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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

IF YOU’VE GOT JEWISH ANCESTORS, TODAY IS YOUR LUCKY DAY…

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ancestry.com Partners with JewishGen and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) to Provide Access to Millions of Jewish Family History Records for People around the World

NEW YORK CITY and PROVO, UTAH – Oct. 29, 2008 – Today Ancestry.com, part of The Generations Network, Inc., announced it has introduced the world’s largest online collection of Jewish family history records. Ancestry.com has partnered with two leading organizations committed to the preservation of Jewish heritage – JewishGen, an affiliate of the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City that maintains the world’s premier Jewish genealogy website, and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), an overseas humanitarian aid organization committed to providing relief for Jews in more than 70 countries. These partnerships will make millions of important Jewish historical documents available on Ancestry.com, many of which are online for the first time ever and searchable for free. These unique records, including photographs, immigration records, Holocaust records and memorials, can now be searched alongside other records already accessible on Ancestry.com, creating the largest collection of Jewish family history records on the Web with more than 26 million records documenting Jewish life.

Details about the new Jewish Family History Collection on Ancestry.com will be unveiled today at a ceremony at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust.

“Ancestry.com, the JDC and JewishGen are committed to the preservation of important Jewish historical records, and we’re honored to be working with these well-respected organizations to help in this effort,” said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer of The Generations Network, Inc. “For the millions of people interested in discovering more about their Jewish heritage, these new partnerships make researching family history easier than ever before.”

Many documents digitized as a part of this agreement have never before been available online, including two important JDC collections:

* Jewish Transmigration Bureau Deposit Cards, 1939-1954 (JDC), a collection of records showing the amount of money paid by American Jewish citizens to support the emigration of friends and relatives from European countries during and after WWII.
* Munich, Vienna and Barcelona Jewish Displaced Persons and Refugee Cards, 1943-1959 (JDC), a collection containing records of displaced Jews who were provided with food, medical care and clothing and emigration assistance by the JDC.

“Since 1914, JDC has helped revitalize Jewish communities throughout the world and has helped save the lives of hundreds of thousands of Jews,” said Steve Schwager, Chief Executive Officer for JDC. “We are excited to partner with Ancestry.com, providing descendants access to rare new information about their families and themselves. JDC and Ancestry.com are opening up a wealth of previously inaccessible information through the digitization and dissemination of 125,000 records of those who were helped and of those who helped provide relief to others during and directly after WWII.”

More than 300 databases from JewishGen will also now be available on Ancestry.com. These JewishGen databases represent 14 different countries and contain more than 5 million records, such as:

* The JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry, an invaluable collection with more than 1 million names of Jews represented in nearly 2,000 Jewish cemeteries around the world.
* Yizkor Book Necrologies, a list of the names of those murdered in the Holocaust which directs users back to the Yizkor Books themselves – memorials which offer vivid, first-hand accounts of the Holocaust and its aftermath.
* The Given Names Database, which enables one to learn possible European, Hebrew and Yiddish translations of an ancestor’s given name.
* A Holocaust Database of 2 million names such as Schindler’s List, which includes names of 1,980 inmates in Oscar Schindler's factories in Plaszów, Poland and Brünnlitz, Czechoslovakia.
* Jewish Records Indexing (JRI-PL) Poland and All Lithuania Database, representing more than 2 million indexed names from databases in Lithuania and Poland containing vital information on the regions.

"JewishGen began as a volunteer community devoted to gathering and sharing Jewish records," said David G. Marwell, Director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage. "We are excited that, through this new relationship with Ancestry.com, we will be able to broaden our reach and extend our invaluable resources to a much larger group of researchers around the world. The entire community benefits when more people get involved in the fascinating and rewarding activity of researching their family history. "

In July 2008, JewishGen entered into a groundbreaking partnership with Ancestry.com that provides Ancestry.com with significant resources in the Jewish genealogy world. Under the agreement, not only will Ancestry.com eventually receive access to well in excess of 10 million records, some of which date back to the 1700s, but JewishGen’s user base of more than 250,000 will be alerted to Ancestry.com’s rich resources. Ancestry.com will also provide technical support to the JewishGen site.

The JDC and JewishGen databases included in this release will be searchable for free in a new Jewish Family History experience on Ancestry.com at www.ancestry.com/JewishFamilyHistory. These databases can be searched in combination with millions of other invaluable records documenting Jews available on Ancestry.com, including census records, passenger lists, military records and more.

Ceremony at Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust

Ancestry.com, JewishGen and JDC will celebrate their collaboration and unveil the new Jewish Collection today at 10 a.m. ET at the Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in Battery Park, New York City. Members of Ancestry.com and JewishGen who have made important discoveries about their Jewish heritage documents will be in attendance and on hand to share their stories.

About the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC)

Founded in 1914, the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), www.JDC.org, gives global expression to the principle that all Jews are responsible for one another. On behalf of North America’s Jewish communities, JDC works in over 70 countries to rescue those in danger, provide relief to those in distress, revitalize overseas Jewish communities, and help Israel overcome the social challenges that beset its most vulnerable citizens.

JDC also provides non-sectarian disaster relief and long-term development assistance to the world’s least fortunate populations.

JDC’s archives consists of approximately 40 to 50 million pages of archival materials dating from 1914 to present, many of which are of genealogical interest to scholars and Jews around the world.

About JewishGen

JewishGen, www.jewishgen.org, became an affiliate of the Museum on January 1, 2003. An Internet pioneer, JewishGen was founded in 1987 and has grown from a bulletin board with only 150 users to a major grass roots effort bringing together hundreds of thousands of individuals worldwide in a virtual community centered on discovering Jewish ancestral roots and history.

Researchers use JewishGen to share genealogical information, techniques, and case studies. With a growing database of more than 11 million records, the website is a forum for the exchange of information about Jewish life and family history, and has enabled thousands of families to connect and re-connect in a way never before possible.

About the Ancestry Global Network

The Ancestry global network of family history Web sites is wholly owned by The Generations Network, Inc. It consists of nine Web sites – www.ancestry.com in the U.S., www.ancestry.co.uk in the UK, www.ancestry.ca in Canada, www.ancestry.com.au in Australia, www.ancestry.de in Germany, www.ancestry.it in Italy, www.ancestry.fr in France, www.ancestry.se in Sweden and www.jiapu.cn in China. Ancestry members have access to 7 billion names contained in 26,000 historical record collections. Tree-building and photo upload are free on all Ancestry websites. To date, Ancestry.com users have created more than 7.5 million family trees containing 725 million profiles and 12 million photographs. More than 5 million unique visitors logged onto Ancestry.com in August 2008 (comScore Media Metrix, Worldwide).

Need more info? Contact Ancestry PR Lady Anastasia Tyler.

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