When I can get into a family history groove, I really enjoy doing genealogy. But sometimes, I can’t help but wonder: who likes doing genealogy? Why do they like doing genealogy? And do these genealogist fans find some benefit to doing their family history?
While those who like genealogy used to be primarily older adults, technological advances have made genealogy attractive to younger crowds, too. Today, people who like genealogy come from all backgrounds, areas, and lifestyles. Their reasons for liking genealogy vary widely, though most enjoy discovering their family line and family stories.
Ready to talk more about who likes genealogy? Come find your people – keep reading.
People Who Enjoy Genealogy
Genealogy attracts a wide variety of people – and the reasons they like genealogy are all over the place, too. That’s not to say that there aren’t some overlapping reasons, but everyone’s reason is their own. Generally speaking, though, most people who like genealogy enjoy discovering their history, their family lines, and the amazing family stories of those who came before us.
As with any hobby or pastime, though, there are varying levels of enjoying” or liking genealogy.
- For some who like genealogy, it’s tolerable – but it’s not ___ (insert whatever their absolute favorite thing in the world is right here).
- Then there are those who enjoy genealogy while they’re doing it – otherwise, it’s not really on their mind.
- For some, genealogy is a captivating hobby that they really love doing.
- There are also genealogy aficionados – those who live to do their genealogy.
- Oh, and then there’s the people who live, eat, and breathe genealogy – and it’s pretty much all they want to talk about.
None of these levels is inherently wrong or incorrect. It’s just a spectrum of liking something – and this exists for any other hobby or pastime out there.
For example, think about your own friends and family members – and their hobbies. I have a sister who absolutely loves watching various sports and volunteers at an animal shelter. These aren’t the only two topics she talks about, but when she starts talking about her favorite teams or a new local stray, it’s easy to see her excitement and passion for the topics.
It’s the same way for genealogists. There are varying levels of enjoyment and fulfillment – and that may (or may not) be tied to how much genealogy they’re doing.
Some people do a lot of genealogy research – and find really cool stories and lines – but may only have a seemingly average level of excitement for the topics. Other genealogists seem to do nothing else – and it’s near impossible to contain their bubbling excitement and enthusiasm.
Who Likes Genealogy? Specific Examples
Let’s make things a little bit easier – let’s make a table of actual examples of people who enjoy doing genealogy. Okay, so some will be groups of people, but we’ll list some individuals, too.
Here are some people who really like and enjoy genealogy.
|People Who Enjoy Genealogy||Why They Love Genealogy|
|Hobbyists and Enthusiasts (Including Professionals)||They love finding new stories and connections. It’s a hobby – an enjoyable activity for them. Breanne and Kimberly fall into this category!|
|Historians||Their love of genealogy may vary on the enjoyment spectrum, but they need to understand genealogy in order to better understand the lessons, patterns, and stories of the past.|
|Scientists (like Geneticists, Botanists, and more)||If genetic traits need to be known and tracked, that’s related to genealogy. Knowing haplotypes and genotypes and blood types are all genetically related – and that data impacts all sorts of research. These scientists like aspects of genealogy because it impacts their work so deeply.|
|Animal Breeders and Enthusiasts||Dogs, cats, horses, and other animals are bred for characteristics, traits, looks, functionality, and farm animals. It’s animal genealogy – and it’s important to multiple sports, hobbies, and domestication. The people who manage this are enthusiasts, too.|
|Lawyers (Family and Inheritance Law)||Lawyers’ interest in genealogy may be anywhere on the enjoyment spectrum, but they still have to at least tolerate genealogy enough to understand it and use it in their work.|
|Criminologists and Forensic Genealogists||Criminologists and Forensic Genealogists enjoy doing research that helps them solve crimes – and genealogy and DNA play a huge part in solving those mysteries.|
|Individuals interested in Lineage Societies and Reenactments||Whether you’re researching your family or the family of a person you’re reenacting in a historical event, it’s fun to know more about what happened in the past – and the lineages of those families. Many people enjoy doing either or both of these things.|
|Families Impacted by Adoption||Families impacted by adoption often report a deep need and drive to know more about their birth families – and learning more about where they come from is more than just enjoyable – it’s deeply satisfying.|
|Writers and Storytellers||Knowing about the history of humanity and family genealogy impacts those writers and storytellers who use it in their craft (nonfiction, historical fiction, or adapting it for pure fiction).|
Want to know more about who studies genealogy today? Read our post on it right here.
