PROVO, UT, June 16, 2008 — More than 9,000 passenger lists, containing millions of names from the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild (ISTG), are now online at WorldVitalRecords.com. Approximately 200 of these lists were launched in February when ISTG announced its partnership with FamilyLink.com, Inc, but now all 9,000 of the lists are browseable. Beginning June 20, these records will also be searchable using WorldVitalRecords.com’s global search. Click here to access this content.
“I am very excited about this partnership. I’m happy to partner with FamilyLink.com, Inc. because they provide a service that is affordable and easily accessed on the Internet. Knowing who came before you is a heart’s desire, and it is information that is important for all of us to know,” said Patty MacFarlane McCormack, Founder, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild.
The ISTG records include information such as surname, captain’s name, port of arrival/departure, and name of the ship.
“When our content acquisition team came across the ISTG records, we were looking for records from Portugal. Not only did we find records from Portugal, but passenger lists from more than 35 countries. These lists are invaluable to family historians to help locate their ancestors,” said Yvette Arts, Director, Content Partnerships, FamilyLink.com, Inc.
McCormack claims the success of the site should be attributed to the 500+ people who have volunteered work on these lists over the years, including the 250 that are currently volunteers.
“I’m blessed to have volunteers who are so totally dedicated to this cause. I could not do this without them. I coordinate the overall effort, but my volunteers are some of the most dedicated people in the world,” McCormack said. “Our mission statement: ‘Bringing Our Ancestors Home: Reuniting Our Families’ really sums up what we are all about. People find their ancestors on our site, and they write to us. We then include any other information they can provide directly to a link on the passenger list. They are so grateful for the work we do, and we hear it every day. It is what keeps us going.”
ISTG has helped thousands of individuals since McCormack began asking for volunteers to help with the transcription of the passenger lists in 1998.
At the time, McCormack was affiliated with RootsWeb’s Ships List. There were many online discussions regarding how scarce passengers lists were on the Internet. Because of this, McCormack wrote to a few individuals on the listserv and told them she wanted to start a group to help bring an increased number of passenger lists online. The idea was not received very warmly. In fact, some individuals on the listserv sent discouraging remarks.
“I heard, ‘It has been tried many times before. It has always failed. You won’t be able to do it. It will cost too much money, and it is impossible.’ Really that is all I needed to hear, and I was determined to make it happen,” McCormack said.
McCormack sent out a new email and received 20 responses from individuals who wanted to help. Not long after, 14 lists were posted on the Web from the volunteers’ work and were part of the Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild site.
“Transcribing manifests, with their hard-to-read handwriting, and bringing them to life online is a labor of love” said Pam O’Day, ISTG charter member and surname coordinator from Havre de Grace, MD. “My own contribution to the Guild is to upload the surnames from the manifests into alphabetic files for ease in researching. Our work will not be done until the last available manifest has been transcribed.”
Corporate Communications Director
About Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild
Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild (ISTG) was founded by a small group of people in late September of 1998. Today, ISTG has more 500 volunteers who work diligently to decipher and transcribe passenger lists which are then uploaded to its Web site.
About FamilyLink.com, Inc.
FamilyLink.com, Inc. is a family of services that includes WorldVitalRecords.com, FamilyLink.com, and the We’re Related application on Facebook. The focus of the company is to provide innovative tools to connect families. FamilyLink.com, Inc. has more than 1.9 million unique global visitors each month and 17.5 million impressions per month. Founded in 2006 by Paul Allen and several key members of the original Ancestry.com team, WorldVitalRecords.com provides affordable access to genealogy databases and family history tools. More than 30,000 individuals have subscribed to WorldVitalRecords.com. With more than a billion records and thousands of databases–including birth, death, military, census, and parish records–WorldVitalRecords.com makes it easy to fill in missing information in your family tree. Some of its partners include Everton Publishers, Quintin Publications, Archive CD Books Australia, Gould Genealogy, Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild, Archive CD Books Canada, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., SmallTownPapers®, Accessible Archives, Genealogical Publishing Company, Find My Past, Godfrey Memorial Library, Find A Grave, and FamilySearch. Investors include vSpring Capital and several angel investors.