Wednesday, April 19, 2006

AncestryBank Now Accepting Deposits

AncestryBank is an intriguing new genealogy website that purports to be "the largest archive of manuscript images and transcripts from private sources on the web." My failure to find documents featuring any of my own favorite surnames would seem to give lie to this claim, but I'm willing to give the AncestryBank folks the benefit of the doubt, and a year or two to build up their inventory.

Search for your ancestors by name, language, country, and range of years, and (if you're lucky) you'll get brief descriptions of pre-1875 documents matching your criteria. See something you like, and you'll be able to download it for $5 per image and transcription.

And now for what's intriguing: the site is built on user submissions. Transcribe and upload images of documents you own, and you'll earn $2.50 whenever someone downloads it. You can also earn money ($0.25 per download) by transcribing other people's documents.

The site has some bugs to work out, but could become a successful enterprise and—what's more important—bring genealogists some extra cash. And if it motivates people to make their private archives public, that's all to the good.


Sounds cool, but the site doesn't work with Firefox. With IE, it sometimes takes two clicks to activate a link. I'll pass.


The cross-browser problem is one of the bugs I'm hoping they work out. I also found that the links at the bottom of some pages had "htm" extensions instead of "php," and led to non-functioning pages.

Let's just say that AncestryBank is still in beta, and give it another try in a few months.

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