LOS ANGELES (NEWSnet/AP) — The names of thousands of people who were held in Japanese American incarceration camps during World War II will be digitally searchable, genealogy company Ancestry announced Wednesday.

The website, which is one of the largest global online resources of family history, is collaborating with the Irei Project, which has been working to memorialize more than 125,000 detainees. It's an ideal partnership as the project's researchers were already utilizing Ancestry.

With this collaboration, people will be able to find more than just names but also “a bigger story of a person,” said Duncan Ryuken Williams, the Irei Project director.

"Being able to research and contextualize a person who has a longer view of family history and community history, and ultimately, American history, that's what it's about — this collaboration,” Williams said.

In response to the 1941 attack by Japan on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on Feb. 19, 1942, to allow for the incarceration of people of Japanese ancestry. Thousands of people — two-thirds of whom were Americans — were forced to leave their homes and relocate to camps with barracks and barbed wire. Some detainees went on to enlist in the U.S. military.

Through Ancestry's database, people will be able to tap into scanned documents from that era such as military draft cards, photographs from WWII, and Census records from 1940 and 1950. Most of the documentation will be accessible outside of a paywall.

Williams, a religion professor at the University of Southern California and a Buddhist priest, says Ancestry also will have names that have been attentively spell-checked. Irei Project researchers took efforts to verify names that were mangled on some government camp rosters and other documents.

“So, our project, we say it's a project of remembrance as well as a project of repair,” Williams said. “We try to correct the historical record.”

The Irei Project debuted a massive book at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles that contains a list of verified names the week of Feb. 19, which is a Day of Remembrance for the Japanese American Community.

The book, called the Ireicho, will be on display until Dec. 1. The project also launched its own website with the names as well as light installations at old camp sites and the museum.

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