8    Aug 20110 comments

Genealogy Survey: Help collect data

Surveys about genealogy and family history are important as answers provide researchers with helpful data. The data may influence new services and future resource development.

The Canadian Genealogy Survey is a new one that may be of interest to both newcomers and experienced genealogists.

Although we posted an abridged version of  the survey announcement in the latest edition of Links We Like on the MyHeritage blog, we felt an extended post with more information was warranted.

The title is a bit of a misnomer as respondents are not required to be a Canadian citizen or resident and may come from anywhere in the world. The researchers are Carleton University Professor Leighann Neilson (Sprott School of Business) and Emeritus Professor Del Muise (History Department).

Participate in the survey here.

Responses are welcome from those living everywhere.  The results will be announced publicly once data is collected.

What can you expect from the survey? Questions are related to research as well as demographics.

Topics include years interested in family history and years actively researching, main reason for beginning research and current reasons, if changed; information sources used, the most important and why; writing or digital recording of your memories and interviews of family members; what do you plan to do with your research; DNA genetic genealogy; taken or attended a genealogy/family history course or conference; what genealogy societies do you belong to.

Others ask about producing materials for other researchers, hours spent on related activities, number of trips per year for related activities, in country or internationally; how much spent on research.

Additional questions ask about Internet-based research and how you use it, as well as subscription sites, electronic lists and blogs, online databases and other websites.

There's an important hot-topic question:  Have you posted your family tree on the Internet?

Demographic questions include marital status, employment,  years lived in present community or vicinity, country born in, current residence, type of community, adopted, ancestral ethnic groups, education, year born, gender,  number of children and grandchildren, religion if any, active member of religion, total household income for 2010. For these questions, respondents may elect to check "prefer not to say."

One question with which I had a problem was "What term best describes you?" The choices are genealogist, family historian or professional genealogist, and the survey definitions are, to my thinking, slightly problematic. Many researchers can be at some point on the wider spectrum of all of these terms:

'Genealogist' is often used to describe people who are primarily interested in the collection of tombstone data (birth, marriage and death dates) in order to document their ancestral lineage.

'Family historian' is often used to refer to people who, in addition to collecting tombstone data, are interested in and/or collect family stories and research the social context in which their ancestors lived.

'Professional genealogist' is a term used to describe someone who earns at least a portion of their income from conducting research for others and may also have a professional designation (e.g., CG, CG(C)) or be a member of a professional association, e.g., Association of Professional Genealogists.

A comment box for more information would have been helpful.

There are questions on numerous other topics. Answers are generally yes, no, maybe or other (with  comment boxes).

Learn more about the results - and future surveys - at the Genealogy In Canada blog. And here's an article with more information on the project.

Did you complete the survey? How did you feel about the questions asked? Let us know through comments below. 

Help inform the genealogy community about the survey and ask others to participate.

Search for your ancestors:

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