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Volunteers are scanning Ellis Island Records (SF Examiner 2/2/99). Climbing the family tree will take a lot less clawing as soon as a nonprofit foundation finishes a more than $15 million project to post Ellis Island immigration records on the internet. By helping people to access information instantly that previously was buried in a bureaucratic quagmire, the project will revolutionize genealogicial research for many of the more than 113 million Americans who already actively pursue their family histories. Officials at the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Foundation in NY, the same organization that gave Lady Liberty a face lift in 1986 without any public funding, estimate that more than 40% of Americans can trace their European ancestry back to Ellis Island. By the end of 2000, the foundation hopes, people will be able
to enter any information they know about a progenitor and the program will search more than 20 million records for a match. The software will even be able to tolerate misspellings. If a match is found, the researcher can choose to print out a photo of the ship and a copy of the original manifesto that marked the immigrant's arrival.
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