Family history is said to be a very popular hobby in the U.S.A. and worldwide. However, there is no clear evidence supporting this claim. This session will present a new empirical study of data reflecting Internet users' interest in genealogy.I have written about this subject a few times in the past, so it will be interesting to see conclusion and the methodology used. In the GenealogyinTime Magazine article "Top 100 Genealogy Websites of 2014" right at the end of the article is the following:
You probably can't read this chart without clicking on it. But the point is that the number given for all "Daily visits to all genealogy websites" is 278,980. The number comes from calculations made and explained in an earlier article entitled "How Popular is Genealogy?"
I guess I should make a comment or two about why we care at all about the popularity of genealogy. I guess that we all would like to believe that what we passionately care about is shared by a lot of other people. It is the natural tendency to want to belong. So, if we bolster our commitment and time to genealogy with the assumption that what we are doing is widely accepted and popular, we feel better about what we are doing. Personally, I have a different motivation and don't care if anyone else is doing their genealogy as far as my own motivation is concerned. Well, I actually do care if anyone else is doing their genealogy, but mainly for entirely different reasons.
Basically, I think that estimating the number of active genealogists using figures from Internet usage is basically flawed. My perception in teaching classes day after day, is that only a very small percentage of the overall active genealogical community even know about the online world. But given the number of people in the world any actual numbers of active genealogists has to be a vanishingly small percentage of the world's total population. The GenealogyinTime estimate turns out to be 2.1 million active genealogists. Assuming that number could possibly be correct and further assuming all of those people lived in the United States, that would be about 6 tenths of one percent of the U.S. population or .006 %.
Well, let's see what Hershovitz has to say.