On the 12th October 2022, Ancestry, the global leader in family history and genealogy, announced its exciting new partnership. Launching in November 2022, Ancestry shall unite with Imperial War Museums, a global authority on war and its impact on people’s lives.

Over the coming years, Ancestry will digitise and add thousands of pieces of content from the museums’ rich collection to its website. As a result, this will provide a huge swell of resources for people across the UK to learn more about their wartime family history. The digitisation will consist of many previously unseen items from the museums’ archive, such as photographs of people in military service and those on the Homefront, wartime documents, films, audio recordings and wartime objects including enlistment posters, uniforms and tools. The records are made up of the everyday and the exceptional, revealing wartime stories of people, places and events. Some of the core fundamentals of the partnership are as follows;

  • The major partnership will help people across the country discover more about their wartime family history.
  • Thousands of previously unseen items from Imperial War Museums’ archives including photographs, art, film, sound recordings and wartime objects will be digitised, adding to Ancestry’s extensive online wartime collections.
  • This follows recent record launches on Ancestry including the UK, Women’s Land Army Index Cards,1939-1945 and UK, World War II War Diaries, 1939-1946*

Ancestry has more than 30 billion records, including the largest online military collection globally, allowing over three million subscribers to access records and information that will enable them to trace their ancestors back to wartime periods. These records add to Ancestry’s extensive digitised wartime collections, which are growing significantly year-on-year to collectively uncover pivotal moments. Hannah Wilson, Manager at Ancestry, comments:

We are thrilled to be working with Imperial War Museums. The new content will not only add to Ancestry’s extensive digitised wartime collections, but allow more people to explore the experiences and life stories of their ancestors during wartime periods through photos, letters, diaries, posters, artefacts, film and voice recordings,’’

It also forms part of our long-term ambition to grow our record offering even further and make family history accessible to all.

Hannah Wilson, UK and Ireland Country Manager at Ancestry 

 Imperial War Museums is the UK’s leading group of museums of war and conflict. Founded while the First World War was still raging, it gives a voice to the extraordinary experiences of ordinary people forced to live their lives in a world torn apart by conflict. The Imperial War Museums have branches at five different locations around England and are considered a unique insight to understanding wartime lifestyle and culture. Vicky Stanbury, Imperial War Museum’s executive director, voices her excitement at the collaboration:

IWM and Ancestry share a common goal; to deepen our understanding of how periods of war and conflict have impacted people’s lives throughout history. By partnering with Ancestry, and providing broader access to IWM’s rich archives, we hope to enhance the already vast collection of records and documents users can access to allow them to find out even more about how their family members experienced war, whether it be out on the battlefield or supporting efforts on home soil. We are excited to launch this partnership and help to tell stories of wartime which deserve to be heard.

 Vicky Stanbury, IWM’s Executive Director of Commercial & Operations

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