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

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Popularity of Genealogical DNA Testing

One very interesting indicator of popularity is the number of Google searches made on a specific topic as shown on the Google Trends website. Although the trends can be the subject of some doubts as to their accuracy in some specific interpretations, they are definite indicators of popularity. It is assumed that and increase in Google searches corresponds to the interest of the public. Having watched the trends over time, I am convinced that they are at least as accurate as public opinion polls. It is a given that any Google Treed graph contains more individual sources than any poll can claim.

So, I started out with a general search on "DNA"

This indicates the level of general background interest in DNA, as a subject. There is a puzzling cyclicity to this. The general trend is downward and would seem to be counter to the rise in interest in the general genealogical community. Below, I add in a search for Ancestry and DNA.

Yes, the red line at the bottom is Ancestry plus DNA. Well, let's take out the general "DNA" term and see what happens.

Here's confirmation of the significant surge in interest in DNA in the genealogical community. Let's see what happens when we add in genealogy as a term.

That wasn't exactly what I expected. I am used to seeing downward trend in searches for genealogy, but I would have expected a little closer correlation. Adding in a search for "FamilySearch" doesn't change things much.

How about a comparison of the large online genealogical DNA testing companies.

It looks like almost all of the companies began to grow back in 2012. What I think is interesting is the geographic interest chart.

This is for Ancestry + DNA and here is a comparison with 23AndMe.

I am guessing that the stronger growth of 23AndMe compared to Ancestry DNA is reflected in the age of the company and the international market, perhaps from its association with

Here is a comparison of with

It is also interesting that the increase in DNA interest does not seem to translate into more searches for the associated companies.

There is a definite correlation between the interest in DNA in the search trends but that interest does not seem to influence the trends in general genealogy searches.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for presenting this information, James. In some respects it is expected as DNA seems to be the "question du jour" among genealogists. The more important statistic might be in learning what the results of such searches have been for family historians. I know a few writers have reported success in finding new cousins but I suspect many are, like me, still waiting for a breakthrough, especially with Y-DNA results. I met some 2nd cousins following mt-DNA testing but probably would have come across them in my normal research eventually. I am still waiting to find information on some paternal lines through my and my cousin's Y-DNA tests. It does not look good, though.