I am thinking about pursuing a network analysis of the genealogist network on WeRelate.org, and I'm wondering if there is previous literature about genealogist networks in particular, or even just about the attributes and motivations of genealogists. Both Social Network Analysis and genealogy are new fields to me, academically, so I'm still fumbling in the dark.

Here are a few papers that I've found. Are there others that I am missing?

  • Duff, W. M., & Johnson, C. A. (2003). Where Is the List with All the Names? Information-Seeking Behavior of Genealogists. American Archivist, 66(1), 79–95.

  • Fulton, C. (2005). Finding pleasure in information seeking: Leisure and amateur genealogists exploring their Irish ancestry. Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 42(1), NA. doi:10.1002/meet.14504201228

  • Jacobson, C. K. (1986). Social dislocations and the search for genealogical roots. Human Relations, 39(4), 347. doi:10.1177/001872678603900404

  • Yakel, E., & Torres, D. (2007). Genealogists as a “Community of Records.” American Archivist, 70(1), 93–113.


Jon Elsas did some work on a dataset from Ancestry.com while doing his PhD at CMU. While it appears that the dataset is no longer publicly available, he may be a good person to contact. He published at least one technical report on this topic:

Jonathan L. Elsas. "The Ancestry.com Online Forum Test Collection," CMU Tech Report CMU-LTI-017, 2011. [pdf]


You might want to look at this article:

Veale, Kylie. "Discussing Our Family Trees: A Longitudinal Analysis of Online, Community-Based Communication in Genealogical Newsgroups"; Interface - The Journal of Education, Community, and Values 4:4 (September 2004), http://bcis.pacificu.edu/journal/article.php?id=355 .

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