Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ancestry.com Shares Global Family History Survey Results

imageAncestry.com has shared a study they commissioned on family history. The preface to the report states:

The aim of this report is to show how knowledge of the past has impacted the present, and how a greater sense of ‘connectivity’ has changed the concept of the modern family within the six countries in which we conducted the study.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank The Future Foundation, who carried out the research on our behalf and uncovered some truly fascinating trends. This document forms the first part of a multi-chapter report, the full findings of which will be published over the coming year.

Report Highlights:

- In 2014, more than one in three (36%) online adults used the internet to learn more about their family history – double those in 2008 and forecast to double again by 2025.
- 67% feel knowing their family history has made them a wiser person
- 72% say it has helped them to be closer to older relatives
- 52% discovered ancestors they hadn’t known about

I have my doubts about one claim made in the report. Ancestry.com claims to have digitized 15 billion records. According to their catalog, three of those 15 billion come from user submitted family trees. Another bunch was submitted by FindAGrave volunteers. Ancestry.com didn’t digitize those at all; they obtained them from their users. The catalog shows they obtained over a billion records in their “select” series from FamilySearch. With 800,000 in their public records databases and nearly a 100,000 in the social security death index, plus other electronic indexes, there’s no doubt they’ve purchased over a billion database records. I could be wrong, but I think the proper claim is that they’ve published 15 billion records.

It’s a fascinating read and very valuable information for potential competitors. This has the potential of really helping individual genealogists in many countries. Hats off the Ancestry.com for their willingness to help not just themselves, but the global community. To see the report, visit “Ancestry Global Family History Report 2014” on slideshare.

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