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Do you have collections that have significant genealogical value? Are you interested in getting the collection digitised? If so, we would like to hear from you as there is a potential funding opportunity.

Digitising heritage collections is a very costly business, simply because of the labour intensive and highly technical nature of the task. There is, however, potential funding available through Ancestry 24 for Africa Media Online to digitise your collection.

We are particularly looking for genealogical records such as birth-, death- and marriage certificates; birth and death notices; and researched genealogies. This could also include yearbooks, registers, certificates and photographs. Although there is interest in the broad spectrum of South African families, of particular interest right now are:

  • Minority immigrant language groups (including churches)
  • Afrikaans Heritage including churches
  • Cape-Malay heritage
  • Schools with a rich history
  • There is a particular need for material from the Free State and Gauteng

Ancestry 24′s interest in funding this work is to host the digitised records on Ancestry24.com where they do charge for certain levels of access. The site is the largest online destination for South African genealogists, hosting the biggest online collection of genealogy material pertaining to South African families. It was a partner in the SABC TV-series Who Do You Think You Are?

Decisions to award funding will be based on the value of the collection, similarity to existing collections and budget considerations. All applications are welcomed. You will, however, need to be happy to make the records available on Ancestry24.com. At the same time, the digital records will also be delivered to you for preservation purposes as well as access for the audience you want to reach.

What we at Africa Media Online are passionate about is ensuring that your collections are digitised at Archival quality so that the standards for long term archiving are met. This means that the original object does not need to be handled in order to grant access to the public and so it can be preserved for future generations.

If you are not adverse to Ancestry 24 getting a return from their investment and the interested public gaining access to the records, then I do believe this is a valuable opportunity to get part of your collection digitised both for preservation and access purposes. Please email me on: editor@africamediaonline.com if you would like to apply. I will then send you a short application form. The deadline for applications is April 22, 2011.