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

Monday, January 19, 2015

Looking at the Top 100 Genealogy Websites -- What is really here?

In my last post on this topic, I examined some of the things about the "Top 100 Genealogy Websites of 2015" that I thought were a little peculiar. I really appreciate for doing this list, but if you condense the four large genealogy websites,,, and with all of their subsidiary websites, you get a dramatically different picture of what is really going on in genealogy. Actually, I suppose you could take the position that those four companies constitute what is going on in genealogy, but that would be an overestimation of their role and influence from my standpoint.

According to the article cited above, the Top 100 list is aimed at the "inner circle" or those who are actively researching their ancestors. But here is an interesting thought, if you are actively researching your ancestors in a country that has no genealogical resources on any of the four big websites, or any of the other websites for that matter, why would you care? It seems that a further level would be those who actively use the programs on the Top 100 list.

Starting at the top of the list, the first non-big genealogy program is This is huge family tree program with over 1.9 billion entries and 2 million members based primarily in France. From the Wikipedia article on the website:
GeneaNet began in 1996 when several people interested in genealogy and computing, Jacques Le Marois, Jérome Abela et Julien Cassaigne, realized what a great instrument the Internet could be for their genealogical research. They then had the idea to share, in a single database, not the whole of their family trees but what French genealogists call a liste éclair.
Presently, you can a family tree to either by uploading a GEDCOM file or by entering the information directly. The website also has archival records, family pictures, indexes, old books and newspapers.

With over 2 million members it is easy to see how a program such as can achieve a high ranking. is the only website in the Top 10 of the Top 100 that is not one of the Big Four.

As you go down the list, into the next 10 entries, you have to drop to No. 14, Family Tree DNA before you find a program that is not part of the Big Four. Family Tree DNA is a division of Gene by Gene, a commercial genetic testing company based in Houston,Texas. Family Tree DNA offers analysis of autosomal DNA, Y-DNA, and mitochondrial DNA to individuals for genealogical purposes. See Wikipedia Gene by Gene. According to the Wikipedia article, Gene by Gene has its own testing laboratory called the Genomics Research Center (GRC). "As of November 2012, the GRC processed more than five million discrete DNA tests for over 700,000 individuals and organizations."

No. 15 on the Top 100 list is Again referring to a Wikipedia article called Wikipedia: WikiTree, "as of October 24, 2014, the WikiTree website has over 216,000 registered members and maintains over 8.3 million ancestral profiles."

From this level, below No. 15, the programs listed are extremely varied but always with a sprinkling of websites owned or controlled by one of the Big Four. If you consolidated all of the Big Four websites, Family Tree DNA and WikiTree would be numbers 6 and 7 in the Top 10. Most of the entries on the entire list are either very large companies with substantial resources or websites that have been online for many years and had time to grow. There are a few exceptions in websites that have grown very rapidly. There are a substantial number of family tree programs and quite a few websites based in non-English speaking countries.

What is shown by the list is that genealogy is a growing, vibrant and active online community.

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