29 November 2007

The Ancestry.ca Survey

Canada Newswire carried a press release on Wednesday Do you know your grandmother's maiden name? One in four Canadians have no idea, according to Ancestry.ca survey.

Amongst the interesting findings in the release:

1. 73 per cent of Canadians are interested in learning more about their family history,with women slightly more interested than men;
2. The provincial breakdown is New Brunswickers (85%), followed by Albertans (82%) and British Columbians. 74% of Ontarians show interest and 67% of Quebecers. People from Saskatchewan (61%) show least interest.
3. 39 per cent of Canadians cannot trace their roots back more than 100 years;
4. 20 per cent don't know where their families came from before moving to Canada.

Some of the other findings of the survey were:

5. Four per cent of Canadians claim to be able to trace their family history back more than 500 years;
6. Almost half of all Canadians (48 per cent) would consider having their DNA tested to discover more about their ancestry.

My only disappointment was that the press release included quotes from Megan Smolenyak, identified as chief family historian for Ancestry.ca. Megan is someone I admire. I heard her speak on DNA and learned a lot. I recommend her book with Ann Turner, Trace Your Roots with DNA, for those wanting to learn about genetic genealogy. I have no argument with what she is quoted as saying.
But she's no Canadian. It's not as if there's any lack of top rate people in genealogy in Canada, and getting a Canadian to comment would have helped further promote family history in Canada. Ancestry should be more sensitive in the future.

1 comment:

BDM said...

Hi John

Do Canadian genealogists and family historian really believe the alleged 39% is "staggering" as described by Canadian NewsWire? Wouldn't that be applicable to the rest of the English-speaking world in general(with the possible exception of Australia, big grin?) More interesting are the alleged figures for "provincial" interest if the small survey is to be believed. I agree it would have more appropriate to quote a Canadian than Megan, whom everyone admires. What was the *point* of this press release anyway? Ancestry hype?