Genealogy is an amazing hobby, activity, and pastime – as are the people who like doing it. But that makes you wonder… compared to other hobbies, is genealogy popular?
How Many People Like Genealogy? Is it a Popular Hobby?
There are millions of people worldwide who enjoy doing genealogy.
- FamilySearch.org has 13.9 million registered users and gets more than 7 million page views daily.
- Ancestry.com has 3 million paying subscribers and over a billion monthly searches.
- Both have apps with millions of downloads – FamilySearch’s app has over a million and Ancestry.com’s app has over 17 million downloads.
So yes, genealogy is a popular hobby. And as technology and science continue to advance, it makes genealogical research even more accessible, fun, and popular. Click here to read our post on genealogy’s popularity – complete with statistics and comparisons.
As far as exactly how many people like genealogy, though, that’s hard to know for certain. There’s probably a significant overlap between people who have downloaded both FamilySearch and Ancestry’s apps, for example.
So short of doing a worldwide poll with the next census, I think that the best guestimate we’ll get for how many people enjoy doing genealogy is simply: millions. It’s definitely tens of millions – and it could be hundreds of millions of people or more.
The Benefits of Genealogy (Why People Study Genealogy)
People who study genealogy do so for a wide variety of reasons. Some do it to know more about where they came from. Others do it to feel better connected with their families. Some do it to build a family narrative that enhances resilience and a deep emotional reserve.
The New York Times has a great article on it. We recommend reading it if you’ve got a subscription to their service. The link is in the resources section at the end of this article.
But whatever the primary reason, so many also describe the benefit of genealogy as a deep, soul-changing feeling in their guts.
I feel happier when I work on my genealogy. It’s more a feeling than a list of reasons. I love to see my kids learn about their family history, too. They take pride in cooking grandma great’s recipes for Thanksgiving and hearing about battles in wars that they know members of our family have fought it. It gives history context – and a knowledge of history gives family history context.Breanne Ballard
Sure, there’s a lot more to it than just that. There’s enough to it that we’re working on a whole article just about why people study genealogy (coming soon).
But people who like genealogy report loving it for both the intellectual challenge, the spiritual connection with others, and the emotional understanding that comes with it.
I study family history because it helps me understand why things happened the way they did – why family members made certain choices or why history unfolded the way it did. Using genealogy, history isn’t boring – it’s a living, breathing story that I get to be a part of both as a writer and family member.Kimberly Starr
Sure, genealogy is research. But it’s also connecting with family – and that’s a deeply personal, satisfying, and emotional event. And that’s why we love doing genealogy – and why we can’t help but want you to love it, too.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Genealogist? Hiring a genealogist costs an average of $50-120 or more per hour, depending on a genealogist’s credentials, specialties, and the nature of the project. For a full cost analysis of hiring a genealogist (including current pricing estimates), read our article.
What is the Best Free Genealogy Site? The best free genealogy site is definitely FamilySearch.org. Free membership comes with access to millions of records, physical locations (including the largest family history library in the world), a shared family tree, lots of learning resources, and the ability to upload files (documents, stories, photos, audio recordings, etc.), and more. Read our analysis of the best genealogy websites here.
When learning about genealogy, it’s important to learn from various reputable sources. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as genealogists.
- Feiler, B. (2013, March 15). The Family Stories That Bind Us — This Life. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/17/fashion/the-family-stories-that-bind-us-this-life.html