KEEP THOSE CARDS, LETTERS AND STORIES COMING

The New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) puts out a weekly newsletter titled “The Weekly Genealogist”. You do not have to be a member to subscribe and it contains lots of useful information and tips. I would recommend to anyone to subscribe to this newsletter. But, this isn’t meant to be an advertisement for NEHGS or their newsletter. One of the features is a weekly poll of readers on a wide variety of subjects and the results of the poll are published the following week. I found the results of last weeks poll extremely interesting.
The poll or survey concerned what sparked the reader’s interest in genealogy.

“Last week’s survey asked what activities or experiences have particularly inspired your genealogical pursuits. 4,193 people answered the survey. More than one answer could be selected. The results are:

  • 76%, Listening to family stories told by (or about) relatives    
  • 57%, Reading letters, historical accounts, or autobiographies written by (or about) family members    
  • 42%, Reading an account in a newspaper or local history that provided details of an ancestor’s life    
  • 59%, Examining family papers or research notes compiled by an earlier relative    
  • 76%, Looking at family photographs    
  • 56%, Finding/communicating with/meeting a distant cousin or relative    
  • 40%, Discovering a genealogical relationship with a historical figure or with someone who participated in a major historical event    
  • 28%, Attending a family history program, talk, or conference    
  • 35%, Watching a television program like Who Do You Think You Are? or Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.    
  • 21%, Discussing family history with a genealogist, teacher, or librarian    
  • 9%, Taking part in a consultation with a professional genealogist    
  • 60%, Visiting a site (a house, a town, etc.) connected with an ancestor    
  • 35%, Reading an article in a genealogical journal or magazine    
  • 12%, Living through the Bicentennial or another commemorative event    
  • 20%, Feeling a personal lack of family history or having a sense of rootlessness    
  • 5%, Walking past NEHGS or another historical institution, research facility, or library    
  • 15%, The birth of a child, grandchild, or other relative    
  • 35%, The death of a parent, grandparent, or other relative    
  • 21%,  I was inspired by an activity or experience not mentioned above” 

source: The Weekly Genealogist, February 5, 2014 – Vol. 17, No. 06, Whole #673, New England Historic Genealogical Society,99-101 Newbury Street, Boston,MA  02116


More than one answer was acceptable and surely most who responded had many reasons which gave them inspiration but several which particularly inspired them. Look at the reasons that over 50 % marked:
  • 56%, Finding/communicating with/meeting a distant cousin or relative
  • 57%, Reading letters, historical accounts, or autobiographies written by (or about) family members
  • 59%, Examining family papers or research notes compiled by an earlier relative 
  • 60%, Visiting a site (a house, a town, etc.) connected with an ancestor 
  • 76%, Listening to family stories told by (or about) relatives 
  • 76%, Looking at family photographs 

Look at the top two reasons, more than 3/4 of those responding were particularly inspired by listening to stories and photos of the family !!  That tells each and every one of us out there to keep telling stories, showing photographs, showing and telling accounts about ancestors, talking about places ! You never know when you’re going to do those things with the right person and inspire a budding genealogist. At the very least you can have fun and solidify your place as “the family kook”.
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About larrytom2

Older guy interested in genealogy and family issues.
This entry was posted in Ancestry Information, General Comments and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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