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:

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.

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