Monday, December 20, 2010

Is Genealogy Interest Waning? Facts from Google Insights for Search

I was watching BBC TV the other day (Graham Norton, to be exact), and he showed a Google search comparing how often his name was searched compared to Justin Bieber.  It was not surprising that Justin Bieber won that search, but it got me thinking about this new Google product.  Would it show the increased interest in genealogy?

The search is called Google Insights for Search and it is a beta site.  So, how did the site work with the terms "genealogy" and "family history?"  I entered both search terms, and Google allowed me to search from 2004 to the present.  I chose Worldwide, and decided to choose all categories:
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I was surprised to see the results.  Could interest in genealogy be waning?  According to the chart below, since 2004 the search terms of "genealogy" and "family history" do indeed show a steady decline:

(Click on image to enlarge)

Could this be true?  Could genealogy and family history interest be waning?  Fortunately there were additional charts that provided more clues about genealogy in the internet world.  Here are the top search terms according to Google:

(Click on image to enlarge)

I found it funny that some people still don't know how to spell genealogy (No. 3)!  And, according to the top searches above, my search term "genealogy" was not even in the Top 10.  Two of the top searches included the word "free," which I agree is lovely to find when you are researching your genealogy.  It was also interesting to note that some people associate genealogy with the LDS faith (No. 9).

Of greater interest was the Rising Searches chart:

(Click on image to enlarge)
Coming in 3rd and 7th place was again the "free" word.  More importantly is the fact that the rising searches shows healthy searches for all-things genealogy, some exceeding 200%.

My last graph to show you is Regional interest.  I was surprised to see that New Zealand took top honors:
(Click on image to enlarge)

Is interest in genealogy is waning?  I think not.  My simple conclusion is that since 2004 more people are aware of family history and genealogy, but are just more sophisticated Googlers.  And, there are more of us to boot.  What do you think?


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tips for Starting Your Family History

For some, family history research may seem overwhelming!  The following general principles can help make family history research "doable."  These principles apply no matter what part of the world your ancestors lived in.
1. Choose a family or individual to learn about.

2. Write down what you know about the person or family. Find out what others may know about these people.

3. Decide what you want to learn about your ancestor, such as:

A. Birth or christening information
B. Marriage information
C. Death or burial information
D. Parents’ names
E. Children or descendants
F. Spouse
G. Other

4. Look for the most recent records in an ancestor’s life, and work back in time.  Although you may be looking for birth or christening information, you may find this information in a death, obituary, or cemetery record.

5. Learn something about the area where the ancestor lived. If you know the name of the village, county, state, parish, or diocese where a person lived, it will be much easier to find records about your ancestor. A topographical dictionary or gazetteer is a good place to start learning about an area.

6. Obtain and search the record that may contain the information you want to learn.  You can do this at the Phoenix Family History Center, or from the comfort of your own home if you have internet access.

7. Use the information you have found. Evaluate the material by asking questions about how the new information fits with what you already know.

A. Did you find the information you were searching?
B. Is the information complete?
C. Does it conflict with information you already have?

I have more tips for beginners here.

As always, if you are in the Phoenix area, there are Family History Consultants to help you at the Phoenix Family History Library at 3102 North 18th Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85015-5811, 602-264-2825.  Or, visit any of the LDS Family History Centers in your area (find a library in your area here).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Win 2 Free Tickets to The Arizona Family History Expo Jan 21-22, 2011

January 3, 2011 Update:  Congratulations to Janet Carruth, winner of two free tickets to the Arizona Family History Expo!

The Arizona Family History Expo is coming on January 21-22, 2011 to Mesa, Arizona!  Come join us for two days of genealogy and learn about researching your family history from expert speakers.  Try out the latest genealogical tools in the Exhibit Hall.  Whether you are a beginner or a professional, come learn the tech to trace your roots!

I am also honored to be speaking at the Expo on Saturday.  My topic will be "Google Tips & Tricks to Find Those Genealogy Treasures."  I hope to see you there!


In addition, I am going to be a Blogger of Honor!  As a Blogger of Honor, I have two free tickets to give away for the Expo.  If you would like to enter the drawing for these two tickets (value $150 total), please send me your name, email address and phone to the email address listed on the Profile page of my blog (click here) before January 1st.  Drawing will be held January 2, so get your entry in now!

To learn more about the Arizona Family History Expo on January 21-22, 2011, go to or call 801-829-3295.  Early Registration is $65, and Door Registration is $75.  You can also choose to register for one day ($40) or you can just attend a few classes ($12/class).

Look forward to seeing you there!


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