Genealogy… one of the world's most popular hobbies

Since early in the summer, I've been poring over the genealogy records I have access to from my father and slowly (and I mean it when I say slowly) entering them into wikitree. I've been ever so pleased with this free wiki-based website, especially since it does a good job of preserving the privacy of living family members and of others, but it being a free website (unlike many of the other paid websites that one might use for genealogy research) and it being wiki-based means that I can collaborate with others interested in genealogy whose research connects with the data I am entering. Plus it gives me the option of things like linking to a publicly shareable family tree like mine which still preserves a certain amount of privacy.

It's really fascinating to go through all of this data and find out where it intersects with what others have put on the site and find out random factoids like how many degrees of separation one has with some famous people or something. And wikitree allows for some of these more fascinating pieces of information. Another website with regards to genealogy that I stumbled across (via social media) today was I liked it because I could do things like find out how common a surname is (mine is shared by approximately 658 people worldwide according to their statistics. Forebears reminds me just how many genealogical websites are password protected and just how difficult it is to access specific information even if they can allow you to view stuff in aggregate, like the hypothetical popularity of your surname in a country. What can I say, I like infographics and information visualization in general. I may blame my humanities computing degree on that one in part… 😉

As a librarian, I'm pretty sure that I could pursue my mild interest in genealogy throughout my life (continuing to slowly increase my knowledge of what came before etc.), but I'm starting with the records that my dad has and am moving forward throughout those records. The last time I put concerted effort into my genealogical history was while I was in grade school (and looking at the family tree I drew as a kid is really fascinating). Genealogy is one of the world's most popular hobbies (a fact I learned in library school), and well, libraries spend a lot of time supporting this hobby. Most public libraries will have resources somewhere for helping a person get started on learning more about family history and whatnot. For me I just find it really interesting digging through the data to see what I'll find out. I don't know if I'll be able to add much to what my dad and extended family have already done, but I'm working at figuring it all out. I'm sure that if you're related to me and ask for permissions to have access to certain profile data on wikitree, we'll each be able to help the other get just that little bit further in our searches.

Sure, I may have a rather lot of hobbies that I pursue (and some to a more effective level than others too, but I figured I'd write a little about one of them that I've become just that little bit more enthusiastic about these days). Some months I do little about this one, others I'm really active. It all depends on timing and what else I'm working on. I wonder at how genealogy research will continue to change over time!