If you haven't taken the survey yet, you can find it at: http://www.cusurveycentre.ca/gensurvey
Sunday, 18 December 2011
Wednesday, 14 December 2011
Friday, 2 December 2011
The Otttawa Citizen got in touch with us last week for a story about the blog that got delayed until this afternoon in its on-line edition. It has that old estimate, but you might find it interesting at:
Thursday, 1 December 2011
Saturday, 26 November 2011
A bit of publicity associated with taking down the survey produced remarkable results. We are approaching about 2400 completed surveys. That is an astounding figure, particularly with such an extensive a series of questions. We now feel we have a reasonable sample of the Canadian genealogical community. A quick survey seems to point to distribution from across the country, with a healthy number of people from outside the country who are interested in Canadian lines.
Thursday, 17 November 2011
Wednesday, 16 November 2011
This is a quick reminder that on Wednesday, November 30th the Canadian Genealogy Survey will finally close. After this date, it will no longer be accessible. If anyone you know still has not had a chance to fill out the survey but is interested in doing so, please pass along this message to them. A link to the survey is found on the homepage of this blog.
We would like to thank all those who have taken the time to fill out the survey. We are eagerly anticipating the results and cannot wait share them with you.
Friday, 4 November 2011
We are enormously pleased and thankful for all those who have taken the trouble to complete the survey. We were convinced from the beginning that genealogists and family historians would be both interested and anxious to share their experiences with us. We are presently making plans to close off the survey toward the end of November, so if there is anyone reading this blog who has not completed it or who knows of someone who should but has not, please feel free to do it in the next few weeks.
We will not be able to do a complete analysis of the results until the survey is completed and the survey is closed, at which point the results will be coded for analysis with a statistical package. But we have been able to access answers to a number of the qualitative or “open-ended” questions and will begin sharing some of our first impressions in the hope that we might stimulate some
Thursday, 3 November 2011
The first question in our survey invited people to discus why they had started to do genealogical research in the first place. We are still a long way from dealing with all the responses to this question, which also had a followup asking about why people continue to do so.
But we are able to access a few of the text files from the survey. Responses were quite varied; but there were some clear trends. I have pasted a few of the more typical responses below to give a sense of the range of answers: One really simple and quite common one was a single word “curiosity”; but a number of others were more extended about the source of their inspiration.
“I was planning a trip to Scotland and wanted to learn more about my family history before I went, to make the trip more meaningful."
"Mother was approaching 90 yrs. old and she had a briefcase full of data. When she was in her declining years, she talked a lot about her family. It stirred my interest. I inherited the briefcase when she died at 93 yrs. of age. Our roots are very exciting; I now have a passion (addiction) to researching our families.”
“I started after listening to stories from my grandparents about their life, what it was like when they were growing up, how they met, etc. However, I married, had children and 'life' got in the way of doing much research. I, regretfully, lost the opportunity to get oral histories and stories before my grandparents and parents died. I have always enjoyed puzzles and find genealogy like one big puzzle; always such a great feeling when finding another 'piece' of the family tree.”
So... at least a couple of the responses can be categorized as inheritance of a legacy of involvement, and the contextualization of family stories that had been handed down. And sometimes it is just serendipity associated with a particular occasion or event.
Friday, 7 October 2011
The National Post last week on October 1st featured story by Kathryn Carlson about the genealogical involvement of a comparatively large number of Newfoundland and Labradorians in the pursuit of native status. http://www.nationalpost.com/news/Newfound+natives/5487209/story.html
This was prompted by an announcement last year that the federal government was finally recognizing the rights of descendants of the Mi’kmaw of Newfoundland and Labrador.
- The qualification for recognition is entirely genealogical; i.e. individuals have to establish at least one native ancestor. It has prompted a wide search in genealogical sources and has kept genealogists in the province busy for the past several months.
- This raises an interesting question about the political uses of genealogy and the extent to which pursuit of genealogy can be driven by perceived gains to be made from associating with some particular group in the past. It is also a commentary on the changing nature of prejudice. Evidently, many Newfoundlanders had buried their Mi’kmaw heritage to escape discrimination based on race; today they are pursuing that status to activate the privileges associated with registered status as native Canadians
Wednesday, 5 October 2011
We have completed a second revision of our ongoing bibliography regarding scholarly studies in Genealogy and Family History. The bibliography can be found on the ‘Studies in Genealogy’ tab beside the ‘Home’ tab at the top of the blog.
Saturday, 17 September 2011
She's pictured at our table at the BIFHSGO Conference, where we've been chatting with people about the survey. If you are in the Ottawa area, it's not too late to attend. The conference runs today and tomorrow (September 17 and 18). BIFHSGO accepts walk-in registrations and we'd love to see you too!
Thanks to our fellow exhibitors: Arnprior and McNabb/Braeside Archives, Osgoode & Township Historical Society, Rideau Township Historical Society, and Gatineau Valley Historical Society for agreeing to spread the message about the survey to their members and clients.
Monday, 12 September 2011
Friday, 19 August 2011
- Why the surge in genealogy? Several people we talked with during our tour of local museums and archives were less convinced that there was still a surge in interest. They seemed convinced that their own local communities had less need for formal genealogy, since small town and rural people were more conscious of their own roots and sensitive to the origins of their families; in other words "rooted" within their communities. Instead, they talked of genealogy as being important for people "from away," but with local roots, as their main clientele. The notion that the rise in genealogy was a function of distance from the original places associated with their families resonates through the scholarly literature.
