Last week I announced my Family History Research Survey.
When I first decided to become a professional genealogical researcher, I put together a detailed business plan in order to understand the business I was getting into. Finding online statistics about the state of the industry (particularly trying to discover a profile of the average genealogy researcher) proved to be a bit of a challenge. All I could find at the time were some very outdated studies (1990s and early 2000s). Over the past decade, the availability of digital records and, I think, participation in researching family history as a direct outgrowth of that, have grown unbelievably quickly. How else could Ancestry.com have become a $1.6 billion company? In short, the industry has changed mightily.
I’m not sure if other professionals have faced the same challenge trying to understand this industry. I decided that conducting my own survey might prove useful. I wanted to know who is into family history research, how old they are, whether they’re male or female, and if they had enlisted or planned to enlist the services of professional genealogists among other things. How much did people know about their own families before they started their research? With the data I’ve collected so far, it seems that women are more likely to research family history than men, which actually confirms the earlier studies I mentioned. But maybe that’s not really that surprising.
I think these are all valuable bits of information. This is a chance for all of us to understand our industry a little better as professionals. It’s also a chance for hobbyists to know a bit more about this wonderful pastime they are part of and how they fit into it. That’s my intent, anyway. If you have already shared this, thanks! If you haven’t, please let others, especially amateurs and newbies to family history research, know about this survey. I’d like to get as many respondents as possible to increase the accuracy of the survey.
As I mentioned when I first posted this survey, I do intend to publish these results so that everyone can benefit from them. So I’m putting out the call again today to ask everyone to recommend this survey to others. If you have already completed the survey, Thank You. If you looked it over and didn’t find it useful I would very much like to know why. I appreciate everyone’s responses so far.
The survey is hosted on SurveyMonkey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/C3YMXCL