Genealogy from the perspective of a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon, LDS)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Interest in FamilySearch greater outside of United States

Every so often, I get interested in comparing the relative popularity of search terms, especially those terms dealing with genealogy. In going once again to Google Trends, I found a very interesting trend about FamilySearch. The term "FamilySearch" is more heavily searched for in countries outside of the United States than here in the United States. Here is a screenshot showing the top five countries for searches.

New Zealand takes the top position for searches for FamilySearch followed by the U.K., Denmark, Australia and Ireland. If I look at the cities where FamilySearch is popular, Provo, Utah takes first place.

I guess I am doing my part to search for FamilySearch here in Provo. Interestingly, if you change the searches to, then the interest focus changes and Ireland moves to the number one position and the U.S. appears at number 4 bumping off Denmark.

However, if you look at just the last 12 months, the interest level changes dramatically.

Interest is centered in the United States and happens to be peaking at about the time this post was written.

For comparison, here is the graph for both the terms, "FamilySearch" and "Ancestry." Of course, the word "ancestry" is a generic term, so the comparison is not very accurate.

Comparing the searches for the two websites, has the clear lead.

Over time, since 2004, "Ancestry" shows a consistent growth, while "FamilySearch" is relatively flat. My guess is that constant advertising actually works to increase awareness and probably use of the website.

One major flaw in looking at Google Trends is that it is dependent on searches and for example, I don't ever search for FamilySearch or Ancestry. I know exactly where the websites are located and I my browser will go to either one by typing one letter. So frequent users are "filtered" out by their frequency.

Whenever I go to Google Trends for data, I always get comments about how inaccurate it all is. Yes, that is probably a valuable criticism, but no one else has the amount of data that is accumulated by Google and the search trends are search trends, not actual numbers so even though actual use statistics might show growth for the websites' usage, the trends show overall interest in a unique way. One interesting question to ask is how many people who searched for Ancestry were actually looking for FamilySearch?

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