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:

Bibliography Update


Last Updated: October 3, 2011

Several scholarly disciplines study genealogy and genealogists.  Sociologists are concerned with how doing genealogy reflects or is impacted by issues of identity.  Scholars of tourism are interested in how it impacts roots tourism, a field particularly relevant to British/Scots/Irish communities, but increasingly relevant to other places as well.  Cultural geographers approach issues of identity with a place-based set of questions that attempt to situate genealogy between place and identity.  Historians have shown relatively little interest in genealogy, which is a shame as they have so much to learn from the practices of genealogists.

This bibliography is a work-in-progress. We will update it periodically and provide abstracts where they are provided. Suggestions for items that should appear here would be welcome. You can scroll through the document or use the hyperlinks below to move to a specific section.

 Family History/Genealogy

*Akenson, Donald H. (2007), Some Family: The Mormons and How Humanity Keeps Track of Itself, McGill-Queens University Press, Montreal and Kingston.

Andrews, Peter (1982), “Genealogy: The Search for a Personal Past,” American Heritage, Vol. 33, No. 5, pp. 10-16.

Ayoub, Millicent R. (1966), “The Family Reunion,” Ethnology, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 415-433.

Bennett, Margaret (2005), “From the Quebec-Hebrideans to ‘les Écossais-Québécois’:  Tracing the Evolution of a Scottish Cultural Identity in Canada’s Eastern Townships,`` in Celeste Ray (Ed.), Transatlantic Scots, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, pp. 120-155.

Bishop, Ronald (2005), “The Essential Force of the Clan: Developing a Collecting-Inspired Ideology of Genealogy through Textual Analysis,” The Journal of Popular Culture, Vol.          38, No. 6, pp. 990-1010.
Bishop, Ronald (2008), “In the Grand Scheme of Things: An Exploration of the Meaning of Genealogical Research,” The Journal of Popular Culture, Vol. 41, No. 3, pp. 293-412.

Abstract:  The popularity of genealogy has increased dramatically in the past decade, thanks in large measure to the internet, which has expedited access to a wide and still expanding range of information. and are two of the world’s most frequently visited websites. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints operates, perhaps the most comprehensive genealogical database in the world. The site, which receives more than eight million hits per day, includes a database that now includes one billion names (Kilborn 1, 24). To date, however, little research has been performed on why individuals embark on genealogical research. This paper is a first step in that direction. I use surveys built on open-ended questions and diaries completed by a group of genealogical researchers to develop a narrative that reveals how researchers assign meaning to the information and individuals they discover through their work.

Bouquet, Mary (1996), “Family Trees and their Affinities: The Visual Imperative of the    Genealogical Diagram,” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 2, pp. 43-66.

*Cannell, Fenella (2011), “English ancestors: the moral possibilities of popular genealogy,”
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 17, pp. 462-480.

Abstract: This article considers the meanings of ordinary genealogy for English practitioners in East Anglia, and in the popular BBC television series Who do you think you are? It argues against the view, most forcibly expressed by Segalen, that genealogy is a ‘narcissistic‘ pursuit which compensates for individual or collective deracination in modernity. Contra Schneider, it draws attention to family history as a form of care for the dead, and a moral terrain on which the English living and dead are mutually constituted as relatives. This permits a reconsideration of the analysis of ‘self’ in the anthropology of kinship, and its relation to the categories of religion and secularity.
*Caron, Caroline-Isabelle (2006), Se creer des Ancetres: Un Parcours Genealogique Nord-American XIX-XX seicles, Septentrion, Quebec.
This case study of how a particular family went about chronicling its history is also a fine introduction to the meaning of family history in the general sense.  Focusing on the de Forest family and its various branches over the previous 550 years, she manages to address the broad questions about the how and why of family history, as well as addressing the meaning that doing family history has had for the generations who were descended from two de Forest brothers five centuries ago.

