To all our members and communities...
Like so many around the world, at Findmypast we’ve been grappling with the events in the US and the UK. The murder of George Floyd, and so many before him, has illuminated just how much racism exists. It makes us sad and angry. It also makes us uncomfortable, because it causes us to reflect on racism that’s close to home, that may feel harder to change.
However hard it is, we all have a responsibility to confront racism. We stand in solidarity with the black community – with our black employees, customers and members of the genealogy community – and that means taking action to make change, even when it’s hard.
Here are the things we are doing at Findmypast to confront racism:
Recent protests show us that society is struggling with how to contextualise history. All of us at Findmypast believe that we have a role to play in developing a new shared perspective. Findmypast helps people research family, local and social history. We are reviewing how we can make our historical records and newspapers work harder to educate about the history and context of slavery, racism, and the struggle for equality. The stories in our collections are challenging, but we will shine a spotlight on them nonetheless, so that we can learn from our collective history.
Second, we will lend our specific expertise to organisations holding archives that illuminate the history of black people. We will step up our search for opportunities to digitise or publish such archives and make them accessible. In partnership with The National Archives, we have digitised thousands of passenger lists and records from the Royal African Company 1694-1743. The Royal African Company played a large role in the transatlantic slave trade. The records include the names of officers, servants, traders, merchants, labourers, soldiers and many more who travelled with the company. These records are free to use.
Third, we are examining our own assumptions and behaviours. We will listen to the perspectives of our employees, customers, and the genealogy community. We will continue to review our recruiting and hiring practices. We will improve our reporting on diversity. We recognise that there is so much more to do.
Fourth, we hold ourselves accountable. We will measure our progress. We will report back to our community by the end of the year on how we are doing.
And, I invite you to be part of this journey of learning and action. Please contribute your ideas and thoughts on how together, we can confront racism. Together, we can help build a more inclusive future.