Thursday, April 03, 2008

ProGenealogists Announces the 50 Most Popular Genealogy Websites

Kory L. Meyerink, an adjunct professor of family history at Brigham Young University, felt an objective list of genealogy sites based on web traffic was needed. Why base a top 50 genealogy list on web traffic? Because the most useful genealogy sites will have the most traffic.

The methodology of combining results from different sites that measure web traffic is a pretty clever way to determine results. Since the different web-traffic sites use different methods of measurement, combining results should smooth out any outliers. To get the top 50 genealogy sites, he merged the rankings from:

  • - Alexa measures website traffic from those users who have the Alexa toolbar installed. If Alexa's user base is a fair sample of the Internet user population, then Alexa results for genealogy sites should be pretty accurate.
  •, - Quantcast combines directly measured audience data with panel-based estimates. In other words, it surveys a sample of people and extrapolates just like polls do.
  • - uses multiple sources, including ISPs, the Compete Toolbar and opt-in panels - a combination of what Alexa and Quantcast do.
  • Google PageRank - Google measures the number of overall links to a web page as an indicator of an individual page's value. This value is called Google Page Rank or PR, and is visible on Google's Toolbar when you visit a website. The higher the Google PR generally, the higher the website appears in Google's search engine rankings.

While Alexa, Quantcast and Compete measure website traffic, Google PR measures incoming links to the site. Kory also used link directories (subjective by nature) such as Kip Sperry’s Link List, Genealogy Sleuth List, and Yahoo and Google Directories to compile the list.

Here is the press release. Explore and enjoy.

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – 2 April 2008.
ProGenealogists, Inc. released today the results of a study that identifies, for the first time, the 50 most popular genealogy websites.

The popularity of genealogy on the Internet has long been established, but for the first time, it’s possible to say which of the thousands of genealogy sites are the most popular in this growing field. The list uses a “places rated” approach to average the website traffic rankings from four major web analytics companies.

The top two websites actually tied for first place and are well-known to web genealogists: and its sister site, Third place, however, is the somewhat lesser known whose popularity is attributed to its many users in Europe and Israel. Next is, with, provided by the LDS Church, rounding out the top five.

“The importance of this list for genealogists cannot be underestimated,” said Natalie Cottrill, ProGenealogists’s President and CEO. “If a site is popular, as measured by
actual traffic, it must be providing useful information, and genealogists are always seeking more sites to help with their research. Everyone will find sites on this list they have never heard of, or visited. We are very pleased to make this information available for free to the entire genealogical community”

The rankings are the result of research conducted over the past three months by ProGenealogists’s Vice-President of Marketing, Kory L. Meyerink, who is also an adjunct professor of family history at Brigham Young University. “Only full-fledged genealogy websites could be considered for this ranking, due to the way the web analytics companies conduct their research,” Meyerink commented. “Individual pages on a government website, cannot be ranked independent of that government site’s own traffic. The same is the case for genealogical pages that are part of a larger, non-genealogical website.” Sites of only passing interest to genealogists, such as the meaning surnames or promoting coats-of-arms, were also excluded.

Bryce Barnett, Operations Manager for ProGenealogists, remarked, “The findings of this study are fascinating. Nine of the 50 sites are subscription sites, illustrating that
genealogists understand the value of paying for information. Indeed, half of the sites are primarily data-oriented sites. Another quarter are sites that provide links to genealogical data.”

ProGenealogists has posted the list at, notified the 50 websites, and provided an award icon they can display on their website. A detailed article, exploring the methodology and numbers behind this ground-breaking study is planned for a pending issue of Digital Genealogist, the popular Internet magazine.

ProGenealogists, a privately held Utah corporation, is one of the nation’s premier genealogical research firms, with offices in Salt Lake City, and Sandy, Utah. Founded in 1998, it brings together many of the nation’s best genealogists in an environment fostering high quality, scholarly genealogical research. ProGenealogists’s own website has been nationally recognized for the design, layout and quality of its content by USAToday, “Yahoo Internet Life” Magazine, Family Tree Magazine, and “The Internet Scout Report” sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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