three-year digitization effort
Silver Rock Partners recently came across an enlightening and interesting article in CBS Money Watch online regarding a recent three-year digitization effort by ancestry.com. The project involves making information available from a historical perspective about a large number of Americans as viewed through their family wills. The article goes on to discuss how this information that has been out of reach for centuries and is now available online in digital format. Historians and genealogists alike as well as professionals and those with a genuine sense of intrigue will find this huge collection of data and information spellbinding.
the lives of those from past centuries
One interesting comment made in the article by a researcher, Laura Lovett is that wills of this nature enable people today to peer into the lives of historical figures and others in a way that would otherwise not be possible. In essence, she goes on to say that we are able to look into the lives of those from past centuries and understand their values and what was important to them at that time. In fact, a will is a unique document in that it may be the only written evidence that an individual actually existed in past times.
a treasure trove of historical insight
While birth certificates, marriage certificates and various types of census data and information afforded the opportunity to research historical family records, wills provide more detail and more specifics than most people understand. Ancestry.com has provided an excellent service in this regard by converting large numbers of historical wills into digital format. This provides for a level of access to historical data and information that to-date was simply not possible. In short, the in-depth and detailed information made available in this digital collection is a treasure trove of historical insight that has never been available before.
access historical family data
Even more promising is the fact that this digitized collection of wills can now allow individuals to research family roots and family history in a more detailed and rewarding way. From family relationships to an overall understanding of family wealth and a glimpse into the actual possessions that were owned by family members centuries ago, this large-scale unraveling of historical wills in digitized format is truly priceless. The sheer scale of this collection of wills (that is estimated to be around 100 million in total) will likely change how individuals and researchers access historical family data forever.
High-net-worth individuals and affluent families
Having access to millions of historical wills of Americans online is an important move forward in not only understanding the past, but in understanding current times. When individuals are able to better grasp how legacies and fortunes were passed along through the generations it is easier to make more sound decisions in current times. High-net-worth individuals and affluent families today will likely leverage this new information to great advantage. Having access to historical records of this kind can be beneficial to estate planning efforts and in passing wealth to heirs and future generations in a more informed and more logical manner.
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