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

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Can you document 10 generations?

Randy Seaver's post on Genea-Musings entitled "Can you document all names back 10 generations" highlights a few interesting issues. One of the first is the fact that I write this blog from way outside the "in" group of genealogy bloggers. But one thing I do have is constant contact with hundreds of relatively unsophisticated genealogists every week. Last week, for instance, I taught 9 different classes on various aspects of genealogical research and programs. This while still working full time and having other commitments including writing this blog.

As part of my interaction with day-to-day genealogy, most of my contact is decidedly with newcomers to genealogy rather than those who would even be able to determine if they had documented 10 generations. In fact, nearly all of the people I work with every day wouldn't know a source from a rock. They are interested in finding their family, but have little or no idea how to go about doing so. Of course, I am ignoring the thousands of people that could care less about the whole idea of genealogy. Even in my own family, the genealogists are extremely rare.

How does this all affect the question of documentation of family lines? Very few people, overall, actually are involved in genealogy at any given time, I would guess less than 1% of the U.S. Of population. Not just interested, but actively pursuing research of their ancestors. For example, I would assume that Randy Seaver's blog is about as popular as any, with the exception of Dick Eastman. Randy's blog, according to Quantcast, currently averages about 3,000 readers per month. While Dick Eastman is slightly higher at over 4,000. However, there are more than 307,000,000 people in the U.S. which makes the readership something like 1/1000th of percent of the population. To put this further into perspective, an average "mommy blog" (one I am familiar with) averages 13,000 readers a month!

So, genealogists are rare. Documenting at all is very rare and documenting 10 generations has got to be extraordinarily rare. During the next week or so, I will ask everybody I know in the genealogical community and see if I can find one person who claims to have documented 10 generations. I will be very surprised if I find one person.

No criticism intended at all but the discussion about documenting 10 generations is a bit esoteric and probably theoretical rather than practical. It is more like discussing NBA Basketball players' statistics or Olympic records rather than the reality of my life in genealogy.

1 comment:

  1. James,

    One correction - If you count People on a monthly basis, then Genea-Musings averages about 3,600 permonth and Eastman averages about 40,000 per month. They change the type and frequency of measurement without telling the user.

    Cheers -- Randy