*Elliott, Bruce S. (2004), Irish Migrants in the Canadas: A New Approach. McGill-Queens
University, Montreal and Kingston.
Francis, Doris (2008), “Cemeteries as Cultural Landscapes,” Mortality, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 222-
Gordon, Neta (2001), “Charted Territory: Women Writing Genealogy in Recent Canadian Fiction,” Unpublished PhD thesis, Queen’s University, Kingston (English).
Hackstaff, Karla B. (2009), “Who Are We? Genealogists Negotiating Ethno-Racial Identities,” Qualitative Sociology, Vol. 32, pp. 173–194.
Abstract:  This paper analyzes how ethno-racial standpoints influence the ways that genealogists negotiate and narrate biological and/or social interpretations of family and social history. A constructivist methodological approach grounds the analysis of three family genealogists who all have African and European lineages, but differ in their current ethno-racial identities. These case studies serve as exemplars of how individuals negotiate the racial formation processes of past and present. I suggest that there is reflexive and political potential in bio-based genealogy to transform our current racial common sense.The practice of genealogy reveals tacit social and biological assumptions that can serve as points of leverage for progressive social change, and yet vary by standpoint. In the context of the iconic gene we must be vigilant about the threat of genetic essentialism, yet the threat is mitigated by the simultaneous democratization of our knowledge and control over origin stories.
Hareven, Tamara K. (1978), “The Search for Generational Memory: Tribal Rites in Industrial Society,” Daedalus, Vol. 107, Iss. Fall, pp. 137-149.

Harmon, Amy (2007), “‘Stalking Strangers:’ DNA to Fill in the Family Tree,” The New York Times, April 2.

Jackson, Buzzy (2010), Shaking the Family Tree: Blue Bloods, Black Sheep and Other Obsessions of an Accidental Genealogist, Simon and Schuster, New York.

Jacobson, Cardell (1986), “Social Dislocations and the Search for Genealogical Roots,” Human Relations, Vol. 39, pp. 347-357.

Kramer, Anne Marie (2011), “Kinship, Affinity and Connectedness: Exploring the Role of Genealogy in Personal Lives,” Sociology, Vol. 45, pp. 379-395.
Abstract : Drawing on the 2008 Mass Observation Directive ‘Doing Family Research’, this article explores the role of genealogy in personal lives from the perspective of genealogists and non-genealogists in the UK. Analysing the ends to which genealogy is put, it finds that genealogy is a key kinship practice, mapping connectedness, offering a resource for identity-work, and allowing belonging in time. Engaging with anthropological work on kinship, relatedness and remembrance and with recent sociological work on identity and affinity, this article explores how family history as a creative and imaginative memory and kinship practice is simultaneously used to map affinities and connectedness, enact relatedness, and produce self-identity. It argues that examining the role of genealogy and the genealogical imaginary reveals that conventional as well as non-conventional kinship produces partial and insecure identities. This compels everyday personal engagement with the meaning and legacy of inheritance for collective and individual identification and identity.

*Kramer, Anne-Marie (2011), “Mediatizing memory: History, affect and identity in Who Do you
Think You Are?,” European Journal of Cultural Studies, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 428-445

Lambert, Ronald D. (1996), “The Family Historian and Temporal Orientations towards the Ancestral Past,” Time & Society, Vol. 5, Iss. 2, pp. 115-143.

Abstract:  In a society preoccupied with the future, genealogists or family historians devote a great deal of effort to constructing family ancestry on paper and in the mind, and situating the ancestral family in its historic time and place. This study explores the temporal orientations, and the content of these orientations, which genealogists bring to this activity. Findings are reported from a 1994 mail survey of 1348 members of a Canadian genealogical society. In addition, this paper examines the relationship between historical time and autobiographical time, and the impact of the family historian role on personal identity and family culture.

Lambert, Ronald D. (2002), “Reclaiming the ancestral past: narrative, rhetoric and the ‘convict stain’,” Journal of Sociology (Australia), Vol. 38, Iss. 2, pp. 111–127.
Abstract: This paper reports the arguments used by members of two convict descendant societies in embracing their convict ancestry. The data are taken from interviews that I conducted in 1999. In the main, respondents were involved in genealogy prior to discovering their or their spouses’ convict ancestry.  Respondents effectively countered ancestral stigma by making two kinds of argument. In the first, they recast ancestral convicts as: objects of quasi-professional interest; nation-builders; a minority within a multicultural society; collectibles; and embodying ‘interesting stories’. The second type of argument forwarded more particularized treatments of convict ancestors by: minimizing the gravity of their offences; temporally distancing descendants from them; empathizing with them; and claiming their redemption. I offer some concluding thoughts on the sociology of memory and the place of genealogical memory workers within the family.

Lambert, Ronald D. (2002-3), “Constructing Symbolic Ancestry: Befriending Time, Confronting Death,” Omega, Vol. 46, Iss. 4, pp. 303-321. 
Abstract:  The present study examines: a) the relationship between religious orientations and interest in the ancestral past; and b) the discursive practices of genealogists in dealing with time and death. Genealogy refers to the construction of family pedigrees in terms of births, marriages, and deaths, embellished with stories about the historic family and individual ancestors. Analyses are based on quantitative and qualitative data taken from personal interviews and surveys conducted in Canada (in 1994 and 1998) and Australia (in 1999). Multivariate analyses of national data failed to find effects for religiosity on passive or active interest in genealogy, but found significant negative effects for belief in an afterlife on both measures. Qualitative analyses of genealogists’ accounts of their experiences in the pastime revealed symbolic and largely secular strategies designed to extend the time frame of their lives beyond their personal biographies, and to address the twin challenges posed by aging and death on the part of close family members and themselves.

Lambert, Ronald D. (2006), “Descriptive, narrative and experiential pathways to symbolic ancestors,” Mortality, Vol. 11, Iss. 4, pp. 317-335.
Abstract: Three pathways by which genealogists come to know and symbolically represent their deceased ancestors are proposed. Descriptive, narrative, and experiential pathways contribute both to the construction of ancestors as symbolically real and to genealogists’ cognitive, empathic, and affective ties with their creations. The analysis is based on data taken from Canadian genealogists’ written answers to an open-ended survey question in 1994, and from face-to-face interviews conducted with Australian convict-descendant genealogists in 1999. The paper concludes with observations on the normative contexts of genealogy, on genealogists’ participation in imaginal relations, and on the conditions of immanence, all requiring further research.

Lucas, Scott A. (2008), “The Information Seeking Processes of Genealogists,” Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Emporia State University, Kansas, USA.

Meethan, Kevin (2008), “Remaking Time and Space: The Internet, Digital Archives and Genealogy,” in Dallen J. Timothy and Jeanne Kay Guelke (Eds.), Geography and Genealogy, Ashgate, Aldershot, pp. 99-114.

Nash, Catherine (2002), “Genealogical Identities,” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, Vol. 20, pp. 27-52.
Abstract: Ideas of belonging, cultural identity, and social relations based on ancestral connection, blood, and primordial kinship, have a contradictory presence in cultural theory and public culture. The search for alternatives to fixed, essentialist, and exclusive ways of imagining culture and belonging has been central to recent cultural theory and cultural geography. This has involved much attention to cultural routes, mobility, and hybridity and a critique of cultural roots, fixity, and purity in response to increasing transnational flows, the experience of displaced people, racism, and ethnic fundamentalism. Yet discourses of indigeneity and new migration patterns, as well as cultural globalisation more widely, have also prompted the growth in genealogy amongst `settler' groups in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States who search for European, and often specifically Irish, roots. In this paper I explore the relationships between ideas of nation, ancestry, and diaspora. I focus on what happens when questions of nationality, ethnicity, and identity meet in the practice of ancestral research in Ireland, and begin to track the spatially differentiated cultural politics of genealogy. As the language of genealogy travels with Irish roots tourists and through electronic networks, the implications of genealogical practices and identifications can mutate so that what may be a politically regressive turn to ethnic purity and racial discourse in one context can, in another, productively unsettle older exclusive versions of belonging. For both individual and collective identities, genealogical projects can have unsettling results.
Nash, Catherine (2004), “They're Family!: Cultural Geographies of Relatedness in Popular Genealogy,” in Sara Ahmed (Ed.), Uprootings/Regroundings: Questions of home and migration, Berg, New York, pp. 179-203.

Nash, Catherine (2008), Of Irish descent: Origin Stories, Genealogy and the Politics of Belonging, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, NY.

Spurway, John (1989), “The Growth of Family History in Australia,” The Push: a journal of early Australian Social History, Vol. 27, pp. 53-112.

Taylor, Robert M., Jr. (1982), “Summoning the Wandering Tribes: Genealogy and Family Reunions in American History,” Journal of Social History, Vol. 16, Iss.1, pp. 21-37.

*Taylor, Robert M. and Crandall, Ralph (1986), Generations and Change: Genealogical Perspectives in Social History, Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia.

Timothy, Dallen J. and Guelke, Jeanne Kay (Eds.) (2008), Geography and Genealogy: Locating Personal Pasts, Ashgate, Aldershot.

Yakel, Elizabeth (2004), “Seeking information, seeking connections, seeking meaning: genealogists and family historians,” Information Research, Vol. 10, No. 1, paper 205. Available at:

Abstract:  Genealogy and family history are examples of everyday life information seeking and provide a unique example of intensive and extensive use of libraries and archives over time. In spite of the ongoing nature of this activity, genealogists and family historians have rarely been the subject of study in the information seeking literature and therefore the nature of their information problems have not been explored. This article discusses findings from a qualitative study based on twenty-nine in-depth, semi-structured interviews with genealogists and family historians and observations of their personal information management practices. Results indicated that the search for factual information often led to one for orienting information. Finding ancestors in the past was also a means of finding one's own identity in the present. Family history is also an activity without a clear end goal; after the ancestry chart is filled in the search continues for more information about the lives of one's forebears. Thus, family history should be viewed as an ongoing process of seeking meaning. The ultimate need is not a fact or date, but to create a larger narrative, connect with others in the past and in the present, and to find coherence in one's own life.

Roots Tourism

Basu, Paul (2007), Highland Homecomings. Genealogy and heritage tourism in the Scottish diaspora, Routledge, London and New York.

Basu, Paul (2005), “Pilgrims to the Far Country: North American ‘roots-tourists’ in the Scottish Highlands and Islands,” in Celeste Ray (Ed.), Transatlantic Scots, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, pp. 286-317.

Birtwhistle, Moira (2005), “Genealogy Tourism: The Scottish Market Opportunities,” in Marina Novelli (Ed.), Niche Tourism, Butterworth-Heinemann, London, pp. 59-71.

Meethan, Kevin (2004), “‘To stand in the shoes of my ancestors’: tourism and genealogy,” in Tim Coles and Dallen J. Timothy (Eds.), Tourism, Diasporas and Space, Routledge, New York, pp. 139-150.

DNA Testing

Hirschman, Elizabeth C. and Panther-Yates, Donald (2007a), “Designer Genes: DNA Testing Services and Consumer Identity,” Paper presented at 2nd Consumer Culture Theory Conference, York University, May 25-27.

Hirschman, Elizabeth C. and Panther-Yates, Donald (2007b), “Suddenly Melungeon! Reconstructing Consumer Identity Across the Color Line,” in Russell W. Belk and John F. Sherry (Eds.), Research in Consumer Behavior: Consumer Culture Theory, Vol. 11, Elsevier, Oxford, pp. 241-259.

Hirschman, Elizabeth C. and Panther-Yates, Donald (2006), “Romancing the gene: making myth from ‘hard science’,” in Russell W. Belk (Ed.), Handbook of Qualitative Research Methods in Marketing, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 419-429.

Nash, Catherine (2004), “Genetic kinship,” Cultural Studies, Vol.18, No.1, pp. 1-33.

Abstract: The recent marketing of new genetic tests for popular genealogy is one significant interface between the science of new genetics and public culture in the West. These new commodities offer to situate individuals within global patterns of human genetic diversity, locate genetic origins and sort out true biological relatedness from practised kinship. Taking two cases of recent attempts to popularize genetic tests in popular genealogy, this paper considers how ideas of gender, reproduction, nation, ‘race’ and relatedness are being shaped by and deployed within their discourses of genetic kinship. In these efforts to geneticize genealogy, the idiom of kinship and the gendering of narratives of reproduction and descent are used to make these tests meaningful and to distance them from ideas of ‘race’ and ethnicity. Discourses of family relatedness provide a grammar for translating the complexities of new genetics into public culture. At the same time, geneticized genealogy produces new versions of genetic kinship, in the form of Y-chromosome genetic brotherhood, Mitochondrial DNA clan membership and global genetic kinship. Yet, notions of genetic kinship also provide cultural resources for the making of personal and collective identities in a myriad of ways and with diverse implications for the politics of ‘race’ and national belonging.

*Tutton, Richard (2004), “They want to know where they came from”: population genetics, identity, and family genealogy,” New Genetics and Society, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 105-120.

Family History in the Library or Archive

Amason, Craig R. (1988), “Instruction for Genealogists in the Public Library,” The Reference Librarian, Vol. 9, Iss. 22, pp. 283-295.

Ashton, Rick J. (1977), “Curators, Hobbyists, and Historians: Ninety Years of Genealogy at the Newberry Library,” The Library Quarterly, Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 149-162.

*Baum, Willa K. (1970), “Oral History, the Library, and the Genealogical Researcher,”
The Journal of Library History, Vol. 5, No. 4, 359-371.

*Duff, Wendy M., and Johnson, Catherine A. (2003), “Where Is the List with All the Names?
Information-Seeking Behavior of Genealogists,” American Archivist 66, No. 1, pp. 79–95.

* Little, Hannah (2007), “Archive Fever as Genealogical Fever: Coming Home to Scottish
Archives,” Archivaria 64, pp. 89–112.

Abstract: This article explores the kind of “archivization” that is produced by family historians. Within this process, the function and meaning of archives in Scotland is changing and here is offered an examination of this transformation. Firstly, an overview of how family history has developed over time and its relation to the history of Oral History, the Library, and the Genealogical Researcher in Scottish archives is provided. Secondly, the article investigates several themes within family history and tourism. These include an exploration of the Scottish diaspora and the idea of homecoming; a comparison of how the concept of authenticity is used within the tourist industry and archives; and finally a discussion on the role that archives play in the construction of identity.

Redman, Gail R. (1992), “Archivists and Genealogists: The Trend toward Peaceful Coexistence,” Archival Issues, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 121-132.

Sinko, Peggy Tuck and Peters, Scott N. (1983), “A Survey of Genealogists at the Newberry Library,” Library Trends, Vol. 32 No. 1, pp. 97-109.

*Tucker, Susan (2006), “Doors Opening Wider: Library and Archival Services to Family
History,” Archivaria 62, pp. 127–158.

Abstract:  Within many archives and library special collections, genealogical
researchers make up the largest user group. Most studies show that in North America and Europe, they can account for fifty to ninety percent of all users. The paper addresses the historical background of genealogy within our reading rooms and an expanding world of family history via archival and library websites, examining family history as presented on selected websites of archives and libraries in the United States, Canada, England, and Scotland. A website analysis focused on three main objectives: to establish the current state of our most public face presented to genealogical researchers; to identify current areas of best practice and those which require improvement; and to form a vision of what archives could offer on websites to family historians.

*Tucker, S.N. (2009), The most public of all history: family history and heritage albums in the
transmission of Records, Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Amsterdam, Faculty of Humanities.

Wilson, Ian (2003), “First person, singular…first person, plural: making Canada’s Past accessible,” Canadian Issues, October.

*Woods, Christie A. (2004), Toward the New Genealogy: Genealogical Research in the Archives and the Saskatchewan Genealogical Society, 1969-2004. Unpublished MA Thesis, University of Manitoba.

*Yakel, Elizabeth, and Torres, Deborah A. (2007), “Genealogists as a Community of Records,”
American Archivist 70, No. 1, pp. 93–113.

Abstract:  A "community of records" refers both to how records are (re-) created or reused within a community as well as its contextualization of records (through memory and narrative construction). This paper examines whether this intellectual construct and lens can be applied to other social groups and their relationships to records. Specifically, this article explores the connections between genealogists and records - how genealogists reuse, combine, interpret, and disseminate records to create a coherent narrative of their families' lives that gives added meaning to their own lives.

Yakel, Elizabeth (2004), “Seeking information, seeking connections, seeking meaning: genealogists and family historians”, Information Research Vol. 10 No. 1.
Abstract: Genealogy and family history are examples of everyday life information seeking and provide a unique example of intensive and extensive use of libraries and archives over time. This article discusses findings from a qualitative study based on twenty-nine in-depth, semi-structured interviews with genealogists and family historians and observations of their personal information management practices. Results indicated that the search for factual information often led to one for orienting information. Finding ancestors in the past was also a means of finding one's own identity in the present. Family history is also an activity without a clear end goal; after the ancestry chart is filled in the search continues for more information about the lives of one's forebears. Thus, family history should be viewed as an ongoing process of seeking meaning. The ultimate need is not a fact or date, but to create a larger narrative, to connect with others in the past and in the present, and to find coherence in one's own life.

Place/Sense of Place/Place Attachment

Adams, Paul C., Hoelscher, Steven and Till, Karen E. (Eds.) (2001), Textures of Place: exploring humanist geographies, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

Coles, Tim and Timothy, Dallen J. (Eds.) (2004), Tourism, Diasporas and Space, Routledge, New York.

Cresswell, Tim (2004), Place: A Short Introduction, Blackwell Publishing, Malden, MA.

Feld, Steven and Basso, Keith H. (Eds.) (1996), Senses of Place, School of American Research Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Sears, John F. (1989), Sacred Places: American Tourist Attractions in the Nineteenth Century, University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.

Tuan, Yi-Fu (1977), Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis.

Consumer Research (and a few other) Articles on Identity, Family, Special Possessions

Ahuvia, Aaron (2005), “Beyond the Extended Self: Loved Objects and Consumers’ Identity Narratives,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 32, Iss. June, pp. 171-184.

 Belk, Russell W. (1988), “Possessions and the Extended Self,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 15, Iss. Sept, pp. 139-168.

Belk, Russell W. (1990), “The Role of Possessions in Constructing and Maintaining a Sense of Past,” in Marvin E. Goldberg, Gerald Gorn and Richard W. Pollay (Eds.), Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 17, Association for Consumer Research, Provo, UT, pp. 669-676.

Belk, Russell W. (1991), “Possessions and the Sense of the Past,” in Russell W. Belk (Ed.), Highways and Buyways: Naturalistic Research from the Consumer Odyssey, Association for Consumer Research, Provo, UT, pp. 114-130.

Belk, Russell W. (1992), “Moving Possessions: An Analysis Based on Personal Documents from the 1847-1869 Mormon Migration,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 19, Iss. Dec, pp. 339-361.
Bradford, Tonya Williams (2009), “Intergenerationally Gifted Asset Dispositions,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 36, Iss. June, pp. 93-111.

Curasi, Carolyn Folkman, Price, Linda L. and Arnould, Eric J. (2004), “How Individuals Cherished Possessions Become Families’ Inalienable Wealth,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 31, Iss. Dec, pp. 609-622.

Epp, Amber M. and Price, Linda L. (2010), “The Storied Life of Singularized Objects: Forces of Agency and Network Transformation,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 36, Iss. Feb, pp. 820-837.

Epp, Amber M. and Price, Linda L. (2008), “Family Identity: A Framework of Identity Interplay in Consumption Practices,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 35 Iss. Jun, pp. 50-70.

Gentry, James, Baker, Stacey Menzel and Kraft, Frederick B. (1995), “The Role of Possessions in Creating, Maintaining, and Preserving One’s Identity: Variation over Life Course,” in Frank R. Kardes and Mita Sujan (Eds.), Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 22, Association for Consumer Research, Provo, UT, pp. 413-418.

Joy, Annamma and Dholakia, Ruby (1991), “Remembrances of Things Past: The Meaning of Home and Possessions of Indian Professionals in Canada,” in Floyd Rudmin (Ed.), To Have Possessions: A Handbook on Ownership and Property, Select Press, Corte Madera, CA, pp. 385-402.

Mayer, Karl Ulrich (2009), “New Directions in Life Course Research,” Annual Review of Sociology, Vol. 35, pp. 413-433.

Mehta, Raj and Belk, Russell W. (1991), “Artifacts, Identity and Transition: Favorite Possessions of Indians and Indian Immigrants to the United States,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 17, Iss. Mar, pp. 398-411.

Molinari, Victor and Reichlan, Robert E. (1985), “Life Review Reminiscence in the Elderly: A Review of the Literature,” International Journal of Aging and Human Development, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 81-92.

Price, Linda L., Arnould, Eric J. and Curasi, Carolyn Folkman (2000), “Older Consumers’ Disposition of Special Possessions,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 27, Iss. Sep, pp. 179-201.

Schau, Hope Jensen, Gilly, Mary C. and Wolfinbarger, Mary (2009), “Consumer Identity Renaissance: The Resurgence of Identity-Inspired Consumption in Retirement,” Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 36, Iss. Aug, pp. 255-276.

Watson, Murray (2003), Being English in Scotland, University of Edinburgh Press, Edinburgh.

Young, Melissa Martin (1991), “Disposition of Possessions during Role Transitions,” in Rebecca Holman and Michael Solomon (Eds.) Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 18, Association for Consumer Research, Provo, UT, 33-39.

Young, Melissa Martin and Wallendorf, Melanie (1989), “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust: Conceptualizing Consumer Disposition of Possessions,” in American Marketing Association Winter Educators’ Conference Proceedings, American Marketing Association, Chicago, pp. 33-39.

National Surveys of ‘the Past’

Ashton, Paul and Hamilton, Paula (2003), “At Home with the Past: Background and Initial Findings from the National Survey,” Australian Cultural History, Vol. 22, pp. 5-30.
Ashton, Paul and Hamilton, Paula (2010), “Familial ‘Past-itis’: Genealogy and Family History,” Chapter 2 in their History at the Crossroads: Australians and the Past, Halstead Press, Ultimo, Australia, pp. 26-34.

Summary: This is a succinct report of the results from the authors’ ‘Australians and the Past’ national survey, as related to the interest and importance assigned to family pasts within the Australian community. It also discusses the role family history plays in reunifying aboriginal families and communities separated by political policies of the past. Raises thought-provoking questions regarding whether and where gay and lesbian relationships fit within the ‘family tree’ paradigm.

Conrad, Margaret, Létourneau, Jocelyn and Northrup, David (2009), “Canadians and Their Past: An Exploration in Historical Consciousness,” The Public Historian, Vol. 31, No. 1, pp. 15-34.

Abstract: In March 2006 a group of Canadian researchers formally embarked on a collaborative project to explore how ordinary Canadians engage the past in their everyday lives. The Canadians and Their Pasts project was inspired by previous studies undertaken in Europe, the United States, and Australia that used survey data to probe people’s historical consciousness. This paper will briefly summarize the findings of the earlier studies, offer preliminary results from the Canadian survey, and, where possible, reflect on similarities and differences in the consumption of the past across national boundaries.

Merriman, Nick (1991), Beyond the Glass Case: The Past, the Heritage and the Public (in Britain), Institute of Archaeology, University College London, London, UK.

Rosenzweig, Roy and Thelen, David (1998), The Presence of the Past: popular uses of history in American life, Columbia University Press, New York.

Other Family History Related Surveys

Friday, Kate (2006), Survey Results: Users of UK e-Genealogical Resources. Available at Inc. (October 10, 2002), Second Largest Hobby in America; Millions of Americans Do It Every Day. Accessed 14 Sept 2007 at:

Almeida, Carla and Grace Yan (2010), “Genealogical Tourism: A Phenomenological Examination,” Journal of Travel Research, Vol. 49, No. 1, pp. 56-67.

Summary: Twenty seven amateur genealogists’, users of the Alan County Public Library Genealogical resource center, were interviewed to examine their lived experience from the perspective of their travel for genealogical research.  The reasons and occasions for travel and then on the meanings that emerge from that travel were the focus.

Josiam, Bharath M. and Frazier, Richard (2008), “Who am I? Where did I come from? Where do I go to find out? Genealogy, the Internet and Tourism,” Tourismos: An International Multidisciplinary Journal of Tourism, Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 35-56.
Summary: An internet based survey that captured the traveling profiles of 1374 genealogists, mostly in the American states of Minnesota and Wisconsin.  While it is somewhat practice oriented with findings for tourist providers, it offers a profile of internet users and some observations about the interaction between internet usage and usage for genealogy purposes.  It provides information regarding favorite internet genealogy sites and demographic profiles for the survey respondents.  The survey was advertised on several genealogical discussion groups and remained live for just 30 days on a university based site, but harvested over 1300 responses.