Friday, October 10, 2014

Where have all the genealogists gone?

A couple of days ago I was reading a genealogy newsgroup, and someone asked where all the genealogists had gone and noted that

In the period 2000-2007 there was a very active community of enquiries on Rootsweb Mailing lists, both general ones like this and the County lists were particularly popular.

Now the number of messages a month is in some cases only 2% of what it was at its peak.  If there has been an increase in interest over the last 10 years, why has the interaction between genealogists apparently declined?

This morning I was going through the Genealogy blogs lists on BlogCatalog, and noticed how many of them had closed, or not been updated for several years. One group in particular struck me: the Association of Graveryard Rabbits. The site hasn't been updated since January 2009, and nor have most of the linked blogs. Does that mean all the graveyards have been sorted, or that people have just lost interest and are doing something else? 

The linked sites were quite interesting. and though they had not been updated recently, at least they had not been closed. Closing a blog or a web site is a horrible thing, because it breaks links, sometimes lots of them, and is very frustrating for web users. So thanks to the owners of those abandoned blogs for not closing them.

But where have all the genealogists gone? Was it just the hobby of one generation, and those who took it up have been unable to interest their children in it? Will all the material they have collected be tossed out when they die, or be left to moulder on a hard disk in an attic somewhere, to be tossed out by the great grandchildren, who have no idea how to recover data from such obsolete technology?


Heather said...

63Genealogist are still everywhere but mailing lists seem to be a dying thing. Family historians seem to now go for facebook and forums on commercial websites.
As a proffesional genealogist I have noticed more and more people are finding digitised records on line and therefore they dont need as much help as they needed before.

Unknown said...

Definitely lots of genealogists still out there - I think the medium of communication has changed - I tend to do a lot via Facebook rather than the rootsweb lists - I always found the rootsweb restrictions on no attachments etc irritating............

Steve Hayes said...

I still find mailing lists more useful than sites like Facebook, where you only see what Facebook chooses to show you, and when you see something that interests you you can never find it again.