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

Monday, July 10, 2017

Choosing among the millions: apps and programs

Current statistics show the growth of the Apple App Store since its inception in 2008.
The website indicates that there are over 2.2 million apps or programs for the iOS operating system. This number is exceeded by the number of apps for Android devices. The Google Play Store has over 2.8 million apps. Here is a chart showing the number of apps in the largest online app stores, including Google Play, Apple App Store, Windows Store, Amazon Appstore, and Blackberry world.
How do you choose when there is essentially an unlimited number of choices? That is an interesting question and one that actually confronts the genealogical researcher while doing research every day. Unfortunately, there is no one out there in the vast online world providing us with the total number of valuable genealogy-related websites. Altogether, there are over a billion websites on the internet.
This web page link is to the website that has an active counter representing the number of online websites in the world. By the way, the first website went online in 1991. I can remember looking at the World Wide Web when there was a total of six websites.

Part of the reason that I have continued writing this blog is that the available topics are infinite as far as my personal ability to write is concerned. True, I do have common themes that have developed over the years, but the number of new websites and the existence of valuable genealogical websites just keeps growing and growing.

As genealogists, we are still people. For example, there are hundreds of restaurants where I live in Provo, Utah. But my wife and I have probably only been to less than ten. We just do not go out to eat very often, particularly when we are close to home. Likewise, even though there are millions of apps and millions of places to look for genealogical data online, I use the same familiar apps and familiar research sites all the time.

Right now, I have 120 apps on my iPhone. Of those 120 apps, I use about 44. The rest are like books on the shelf that I never get around to reading. Every so often, I deleted all the apps that I haven't used for awhile.

What is the point? We live in a world of genealogical abundance that is so enormous to be beyond comprehension. Notwithstanding this wealth of information, we use only a small fraction of the available number of websites and conclude that we have "looked everywhere" for information about our ancestors. Hmm. Everywhere? Of course, a huge percentage of the websites fall into categories that I am never, ever going to look at or even try to look at.  But that leaves what? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Additional websites that likely have valuable information about my ancestors.

Rather than be discouraged about these numbers, we should be happy that we have such unlimited resources. I find new, helpful websites regularly. I find more information about my research nearly every time I look. Life is good. This is the best time possible to be doing genealogy. So far.

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