Ancestry.com Offers Free Public Access to nearly 60 Million Historical World War II Records in Remembrance of the 70th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor Attack
Collection includes the most comprehensive set of WWII Navy Muster Rolls ever released online and exclusive Pearl Harbor veteran records
PROVO, UTAH – (December 2, 2011) – In remembrance of the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which marked the United States’ entrance into World War II, Ancestry.com (Nasdaq: ACOM), the world’s largest online family history resource, today announced it is offering six days (December 2-7) of free access to its entire World War II Collection. One in five Americans is a direct descendant of a WWII veteran, with four out of five having a WWII veteran in their families, according to research done by Ancestry.com. The Pearl Harbor attack spurred millions of Americans into military action. By the end of the war, nearly 16 million Americans had served in the U.S. Armed Forces - more than a quarter in the U.S. Navy.
Highlighting the World War II Collection is the release of the World War II Navy Muster Rolls (1939-1949), which includes more than 33 million records detailing nearly all enlisted personnel who served aboard a U.S. Navy ship between January 1939 and January 1949, including more than 2,400 Americans who were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Muster Rolls provided quarterly reports of personnel assigned to a ship, duty station or other activity. These reports noted sailors who experienced significant changes in status, such as promotions, transfers, leave or time in the infirmary. In addition to all enlisted men, the Navy Muster Rolls also include selected officers, female officers of the Army and Navy Nurse Corps, wives and daughters of Navy personnel and civilians. Nearly anyone searching for a family member who was enlisted in the Navy during this time period should be able to find their records in this collection. These new U.S. Navy Muster Rolls and the entire World War II collections can be found at www.ancestry.com/pearlharbor
Carol Horner-Iacona of San Marcos, Texas has utilized the U.S. Navy Muster Rolls to create a book of memory honoring her father who served as a Seaman First Class V-6 aboard the U.S.S. Helena, which was torpedoed on the morning of December 7th in Pearl Harbor. Charles Horner, now 91, was unable to speak of his experience in the war until recently. The records Carol has uncovered have helped fill in the gaps to a family story she hopes is never forgotten, including more than a dozen records of his service during WWII, including the Muster Rolls detailing his post on that fateful day at Pearl Harbor.
“The attack on Pearl Harbor pulled the United States into the deadliest conflict in world history," said Donald L. Miller, critically acclaimed author of The Story of World War II and host and associate-producer of the new HBO documentary, He Has Seen War. “Only 11 percent of World War II veterans are still alive today, and as many of these veterans continue to pass on, our connection to these historic events is being lost. By making these records available, Ancestry.com is helping to keep the stories of these brave men and women alive.”
Ancestry.com is further expanding the World War II collection by making these new records available as part of the free access promotion:
- National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl Cemetery) Database- This collection contains more than 120,000 records from 1949 to 1976, including headstone images and photos of names on war memorials. Seven hundred veterans who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor are buried at the Cemetery. This is the second largest final resting place for crewmen who lost their lives on December 7, 1941, the primary resting place being the USS Arizona Memorial.Together these two locations comprise the majority of the 2,402 Americans who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor. Also buried at Punchbowl Cemetery are veterans of the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa. This unique collection is available only on Ancestry.com and offers families the opportunity to pay their respects and discover information about their ancestor’s final resting place.
- U.S. WWII Young Men’s Draft Cards -This collection includes draft cards from theseven draft registrations held between November 1940 and December 1942. Because of privacy laws, information on most of these registrations was not previously available to the public. The first installment of these cards includes almost two million filled out by men living in North Carolina who were born between 1897 and 1929.
“World War II impacted millions of American families and we felt this was an appropriate time to make our collection available at no cost to provide the public an opportunity to explore through records, how the War may have touched their families,” said Josh Hanna, Executive Vice President, Ancestry.com. “Ancestry.com hosts the largest online collection of historical military records and these new additions to our World War II catalog add further depth to this important collection.”
About Ancestry.com (www.ancestry.com)
Ancestry.com Inc. (Nasdaq: ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with more than 1.7 million paying subscribers. More than 7 billion records have been added to the site in the past 15 years. Ancestry users have created more than 28 million family trees containing over 2.8 billion profiles. Ancestry.com has local Web sites directed at nine countries that help people discover, preserve and share their family history, including its flagship Web site at www.ancestry.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include our continuing ability to acquire, digitize and make desired content conveniently available to our subscribers. Information concerning additional factors that could cause events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements is contained under the caption "Risk Factors" in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2011, and in discussions in other of our Securities and Exchange Commission filings. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date and we assume no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward-looking statements.
Descendent/relative estimates were made by constructing a population growth model from 1940-2011, factoring in birth and death rates as well as immigration/emigration rates. This model shows how a specific population (in this case WWII veterans) will have multiplied over the period and what proportion of today's population is made up of their ancestors. Statistics on servicemen numbers was sourced from the Department of Veteran Affairs America's Wars Fact Sheet November 2011. Casualty rates were sourced from the Pacific War Online Encyclopedia.