Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Just the facts, ma'am...

Genealogy is all about uncovering facts about individuals. We don't often talk about statistics. But today we will.

In 1995 a study revealed that genealogy research is the number two search on the Internet, right after pornography. Which, as Cyndi Howell once pointed out, makes sense because you can't have genealogy without involving sex (although I am not convinced that an interest in pornography actually represents an interest in reproduction...)

Genealogy demographics tells us that the typical genealogist is female and over the age of 50.  And we see this at the Library' Reference Desk, in genealogy classes, genealogy conferences and at the Genealogy Lock-Ins.

There are a number of theories as to why this is: more discretionary spending money; wanting to leave behind a lasting legacy; or my personal theory, that women like to network with other people. 

Twice this week I have been reminded that these statistics just represent the Average genealogist, but do not represent every genealogist. Both interactions involved long-time library users who had quietly being doing genealogy research for some time without asking for help. One was an older gentleman of 60+ and the second was a younger man, 30-40 age range. The youngest library member who identified himself as a genealogist was a 14 year library volunteer. None of these library users fit the typical genealogist demographic. I will try to remember that for the future.

My own journey into genealogy started on my wedding day, as I was introducing my brand new husband to my relatives in the receiving line. I was trying to explain how I was related to my Aunt Gini, who was not a sister to either of my parents or my grandparents. So just how was I related to her? Trying to sort out my relationship to my living relatives grew into searching for my dead relatives, as it often does. 

And how did your genealogy quest begin??

P.S. "Aunt" Gini is my Mom's first cousin on her mother's side.

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