There are lots of blogs out there to help you learn how to do family history research. This blog lets you watch our progress as we roll the Canadian Genealogy Survey out across the country. We'll also track developments in research on family history. It's a bit of a twist, but we hope you'll find something of interest. We welcome your comments.

If you haven't taken the survey yet, you can find it at:

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


How has the Internet influenced genealogy; are genealogists active users of social media? It's tempting to declare that genealogists invented social media. The so called "Golden Age" of modern genealogy (roughly from the 1970s to the 1990s) was characterized by a rapid expansion of the numbers and memberships of genealogical societies, as well as by the collaborative nature of the genalogical community that emerged. In many ways it was participation at the highest level of engagement; literally thousands of volunteers contributed to developing data bases, to which they could have only limited access via early cds and dvds, and which were likely to be of only occasional use for specific family searches on very scarce and small capacity computers. But the greater good required that censuses, vital records and gravestones be entered into searchable data-bases, which, in fact, largely preceded the internet as we know it.

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 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.
A very preliminary look at the first 1250 people to fill in our survey confirms this finding in spades. The modern genealogist is vastly connected with the web through a wide variety of discussion groups and web-sites. Many are involved with face-book sites concerning their communities or family history searches. Social media is becoming an indispensible tool; though we have to do some more detailed analysis of the survey results to get a sense of the dimensions of the trend.

No comments:

Post a Comment