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• The real surprise was Ireland. It had a negative growth rate of -5%. In fact, all four of the Irish genealogy websites in the list (Roots Ireland, Irish Genealogy, FindMyPast Ireland and the Ireland Genealogy Project) experienced slightly negative growth during the first part of 2012. We are not sure why this has occurred. Looking back over our records, it has been a while since there was a major new release of Irish genealogy records. Perhaps the (hopefully) early release of the Irish 1926 census will reignite interest in Irish genealogy.

• We don’t have enough data to determine the growth rate of genealogy in other countries. We do note however that Ancestry.com.au (the only Australian genealogy website on the list) grew by a very strong 49%, while GeneaNet (broadly European based) grew by 18%. Dutch and German genealogy websites on the list all had modest negative growth.

Which Genealogy Sectors are Growing the Fastest?

We also broke down the growth trends by category to determine which genealogy sectors were growing the fastest. Once again, we only looked at categories that had a minimum of at least four major websites in the Top 100 Genealogy Websites List. The results are shown in the table below.

 

Category
Growth Rate
 
genealogy services
29%
genealogy software
26%
historic newspapers
24%
ancestral records
23%
cemetery records
23%
genealogy search engines
23%
genealogy blogs
19%
genealogy forums & family trees
16%
genealogy links
13%
   

Realistically, any sector showing growth within a couple of percentage points of the aggregate growth rate of 21% is probably not statistically significant given the relatively small sample size. However, one category did stand out as showing unusually low growth and that was genealogy link sites. An example of a genealogy link website would be Cyndi’s List, which basically provides links to other websites. This category appears to be in a bit of a decline. This might possibly be due to the fact search engines have for the most part supplemented link websites.

 

Free versus Pay Genealogy Websites

Breaking down the growth statistics between free genealogy websites and pay genealogy websites shows some interesting results:

• In the Top 100 Genealogy Websites List there are 56 free websites and 44 pay websites.

• The opposite was true in terms of traffic. The free websites account for 44% of traffic while the pay websites account for 56% of traffic.

• Interestingly, both free and pay websites grew at the same 21% growth rate in the first three months of 2012.

There is nothing to indicate that pay genealogy websites are overtaking free websites (and visa versa). However, since pay websites dominate the traffic flow (56% of all traffic), from a practical perspective they play a larger role in genealogy.

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