- Scholars discuss issues of identity in post-modern society, seen to be characterized by rapidly increased mobility and a sense of "rootlessness" on the part of large parts of the world's populations, as a leading impulse for current genealogical interest. But mobility and migration has long been a feature of Canadian society, particularly in Atlantic Canada.
- Whether our survey will show people pursuing genealogy to discover roots or for other purposes remains to be seen. A very preliminary look at the results point to several sources for interest in family pasts. A dominant theme in responses to why people do genealogy and family history is sheer interest. Instead of searching for some sense of identity, respondents spoke more about inheriting their interest in family history from relatives or friends and just becoming "obsessed" with the interesting things they were discovering. More on this theme later as we have a closer look at the responses.
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
- We are safely back from the trip of a lifetime; we visited two dozen or so local and county museums and archives throughout Nova Scotia during the past week. Thanks to everyone who received us so kindly and shared their information about the doing of genealogy on the ground at the local level. It was great to meet so many of the people we had corresponded with and all those summer students who work so hard to help visitors to these institutions.
- On our return to Margaree we were able to check out the survey and found we are up to a thousand completed surveys; all in the course of less than one month. We are just beginning to roll out the survey information in other provinces, where quite a lot of interest has already been shown, despite the fact that we had done little to advertise the survey there until this weekend.
- So, thanks to all those who have completed thus far; and keep telling your friends to come and visit us. We would like to at least double those numbers by the time that we take the survey down sometime in November.
- We are looking forward to getting the results out as soon as we are able to access the completed surveys, which we may not be able to do until the survey period is completed in November.
Saturday, 13 August 2011
Thanks also to Robert Ross for posting a link to our survey from his website PEI and NS Lineages (http://peitiger.tribalpages.com/tribe/browse?userid=peitiger&view=9&randi=634101638) and to the Cape Breton Genealogy and Historical Association (http://www.cbgen.org/) for letting their members know about the survey.
Our next stop was at the Admiral Digby Museum, in Digby(http://www.admuseum.ns.ca/). We had a great chat with Curator Sheryl Stanton, seen chatting with Del below, and her able assistants, (left to right) Raylene Frances, Kassie Tidd and Gabbie Cyr.
We finished our day with a visit to the O'Dell House Museum in Annapolis Royal (http://www.annapolisheritagesociety.com/odell.htm). Del found some spin tops to add to his collection. They go nicely with those he picked up at the Queen's County Museum.
It was great to see our poster displayed in all of these places and to learn that people have been picking up the brochure.
Wednesday, 10 August 2011
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
In the photo at top left are Age of Sail Curator Oralee O'Bryne and Del. We toured the museum and had a great lunch at the cafe. Thanks for your hospitality Oralee!
Today we're starting with the Cumberland County Museum and Archives and hope to visit several other sites along the way to Wolfville.
The photo at top left is of Del outside the Antigonish Heritage Museum, making friends the The Conductor.
Monday, 8 August 2011
Sunday, 7 August 2011
Thursday, 4 August 2011
Just a reminder; we would appreciate any suggestions for adding to this bibliography and would welcome comments on any of the articles or books we have included.
As well we would like to do some thematic review essays of some of the monographs that have been published in recent years.
While it is difficult to create mutually exclusive sub-categories, we have arranged material in a way that makes sense to us; but we urge you to scroll through the complete bibliography to see how wide-ranging the scholarly interest in genealogy is.
Friday, 29 July 2011
While there were no discernable differences based on where people lived, there was a marked difference in the age and gender of genealogists. (see graphic below) The stepwise age structure, advancing up to 65 then receding sharply, reflected the bias in our national sample, which included a large number of the baby-boomers of the post-WWII era, obviously the most engaged portion of the community. Almost a third of genealogists come from the 50-65 year old cohort a much larger proportion than the overall survey respondents, but also reflecting that population bulge that has so influenced all aspects of consumption in the past half century.
The gender distribution also reflected the national sample overall, though the proportion of women doing genealogy was higher for every age range than was the norm for the national survey. This also mimics what we see in various national surveys that have been undertaken elsewhere in the world.
We hope to have occasional postings about the genealogical community as revealed in Canadians and their Pasts.
Comments on this demographic profile would be welcome.
Genealogists by age and gender (n=659)
Wednesday, 27 July 2011
There is absolutely no restriction whatsoever. The news releases we sent out emphasized that we are planning a national survey; but because of limited resources and propinquity we decided to concentrate our first effort on Nova Scotia. It just happened that the Cape Breton Post was quickest to feature the survey in its news, prompting some additional publicity here. That has been very positive for the launch of the survey and we appreciate all the help we have been getting. Naturally they emphasized the local connections. but we want to assure readers that we have no intention of limiting the project to Cape Breton or to Nova Scotia.
But we are anxious to have as broad a clientele as possible. We will be undertaking publicity initiatives in other provinces a little later on. While we welcome survey completions from anywhere in country -- and the world for that matter. We he had a number of takers in other countries already, as well of course as from other parts of the country.
So; please feel free to take the survey now as it will all go into a common data base; but we will be able to sort for different locations as we go along.
Today much of that collaborative work of early digitization has been uploaded onto the web for instant consumption by people anywhere in the world, some of it facilitated by the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints. As those data bases have become more sophisticated, they have also become monetized, with Ancestry.com leading the way in efforts to corner a large part of the international market for family related data. The world us not entirely controled by such money making consortia; though even publicly funded archives now charge liberally for those precious hard copies of vital statistic records, etc.
Given that ours is an on-line survey it is not surprising that our respondents are virtually all on the internet; which confirms the finding of the Canadians and Their Pasts survey that those who engaged in family history were more lilely to have internet connections than those who did not.
Here is the CB Post article: