Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Monday, October 28, 2013

Is Genealogy Popular?

I don't normally look at Google Trends, they usually apply only to transitory news events. But counting and tabulating the number of searches on any specific term is an interesting way to get an overview of the Web and what is happening with a special interest area such as genealogy. I frequently hear claims about the rising popularity of genealogy as a pastime. Here is a recent Google Trends search on the word "genealogy." As you can see genealogy as a search terms has been seeing a dramatic decline:

I decided to try the alternative term of choice of many in the community, "Family History." The decline is equally dramatic. 

I tried the same thing with "FamilySearch." Once again a dramatic decline.

Branching out a little I tried "Ancestry." This is a broad term and it is unlikely that all those searches had anything at all to do with genealogy. 

That definitely reversed the trend but I decided to see what happened with the word "family" all by itself.

This is a rather constant flat line, so there must be something going on in the genealogical community. Why are we losing the search terms wars? But if I try something such as "RootsTech" you can see that that the trends match the times when there is increased interest.

It looks to me that only with its mega- advertising campaign has been increasing in popularity. Almost every other term I could think of, including the names of some software programs showed similar declines.


  1. Try "geneology"...remember, many folks can't spell!

    1. That was one of the first lessons I learned when I began writing about it.

  2. That is a surprising result. I would have thought it was I increasing. Especially with WDYTYA and the Genealogy Roadshow. Did you also use other search engines like BING? Wonder if it is Google that is less popular and not genealogy?
    I enjoy your posts James.
    Thank you.

  3. I think the problem is self-depredation.
    Family History and Genealogy are no longer
    a sub set of history. It is a global phenomenon
    that must be given credence by the Education
    community. I note:

    Schools - Colleges - Universities:
    Alumni and Genealogy Education
    Worldwide comprehensive resource
    of educational institutions, their
    genealogy & family history data,
    past & present students, alumni,
    associations, faculty, friends
    and military personnel.

    Study this site out carefully in your mind
    and you will see the very first beginnings
    of worldwide acceptability by scholarly
    education groups. EXAMPLE: England
    . . .
    University of Oxford - Oxon: Index
    - Bodleian Libraries | Libraries: Finding Resources - Subjects
    - Guides Directory at Oxford University:
    Getting Started - Internet & Media Studies
    - CEMS - The Centre For Early Modern Studies
    - Resources
    - Oxford Resources
    - Research Areas
    - Themes - Research Techniques
    - Exploring Lives: Biographical & Genealogical Research
    - Genealogy
    - Genealogy | Practical Ethics
    - Growth of the Habsburg Empire
    - Library | Oxford University Department
    for Continuing Education: Local History
    - Oxford University Archives
    - Prosopography Portal: Web Links