing list with me recently. Just to confirm, that list isn’t yet merged with the active newsletter mailing list but will hopefully be in time for the next issue.
I’m still keen for you to help shape the content of this blog, so if you do have feedback, questions, or stories to share then please email [email protected]. I will do my best to respond, but I may not always be able to respond to every email. If you’re seeking help about your Ancestry account or similar enquiries, see further below in the pst for details on how to do this.
Again, thank you for taking the time to read these community posts. There’s always a lot to share, so I hope you do find this second post of interest and I look forward to seeing you at an event soon.
Head of Content & Community
August Ethnicity Update
Great news for anyone doing their family history.
As of this very moment, people from 89 countries / regions around the world can now purchase an AncestryDNA kit. But it doesn’t stop there, Ancestry has a target to reach 200 countries by the end of next year.
Why are these numbers important?
By increasing the volume and diversity within our AncestryDNA data pool, alongside the use of cutting-edge technology & the latest scientific developments, we can continue to improve & build upon the current AncestryDNA user experience. Users will be able to make greater, wider reaching interpersonal connections, continue to make new discoveries within their own unique ancestral stories whilst also strengthening awareness of the humanity we all share – right across the planet.
AncestryDNA is an immensely powerful tool for family history. This expansion, and the expansions to follow are truly exciting for everyone seeking to understand their own family history.
See the full post for more information.
Ancestry Monthly Update (AMU)
As I mentioned in the introduction above, Ancestry AU&NZ has officially re-launched the monthly newsletter.
To receive this new publication, you’ll need to ensure your Ancestry.com.au account settings are correct.
To read more about how to review your account settings, visit the AMU blog post here.
In our last blog post, we shared that Ancestry would be expanding access to AncestryClassroom™ to educators and students in Australia and New Zealand.
Since that last post, we’ve worked closely with the NSW Department of Education to provide access to all 800,000+ students across NSW. That access is now live!
If you’re a teacher within a NSW school, get in touch with us to learn how to to use AncestryClassroom™.
If you’re interested but based elsewhere, send us an email to find out how you can access Ancestry at your school for zero cost.
Ancestry® Grant Program
The Ancestry Grant Program for 2022 has now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted an application, we’ll be in touch with the successful applicants shortly.
If you didn’t apply this year but you are interested, then you might be pleased to know that the program will be back in 2023.
See the full post for the 2022 program here.
Geneanet Joins Ancestry®
At Ancestry, we are committed to growing our global community so that more people can easily discover, craft and connect around their family story. That is why we are pleased to announce that Ancestry has acquired Geneanet, a leading French genealogy company, to enable family history discoveries and connections for even more people around the world.
See the full post for more information.
Upcoming Record Releases
I mentioned previously that our ability to acquire more content for the Ancestry site in AU & NZ has been challenging these last couple of ‘Covid’ years. However, with many archives now fully operational again we have some exciting new partnerships in place and a huge volume of records working their way towards being published on the site.
When new records are acquired by Ancestry, they can take anywhere from 6-18 months to be available on the website, due to the process and timings required for those records to be prepared correctly. They may need to be digitised, or indexed – or both. In the future I’ll share more about how the content process works, from agreeing to work with an archive to the content being available to you on Ancestry.com.au.
Here’s a few recent launches from AU & NZ;
– Nearly 10 million additional AU & NZ ‘Find a Grave’ burial records [visit]
– Over 1.5 million additional South Australian records [visit]
For those researching their UK roots, we’ve also launched;
– Over 4 million Nottinghamshire Church of England records [visit]
– Over 3 million Yorkshire Church of England records [visit]
Back here at home, we’re expecting to publish the follwing over the next three months;
– Over 2 million Queensland School Admission records
– Over 2 million Queensland Electoral Roll records
– Over 1 million additional AU & NZ marriage & obituary records
These numbers are just a fraction of what’s coming over the next 12 months, so stay tuned!
An important part of these blog posts is sharing what’s happening in the community. This may cover partnerships or activities Ancestry is involved in, or shining a light on activities that we feel you’d be interested in.
