Wednesday, July 30, 2014

All About the Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group, 2014 edition

From PastFinder newsletter, July 2014, pp. 1-2 (subscribe: )
Reprinted by permission of the Silicon Valley Computer Genealogy Group

By Janet Brigham

Every few years, SVCGG steps back and asks itself a few questions. Who are we? What interests us? What would help us as family historians? Each time we do this, we learn that we are evolving and changing.
The 2014 member survey tells us that those who attend the monthly meetings come because they learn new things (87%), improve their genealogy skills (85%), and try new approaches (76%).
The online database search site most commonly used by members is (89%), followed closely by (88%).
Most of the questions in the survey allowed respondents to provide more than one answer (“select all that apply”), with the result that response percentages do not add to 100%. Some questions did allow only one response,  such as age range or zip code.
Research in the United States (80%), Canada (74%), and the British Isles (74%) remains a top priority for members, followed by continental Europe (60%). Among United States and Canadian research areas, New England (70%), Midwest (62%), and Atlantic coast states (46%) garner the most research interest.
American history maintains high interest among members responding to the survey. The top topics endorsed are United States/Canada immigration waves (66%), Colonial (62%), American Revolution (55%), and English (47%) and Irish (43%) history.
The majority (61%) of those taking the survey indicate that they are the only person in their family conducting family history or genealogy research. Those reporting that others also actively do research are 26%.
Computer equipment
The tools that members use to conduct genealogy research include basics (printer, 94%; scanner, 83%) and mobile devices (smartphone, 47%; iPad, 36%; other tablet, 11%). More than half of respondents report having a PC desktop computer (56%) or PC laptop (53%); results for Mac computers are lower (Mac desktop, 21%; Mac laptop, 22%). Some 37% have a dedicated ebook reader (Kindle, Nook, or other brand).

More than 93% of respondents report that they use personal genealogy software, such as RootsMagic (25%), Family Tree Maker (24%), Reunion (24%), Legacy (14%), and Ancestral Quest (13%). As in past years, the most frequently endorsed personal genealogy software is Personal Ancestral File, v. 5.2.18 (PAF, 30%). PAF no longer is supported but still is available for free download (
The class topics that most interest respondents are Internet research skills (73%), online databases (69%), source documentation (54%), advanced features in personal database software (42%), creating and editing digital images (40%), transferring information between databases (35%), and publishing a family history (34%).
The survey asks about current religious preference and religious background, partly to deflect a misconception that SVCGG is populated largely by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the organization that sponsors FamilySearch; also the church that has provided SVCGG with free meeting facilities for monthly meetings and seminars for 25 years).
According to the survey, members with LDS affiliation comprise less than one-fourth of the membership (current, 23%; background, 16%). Protestants (current, 44%; background, 59%) and Catholics (current, 15%; background, 19%) constitute the majority of responding members, with 13% of respondents indicating no current religious preference.
The age range of SVCGG members remains in the 70s, with 48% of respondents indicating that they are between 70 and 79 years old. Those older than age 80 are more than 21% of the membership. Some 25% are in their 60s, and only 0.42% are 49 or younger.
Verbatim (or open-ended) questions were available for most questions, designed as the “Other (specify)” option. Among responses was the comment that some members do not know how to use their personal genealogy software. This type of information is particularly useful to SVCGG, since it helps the group determine what software to include in future classes and newsletter articles.

No comments:

Post a Comment