Ancestry.com aids in UIndy search for roots
Relationship with university is first for popular family history website
The University of Indianapolis is teaming up with Ancestry.com, the world’s largest online family history resource, in a first-of-its-kind initiative to encourage students to explore and reflect on how their family history impacts their identity.
All UIndy students, faculty and staff have been granted access to Ancestry.com content from computers and mobile devices anywhere on campus. That content – 11 billion searchable documents and images – includes census records, prison logs, ship manifests, historic newspapers and yearbook photos in addition to 40 million online family trees.
The company is providing on-campus workshops and seminars to help the UIndy community make the most of the online product. UIndy faculty members, particularly in disciplines such as history, are enthusiastic about the classroom potential of giving students easy access to the vast database of historical documents.
Although Ancestry.com has worked previously with libraries and other institutions, this is its first such relationship in the field of higher education.
“Helping people discover their family history is at the heart of our mission at Ancestry.com,” said Brian Hansen, general manager of the Ancestry Institution Product. “We are excited to work alongside the University of Indianapolis to enable students and staff to uncover new information about their ancestors that will help them better understand who they are and where they come from.”
At UIndy, the Ancestry.com access is a key component in the annual University Series of programs and events. This year’s series features guest speakers, discussions and workshops built around the theme “Who Do You Think You Are?”
As a starting point for the students’ exploration of heritage, the university adopted a common reader for the campus community, the 2009 book “The Ties That Bind: A Memoir of Race, Memory, and Redemption” by Bertice Berry. Berry, an African-American sociologist and writer, explored her family history and found a story far more complex than the black-and-white tale of slavery and tragedy that she expected. Three-fourths of the university’s incoming freshmen voluntarily bought the book, and hundreds attended a campus lecture by Berry in September.
The coordinators of UIndy’s University Series hope students also uncover life-changing revelations in their own family histories.
“This is about being able to make sense of yourself – past, present and future,” said Dan Stoker, UIndy’s executive director of student services. “In confronting the truth, you can learn something vitally important and see the world in new ways.”
The University of Indianapolis is a private, comprehensive institution of higher education founded in 1902, with a home campus of more than 5,400 students, a wholly owned branch in Athens, Greece, and partnership sites in Asia and Latin America. Its challenging undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs include nationally ranked offerings in the health sciences. Two centers of excellence make UIndy a leader in education reform and aging studies. More information is available at www.uindy.edu.
Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world’s largest online family history resource, with approximately 2 million paying subscribers. More than 11 billion records have been added to the site in the past 15 years. Ancestry users have created more than 40 million family trees containing approximately 4 billion profiles. In addition to its flagship site, Ancestry.com offers several localized Web sites designed to empower people to discover, preserve and share their family history.
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