Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Is an Economic Downturn Good for Genealogy?

I was reading the Wall Street Journal this morning. On page 1 of the Marketplace section is an article about the fashion industry going retro. Gucci Chief Executive Patrizio di Marco was quoted as saying, "Every single brand in the universe, especially in this industry, is talking about heritage..."

When the economy turns bad, Americans turn nostalgic. It's human nature I guess. As we suffer through difficult times, we long for, and reminisce, about better days. It seems quite predictable that an economic downtown would to translate to a longing for the past in the marketplace. The Wall Street Journal seems to agree with me when they say, "Fashion's current retro trend is at least partly due to the economic downturn."

If an economic downturn leads to nostalgia then perhaps that means a boon in the marketplace for genealogy. The recent television debuts of Faces of America and Who Do You Think You Are? couldn't have come at a better time. They are hitting the small screen just as America is longing for its past.

Let's look at the positive side of this downturn. The time is ripe for genealogy to soar as America's favorite activity. Perhaps these hard economic times will introduce a whole new generation to discovering their ancestry and their heritage.

What do you think? Do you agree?


  1. I agree! I've noticed a boom in family reunions, and people are attending in larger numbers than ever before. I guess this is due to the economy- it's much cheaper to attend a family reunion than to go to DisneyWorld which now costs $90 a day with out even food or lodging. So even if you have to drive or fly to a reunion, the events are free or inexpensive, the food is homemade and the memories will last longer than that snapshot with Mickey. I had invitations to three reunions this month, and was asked to help organize historical/genealogical information for FIVE others!

  2. I agree but I've seen it from a different angle: due to The Great Recession, more folks are a) taking earlier retirement - the Social Security Administration states that those taking benefits at age 62 is up by 25% and b) have leisure time while looking for a new job. In addition, the web traffic demographics are showing that young families with children, especially those with or expecting their first child, are more interested in genealogy.

  3. I agree, great points made by all. But I think I lean in Thomas's summation. In the FHC it is largely older men that are coming in an looking for help.

  4. I agree, I have had more genealogy business, we have seen an increase in new visitors to our local history library, and an increase in new visitors of all ages to our monthly genealogy meetings. We also had some new faces at our family reunion this August.