(1) The Find Them, Remember Them: Creating Citizen Historians
Ancestry is delighted to support the ‘Find Them, Remember Them – Creating Citizen Historians’ pilot program, created by John Gillam & Yvonne Fletcher aka ‘Untraceables’. Students at several schools across Australia will work as Citizen Historians to research the life and war service of a forgotten soldier using their unclaimed military medal as a starting point. They will then present their research findings at a medal handover ceremony in which they’ll educate the wider local community about the soldier’s service and the sacrifice made for his country. During the program the school will have custody of the medals and if a family that is connected to the medal is located, it will be handed back to them.
To support the program, Ancestry is providing all participating schools free access to Ancestry. We are excited to empower the next generation of history makers by providing free access to Ancestry resources within schools, helping our young minds to develop that essential link to their past. By unlocking the past, we realise our shared humanity.
You can read more about ‘Untraceables’ and the Find Them, Remember Them’ the pilot program on their Facebook page.
(2) Talking Family History / Family History Fridays
Many of you may know Fiona Brooker and Michelle Patient from Ancestry’s Family History Friday’s (Facebook live sessions in 2020 and 2021). Between them, they have worked and volunteered in the family history world (Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, USA and online) for over 60 years. In March 2020 Fiona & Michelle founded Talking Family History (TFH) together, an online service which aims to promote, educate and enthuse others interested in researching their family history. Both are members of the Association of Professional Genealogists and individually Fiona runs Memories in Time and Michelle is the DNA consultant to the SBS TV series Every Family Has a Secret.
They host fortnightly Friday meetings for TFH subscribers where they cover genealogy news, discuss their recent genealogy insights, future plans and hold an open Q&A with attendees. They also host one off online events such as the DNA Discovery First Steps course – 8 sessions including 2 live Q&A sessions. For those who have moved beyond the First Steps with their DNA research coming up is a DNA Discovery Day on 10 September 2022.
You can also come along to meet them at the Family History Down Under 2022 Conference event listed below.
Did you come say ‘hi‘ at the recent New Zealand events? Ancestry went along to both the Auckland and Christchurch Family History Expos, as well as supporting the Tauranga & Wellington events that happened througout Family History Month in August.
So what’s coming up next?
[Virtual] ‘Riding the Waves of History’ Conference
Dates: 16th Sep – 18th Sep 2022
‘Sands of Time’ Conference
Dates: 21 Oct – 23 Oct 2022
Family History Down Under – Castle Hill, NSW
Dates: 08 Nov – 11 Nov 2022
Getting Help / Feedback
As family historians we often find ourselves hitting the dreaded brick wall. As an Ancestry user, you may also have questions about the website or your account.
There are numerous ways to get the support you need – and below you can see which option is most appropriate based on the type of question you have.
(1) Ancestry Support – The first place to go if you have an Ancestry website question or account issue is the support page.
(2) Ancestry Message Boards – If you have a website question, or one that leans more towards family history research, then why not try posting your question on the Ancestry message boards? Once logged in to your Ancestry account, you can find the message boards via the ‘Help’ link along the top navigation bar.
(3) Genealogical Societies & Libraries – If you’re after more ‘hands on’ support for genealogy more generally, or wish to take your learning to the next level, then a genealogical society or library-based family history group might be right for you. There are supportive and active groups all over Australia and New Zealand – just try googling your area, nearest major city or head into your local library.
(4) Facebook – Just like the above, there are some incredibly knowledgeable and supportive groups with a presence on Facebook. You can also use Facebook to engage with Genealogical Societies outside of your local area (for example, in an overseas area you may be researching).
(i) Family History & DNA – Talking Family History
(ii) DNA – Using DNA for Genealogy Australia & NZ
Q & A
Each quarter I will endeavour to answer some popular questions submitted by you.
I won’t be able to answer every question (as I expect there will be many) but using the link below anyone can ask up to three questions. If you don’t have three questions, or you only have the one, then you can also up-vote other questions that have been submitted.
The first round of this Q&A process started with the July blog post – you can already see the questions and interactions in the boxes below. I’ve decided to leave these results for another quarter to ensure they get the attention & interaction they deserve before I begin answering. So take advantage of the next few months to add your questions or up-vote those you agree with.
Add your own question(s) and vote on Question 1 here.
Add your own question(s) and vote on Question 2 here.
Make sure you follow us on Facebook, Instagram and subscribe to the newsletter!